Sunday, June 17, 2012

An Inheritance of Shame, or a Legacy of Grace?

By Abby Alleman

Jared, JJ, Susie and Abby Alleman ::
Serving with International High School Ministry through Cru in Budapest, Hungary

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
~Ephesians 2: 4-10 {emphasis added}
As a missionary, it is not the work that could call us anywhere in the world that rocks my deepest moorings.

Rather, it is the all-of-life calling as a wife and a mother. My husband and kids are the ones who see me at my worst, yet love me still.

They love me because we are family and even at my son’s and daughter’s tender ages, they know that we belong together. A good God is knitting our lives, our stories, so that they are deeply intertwined.

And this is overwhelming. I know that as long as I am this side of Heaven, I will sin and fail and fall and they will see it and experience the consequences of it.

As we walk in the mess together, I am modeling the great choice I have to accept the inheritance of shame that has plagued every human since the Fall OR invest in the legacy of Grace that is mine in Christ Jesus.

And I am convinced that I can pour nothing greater into the lives of my kids than an intimate knowledge of the Grace of God that flows from His loving heart.

Although my children are still quite young, I have been working with teenagers for almost 20 years. Many of them have been PK’s or MK’s*. I have seen some never stray and I have seen some walk long, long prodigal roads. Both have had to battle that hissing lie of shame. They often choose the hiding or the defeat and giving in that it brings. And as much as it might seem easy to judge their parents, the reality is that many prodigal sons and daughters in ministry have parents who love them deeply and daily.

And this is the truth that humbles me more than any other as a parent, particularly as a parent to MK’s. It is not my performance that could ever save them. And, I truly believe, it is not my sin or failures that will lose them.

It is Grace, perfect, complete, sustaining, enduring, finishing-the-work-begun Grace that keeps and brings Home.

It is the same Grace that I must daily behold and cling to in every step of my own life. It is the Grace that asks for theirs and their Daddy's forgiveness, because I know God, in Christ, has already forgiven me. It is the Grace that looks into their eyes and sees their heart, not the lie that shame bore. It is the Grace that bears the heart of God in me and gives me a strength to love them in everything. Just as I am loved.

It is the Grace that will bring victory over shame every time. It is the Grace that in the final hour, leads the wayward to the Abba Father’s loving arms. It is the Grace that holds tenderly after a major fall and is enough to always and ever fully restore.

In all of the unknowns of our ministry journey, marriage, their lives, there is absolutely no other foundation for our family, our home, our individual yet intertwined stories and no greater legacy than ‘the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus’.


How do you model Grace to your children?


Do you, like me, need to search your heart to see if you are bearing too much shame for your failings, instead of receiving the immeasurable riches of His Grace?


* Note: PK means Pastor's Kid and MK means Missionary's Kid



I am Abigail Alleman and I share my heart and this journey overseas and mostly, what it is to love God with everything and fight for that love at my blog, Fan the Flame. I will be sharing more about this new life in Budapest in the coming weeks and months and beyond and I also share about our family's journey and life and times at my other blog Abby Avenue.  



12 comments:

  1. Wow this was amazing- to receive grace for my failings is something so far away from me this morning. This morning I tried to reminisce on some of my good times as a young mom, but yet inside I feel like I should get the royal rookie mom award of the year. :(

    Thanks SO much for this eliberating post. It was just what my heart needed.

    Patty from www.fanta4two.com

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    1. Praise God! I am so thankful that this touched your heart specifically this morning. I know my heart needed to write and meditate upon this too...so thankful for the journey together and the chance to encourage each other:}

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  2. I'm so glad that you see the grace that God sheds over your shame--covering it as if you'd never sinned. Your children will be blessed by how you embrace God so fully, Abby. And we are blessed in the reminder to lay our failures at God's feet.

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    1. Thanks Beth, but humbly, I have to say that I am far from living this message...I feel like God drew my heart to write this because I so desperately need to live it:} Bless you always!

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  3. Abby - I've been thinking about you and your family and was so happy to follow you over here today. You touch my heart, as you are talking about a huge parenting lesson: it isn't about my performance. I think one way to model Grace is to separate my sense of self from my children's successes or failures. This will enable them to have a more independent sense of self that relies of Christ, not Mom. Not sure if that makes sense, but the point is to get away from guilt and shame. Thanks for these good thoughts.

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    1. Courtney, I think that makes perfect sense. Thanks for coming over here and for sharing a poignant application of Grace as a mom/parent. When we experience the freedom that Grace, in Christ, provides, we free our kids to embrace that same Grace-based identity:}

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  4. Abby, this was so good. You really captured things when you wrote: "And this is the truth that humbles me more than any other as a parent, particularly as a parent to MK’s. It is not my performance that could ever save them. And, I truly believe, it is not my sin or failures that will lose them. It is Grace, perfect, complete, sustaining, enduring, finishing-the-work-begun Grace that keeps and brings Home." Thank you for this. It is so easy to listen to the lies of the enemy when children go through seasons of pulling away from God. Thanks for this reminder that it is all grace - perfect grace. And such a freedom to walk in this Grace.

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  5. Thank you Cherry. I was thinking especially of you when I wrote this, for so many reasons. What a blessing to my heart that it would encourage you...for you certainly encourage me as I watch you parent and love deeply and prayerfully through it all. hugs:}

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  6. Oh, amen, Abby. Leading them this way...such an important ministry. You do it so well, my friend. Praying for your sweet family.

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    1. Thanks Laura...and this is A FAB new profile pic:)

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  7. Abby, your words have given me freedom to rest in the grace of our Father. It has also challenged me to constantly turn my children's faces to the Father, so they too can receive His never-ending grace. Oh, that I may parent more and more like Him!

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  8. Abby, thank you so much for your precious words and insight here in The Garden. You are such a blessings.

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