Amazing Grace + “My Two Cents” on Adrian Peterson

“OH, this grace on which I stand, It will hold me to the end, Never failing.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about grace lately. It’s been weighing on my mind and my heart and I can feel the Spirit tugging at me. I’m not exactly sure why, but I just can’t stop thinking about God’s lovely grace and how it spills over into our lives as parents.

Then, the whole Adrian Peterson story hit. It affected me. It saddened me. It really, really bothered me. I have a 4-year-old boy as well, so I couldn’t help but picture my N whenever I thought about Adrian Peterson’s son. I can’t imagine ever hurting him in that way. I can’t fathom it. Yet, it certainly isn’t the worst story of abuse that I’ve ever heard. I wish it were. What struck me most, upon reading more about this situation, was that Peterson seemed to truly believe that he was disciplining (rather than abusing) his son … disciplining him in the same way that he had been “disciplined” as a child. And, there you have it – the cycle of abuse continues. Their parents did it to them, and your parents did it to you, and now you’ll do it to your own children. The cycle is apparent. And, in Peterson’s case, it seemed to also be how he justified it. Really? This is how it’s justified? This is what makes it okay? I’m getting way off topic, but this is something that always strikes me as so ridiculous about our society as a whole — people are always saying things like, “Well, my parents did that to me and I turned out fine.” Or, “Our generation did that as kids and we all turned out fine.” Oh, really? Really? Are you fine? Did “we” turn out fine? As a society, as a whole, I think it’s painfully obvious that “we” aren’t fine. We live in a world that is broken and lost. This can’t be the justification to continue to do wrong by our children – to continue such ugly cycles. This doesn’t justify anything. So, to get back on topic, the question that I keep coming back to is – Where’s the line? Where is line between when we, as parents, discipline out of anger and when we discipline out of love and grace. Because isn’t “discipline” supposed to be about teaching and training our children about right vs. wrong? Now, I know our little ones can make us angry. They test us. They push us to our limits. But, it’s our responsibly not to snap, right? We are the adults. We have to stay in control. If we punish out of anger, then what are they learning? What are we teaching? Just imagine … just really stop, and imagine, what could happen if we (as a whole, as a society) discipline our children with love and grace instead. Our children would still learn about right vs. wrong, but they’d also learn about grace, mercy, compassion and love. Just imagine the possibility….

Grace, as a word, has many definitions. It means ‘mercy and pardon’. It means ‘the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God’. God’s grace is astounding and beautiful. I, for one, know that He shows me grace daily, as I make mistakes as a wife and a mother and a person. He shows me grace when I lose my patience, when I snap at my littles, when I say something I shouldn’t, when I am too quick to judge. His grace picks me up when I fall, dusts me off and sends me back out there to try again. God’s grace is an amazing source of strength in my life. I rely on it. I count on it. I want that for my children. I also want to BE that for them. I want them to feel God’s grace AND their mother’s grace AND their father’s grace. When they fall, when they fail, when they lose their patience, when their frustration gets the better of them, when they make a mistake … I want to give them grace. I don’t ever want to beat them down. I don’t want to ever push them away. I don’t want to ever cause them to shove shame down into the depths of their souls to resurface later in life. Instead, I want to cover them in grace. I want to show them mercy. I want to pick them up, help them dust off their spirits and send them back out into the world knowing what grace feels like. I’m not saying I won’t discipline my children. I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t discipline yours. Even the Bible is very specific about the necessity of discipline. It’s actually really important that we discipline our children. The goal being to teach them to do the right thing for the right reason. Right? What if we try to do that with as much grace as we can? What if we aim to show them compassion and mercy?

I want my babies to feel the strength of God in their souls. I want my babies to feel their parents’ strength and grace too. I will always, as long as I’m able, be a place of refuge for them. I know this world is hard. I know we can’t save our babies from ever feeling pain. But, with one tiny act of grace at a time, we can make a huge difference in their lives. We can feed their souls. We can try and try again to raise them with a gentle spirit. It won’t always be easy. Somedays we will yell. Somedays we will say something mean. But, God’s sweet mercy allows us to keep trying. Let’s be determined. Let’s let His grace and our’s shine on … in them and for them. Our little ones will see. They’ll see us trying. And one day, they’ll try too. They’ll try to raise their own children with compassion and grace. It’ll be a brand new beautiful grace-filled cycle!!

“OH, this grace on which I stand, It will hold me to the end, Never failing.”

2 thoughts on “Amazing Grace + “My Two Cents” on Adrian Peterson

  1. One of the most insightful pieces you have written to date. I can see you “growing in The Lord”. It is a beautiful thing to acquire spiritual wisdom and maturity and how infrequent does “man” achieve any. If I could wish anything for a person it would be those things. I can see them in your writing. You make me proud.

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