Tag Archives: parenting

Jesus and the Naughty List

Jesus Vs Santa

My 4 year old was worried about the naughty list. Her, shall we say, “impulse control” is sometimes missing. After one little altercation in the car on the way to church, her little voice piped from the back row of the minivan.

“Will I not get any presents for Christmas?”

The frustrated father in me wanted to tell her, “That’s right, little miss! You better straighten up and watch yourself!”

But somewhere from deep within another voice broke through my parental frustration.

“Honey, mommy and daddy will get you gifts whether you are good or not.”

Her shock was apparent “ What?”

“Honey, Jesus died for us, despite of that fact that we were very much on the naughty list. It’s called grace. You get what you don’t deserve.

Honey, mommy and daddy give you gifts because we love you, not because you are naughty or nice.”

I’ve often wondered how to teach my children the concept of grace. I think I stumbled onto something that day.

The message of Christmas is that we were all on the naughty list. We were all destined to get far worse than a lump of coal. Yet born in a manager that morning was a gift we did not deserve, the greatest gift of all.

We were all on the naughty list

Now I just have to get them to be nice some other way.

Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader

Today, our guest post is from Tabby Finton. Tabby is a regular contributor to Bridging the Gap blog. She and her husband Steve Lead Abundant Life in Blaine, Mn.

Be True to You  or “Confessions of a Closet Cheerleader”– Tabby Finton


It took me long enough to figure it out, but I’m a cheerleader at heart. That statement in and of itself cracks me up, quite honestly. This admission will shock a few of my friends. When I tried out for the cheerleading squad in junior high school, I wasn’t chosen because “I wasn’t loud enough.” Really? No one would ever guess that now.

But the truth I’ve discovered about myself is that I was made to encourage people. It’s in the very central makeup of who I am. But I stumbled over that while parenting, and it almost messed up the rest of me too. Let me explain.

I am the mom of three strong-willed sons. When my oldest  was younger, I felt like I had to stay “in charge” for some reason, as if he would take over and I would lose my parental authority. His personality was very intense, and he learned how to push my “last nerve” buttons extremely well. And I played the game. I allowed him to manipulate me through my reactions and failure to admit the issue.

For a few years, my husband kept suggesting that I allow him to be “the bad guy” with our son, and for me to take on the cheerleader role. I tried to see his logic, but I unwisely resisted walking out his plan. With every intention of “rah, rah, rah” in my heart, I came up the stairs one day to discover food all over the living room, which had always been against the rules.  Instead of encouragement, out came frustration. Replay this scenario with different circumstances, but similar reaction, over and over and over, and you will understand those few years of my life. My intentions were not being realized. And my son and I both suffered for it.

In our specific situation, I was not living up to my responsibility within the family because of my denial.

One day I had a brainstorm: let’s try this my husband’s way.  Unbelievable joy was initiated in the discovery of the truth and was totally worth being wrong. His theory worked. And that was the beginning of realizing that in and of myself, I am an encourager at my core. The incredible  freedom that has come from not having to be someone I was never created to be has been remarkable.

So what truths about yourself might be lurking in your heart today, waiting to be discovered? What were you created to do? Who were you created to be? May contentment and peace follow in the wake of your own discovery, and may you walk out every dream you were created to fulfill.

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