Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Day by day, the challenges of parenting began to drive a wedge in our marriage.
Disclaimer #1: God will never lead us in a way contrary to His word. In marriage, one spouse may feel led in a certain direction, but remember to ask God for His plans and to show you His way so that you can be on one accord.
Disclaimer #2: Books, like most everything else, are not meant to be taken literally. You take what you can, and leave what isn’t for you. Use discernment when using any type of "help books". As much help as a parenting book may be, we have to be mindful that all children are unique. We as parents are unique, and the situations and circumstances we all experience will also be unique.
Shepherding the heart was for me too!
In my prideful heart, I began to see the error in my own ways. I put the book down and realized that the Lord showed me this book for many different reasons. One reason was to begin the process of opening my eyes to parenting styles outside of behavior modification. Another reason was for me to see that behavior modification doesn't necessarily change the heart; it actually misses the heart of most issues.
Our son, just like his parents, was dealing with issues of the heart. As important as academics are, the Lord was showing me that the condition of our hearts and character are perhaps even more important.
I apologized to my husband, and we worked together to establish a happy medium in our home. We agreed to be open to what each of us feels led to, to discuss, and to come to an agreement before addressing the children. We also agreed to not parent strictly by any book except the Bible.
What happened next?
I am in no way saying that Shepherding a Child’s Heart is a bad book or that it caused the problems for us. I actually believe it’s a great book that sparked a need for change. What I am saying is that I, as the reader, got caught up in the literal interpretations instead of using it as a tool.
It was at the point of surrender that I came across the book She is Yours: Trusting God As Your Raise the Girl He Gave You by Jonathan and Wynter Pitts. This book shifted my entire perspective and showed me myself in parenting. No longer was parenting about getting my children to behave and do what I believe is best for them. Parenting became more about sharing the love of Christ, guiding my children to the love of Christ, and allowing them to see His love, grace, and mercy through me as their mother.
From all my studying, research, and praying, I have developed a parenting equation that I would like to share with you:
Love + shepherding the heart + behavior modification + God margin = Parenting Success.
So much goes into caring for and parenting God’s children. We may never have all the right answers, but parenting with a godly perspective should be the goal. Whatever your parenting style may be, don’t leave God out. He may lead you in a totally different direction with parenting than I’ve been led. He may lead you to focus on one part of the equation more than another. But be mindful of allowing yourself to be guided by His Holy Spirit. After all, they are His children too!
Did you miss Shepherding the Heart Part I? Click here to read from the beginning.