From Threat to Threat to Grace to Grace

Have you ever felt like this? That you are living your life from threat to threat?

If you don’t pick up your room…

If you don’t start using a dustbin…

If you don’t listen to me this time…

And off the end of all those ifs are these big wide spaces of punishment. I guess we will all end them differently, but along a theme…

…you’re grounded.

…you won’t be allowed any more snacks in here.

…you’ll not get your pocket money.

Life can sometimes feel like it lurches from threat to threat. From one “do as I say” to another “do I as I say”.

And somewhere along the way, the reason for obedience is lost just to get to the point of obedience happening at all. And there’s friction and tension, fraught nerves and unhappy faces. And grace is all but a whisper at the door, wanting in and being left out.

I am this mama. I never thought I would be this mama. I was foolish enough to think that my words, my warning glances, my instructions would be enough to yield obedience. Oh, how silly I was to think that little people, with wills and emotions like iron and grit, would just do as they are told every second of the day just because I said so.

And my indignation has spawned arguments, resentment and fury. I have locked horns with my little people more times than I ever imagined because obedience for obedience’s sake became the very epicentre of every situation.

But what for?

For Mama Kudos Points when everyone else sees how compliant my children are?

For the This Mama Rocks It Award when my children do everything the first time I ask?

Or maybe for the Super Mama Trophy when my children are Super-Cherubs at every event, activity, club or class they ever take part in?

Oh, how my heart has ached when it has realised the motivation behind so many of the tears and frustrations that have come from wanting compliance and obedience.

No My-Will-Is-Stronger-Than-Your-Will battle ever leads to the glory of God.

No Do-As-I-Say-Because-I-Said-So conflict has ever exalted the name of the Lord in our home.

No I-Am-The-Mama-You-Must-Obey crusade is borne from a heart of grace.

If I only make my children into unquestioning rule-keepers, what have they become? While I shine and polish my self-made badge of Great Mama Honour, what happens to little souls who need grace and mercy?

eph 2 8

Obedience is about to take a different turn in our home.

Do we require obedience? We certainly do, but how we do we administer it in healthy doses that are tempered with grace and love, with kindness and compassion? How do we soak it in mercy and find endless ways to point our children to their need for a saviour?

We talk – children today are used to having rights, having explanations and reasons. They are taught to question everything and challenge ideas. Modern life encourages these characteristics and just demanding obedience for obedience’s sake flies in the face of everything they are taught everywhere.

So, rather than rally against these ideals, we embrace them. We talk to our children, we explain things. We underpin our dialogue with gospel-truth and engage them with the words of scripture.

We teach them what obedience means to the Lord. We teach them what the Bible tells us about obeying.

We listen – if your children are anything like mine, they have opinions and influences. Some of these I am grateful for, some of them – well, not so much. But because they have them, I want to know what they are concerned about, bothered by.

I want to know what the dissenting voices are that speak into the hearts and minds of my children.

I am at war over my children with a world that will teach them everything Jesus isn’t, and then some.

We pray – I can’t solve every problem my children have. I can’t scoop out every anxiety and sadness in the way I would like.

But I can teach them to talk to the One who can do all these things. I can teach them to pray as a family, pray by themselves, understand why prayer is valuable, nay essential, for them in life’s storms and turbulences.

We praise – we have so much to thank God for each and every day. We can sing, and laugh and count our blessings.

So, I’m trying to find more grace and mercy this very week. I want fewer conflicts and greater love, I want bigger joy and less tension.

To you mamas in conflict with your littles, you mamas with small people with cast-iron muscled wills, all of you shedding tears, battle rich, I’m cheering you on this week.

Grace and Love

Helen x

Linked with Cornerstone Confessions, Purposeful Faith, What Joy Is Mine, Time-Warp Wife, Susan B Mead, Counting My Blessings, Missional Women


  1. Very good and timely word for me. Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. You are so right! The battles are endless. It seems this week so far being cranky seems to give them the right to be rude. I got so upset this morning and was about to let it “flare” me up but instead I took a step back and chose grace. Wow, that was hard to do but I survived and the morning gloom disappeared. Thanks for this reminder.


  3. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am visiting from Coffee and Conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susan B Mead says:

    Helen, thank you. Breaking that cycle and creating we talk, listen, pray and praise is beautiful honor for our Father.

    Would you like to #DanceWithJesus each Friday at the linkup> SusanBMead/com/blog-2 You would honor us to share your words there, if so. Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post…I so agree with you…talking and listening are just what Jesus would do ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Susan B Mead says:

    It is great to see your post linked up at #DanceWithJesus today Helen. Welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

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