I’m not a book pusher — most of the time — but this one…
When my sister texted me and said she has a must-read for me, I listened. Her kids are younger than mine by several years, but she has often given some of the best objective advice for some of my toughest mom moments. (I’m tucking it all away to give back to her when her kids are in full unpredictable-teen swing.)
She recommended Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. I was skeptical because I’ve read a lot of parenting books. Many have altered my view of motherhood, but radically? I was doubtful. But she’s my sister, and sisters are generally trustworthy, so I purchased a hardback book. (Y’all, I don’t do hardback. I’m more of a discount/used/paperback kind of girl. Again, the #sisterfactor made me do it.)
I was engaged from page 1, and tearfully underlining and turning pages with the same intensity I have when eating a Little Debbie snack cake. It was that serious.
I’d like to interrupt this commentary for a sidebar to the author while it’s on my mind.
Dear Mr. Paul Tripp,
Your recent book left me a bit undone. I really thought I was nailing this motherhood thing. Four sons and almost 21 years of parenting — through a lot of hard things reserved for a different post — and prior to your book, I thought I was doing the best I could for my kids. <Enter flash of enlightenment.> Your words challenged me to examine my purpose as a mom. Every chapter held a mirror to my heart and I didn’t always like what I saw. Funny how a person can get slightly off track and over time the margin of error is so much bigger. Thanks for wrecking perfect mascara and making my nose run uncontrollably. Your gentle truthfulness kept me turning the pages instead of dropping your book into the “donate” pile in my garage. My original goal didn’t change, but I saw how humanly flawed my plan to achieve the goal has been at times. You probably saved me a few hours of family counseling down the road. You wrote that book for me.
Hats off to you, Mr. Tripp. That was a worthwhile read.
I want you to read this book. Read it only if you have any influence over anyone, anywhere, and only if you really want to see authentic life change in the hearts of people around you. Otherwise, waste your time watching reality TV or something.
There are too many takeaways to list, and I don’t want to spoil a perfectly good book by telling you everything in it. I was reminded of principles I already knew — I’m parenting sinners, just like every other mom and dad. I can’t control them with my rules, even though boundaries and consequences are absolute necessities. Perhaps most importantly, while I read Mr. Tripp’s book in search of strengthening my parenting, I found my own heart needed some re-alignment. I didn’t feel the Holy Spirit dropping condemnation on me as my shortcomings were revealed. There was a gentle nudge to move closer to Him, set my eyes again on Him, and let my will be conformed to His. “There now,” I could feel the Spirit say, “this is how I need you to parent your little world-changers.”
I don’t know if my family will be radically changed as the title claims, but I know the Word of God changes everything and this message did not fall on deaf ears. As I am building future adults, the Father is building me.
Read.this.book. You’re welcome.