What precedes grace?
Does God want us to be good first (i.e. follow His Law of 10 Commandments), so that He will reward us with grace after?
Or does God give us grace first, because He knows that by receiving His grace, we will have the strength to follow His commandments?
I have my answers from the parenting truths that He reveals to me:
When I want my child to follow me, like when I want Amor not let go of my hand and run across the street, I have 2 options:
1. Give Amor “my rules” and maybe even add a dash of fear by saying “Do not cross the road, the cars might hit you!” But good luck with that! This I-will-do-everything-you-tell-me-NOT-to-do Daughter that I love, just tests my authority all the time 😉. I though maybe if I up the fear, she might follow…but the look on her face when I do that let’s me know I have unnecessarily used fear to move her.
2. Or I can give the Amor GRACE FIRST of celebrating whenever she is good at following instructions. I actively look for times when she listens to me and celebrate it. Like when she holds my hand, I cheer, “Thank you for holding my hand good girl!” When she stops at the traffics light, I cheer, “Wow! You are so good at following instructions! You even stop behind the yellow line on the ground!” As a result, of constantly verbalising and rewarding her good deeds, Amor proudly follows my continuous instructions. In the end our trip to the playground is safe and fun! That is so different from outings we used to have when I used to ask her to follow my rules first.
Disclaimer: I give “my rules” as a guidance to help my children understand safety precautions, but I give “my grace” FIRST to give them strength to know that they can follow “my rules”, despite their urge to break the rules (isn’t it a human urge to do what we are asked not to do 😉).
Giving GRACE FIRST to my kids have enabled Amor to overcome her sensory issues and irritability. Her diagnosis is Global Developmental Delay (GDD). When she was younger, but way past terrible 2s…3s, 4s, 5s, even 6s, she was always throwing tantrums on the ground or running away from us. We even lost her at the airport 😥. My heart would always leap if I didn’t see her. I needed to hold her hand when we were out. Because I now understand the gift of GRACE FIRST, Amor is overcoming her delays (even if experts consider it a life-log condition). She is picking-up responsibilities that I never though possible. I can now ask her to follow my rules and know in confidence that she will gladly do so.
Just as God has given me answers through my experiences as a parent, God gives us answers through scriptures.
When Pharisees presented a woman to Jesus who was caught in adultery, what helped her move on in life to be a better person? The rules of the gift of grace first?
Jesus chose not to condemn. Since the people insisted for justice against the woman sinner, Jesus did not condemn but let the sinless man be the first to throw a stone. None could do it because none were able to fully follow the 10 commandments. When no body threw a stone, Jesus blessed the woman with the no condemnation, the gift of GRACE FIRST. I’m sure that that gift, more than anything else, enabled that woman to “go forth and sin no more” as Jesus asked.
GRACE precedes GRACE! Receive the GRACE that He has freely given us FIRST, so we go forth and bless others with our obedience to God.
In the photo: Me and my princess. Because of her prematurity and other medical conditions, Amor could have easily been an irritable/angry child. But by the grace of God, the grace that He has taught me to use, the sweet child that Amor was meant to be shines! #MyMiracle