• Dana L. Butler

Day 10: One Big Way My Parenting Is Changing

Hey, my friends. In case you’re new-ish around here, I want you to know that it is out of the ordinary for me to write on parenting. I tend to feel like so many people are already saying great things about motherhood and parenting, and those subjects are not where I feel primarily called to focus in this space.

However — the way the Lord has shifted my heart and viewpoints around parenting in recent months has been fairly radical. It’s been a profound bit of heart surgery for me.

So I want to share it with you at some level here today.

Because as I mold my kids’ hearts, I perpetually find that my own heart is the one most deeply in need of His molding. And that there is such sweet intimacy with Him to be experienced in the nitty-gritty of that process.

So… without further ado, my offering to you today:


I tuck my kiddos in for naps this afternoon and, per usual, I sing a few songs to Isaac before he goes to sleep.

Jesus Loves Me… Oh How He Loves You and Me… Into My Heart…

They’re songs my mom sang to me while she scratched my back at bedtime when I was 4, 5, 6, 7 years old. I marvel nowadays at the richness, the depth of those songs and how they were deposited in me, woven deep into the core of my heart’s DNA, before I even had a grid for their meaning.

I pray the Holy Spirit is already making similar deposits in Isaac’s heart, and even in Maia’s, as young as she is.

Actually, I have every bit of faith that He is.

I stroke Isaac’s face as I sing to him today, and he grows visibly sleepy. And while I sing words so familiar I could sing them in my sleep, I contemplate our relationship lately — his and mine — how it’s transforming, as some of my parenting paradigms are shifting in big ways.

Stan and I recently were re-introduced to Danny Silk — not in person, but introduced to his writing and teaching — and if you’re a Facebook friend of mine you’ve no doubt noticed I’m way into posting his quotes on my wall. So many of his thoughts resonate deeply for me.

He mainly teaches around honor in relationships — including, but not limited to, parent-child relationships. And it’s his parenting teaching that has rocked both Stan’s and my worlds as of late.

I hesitate to share specific details of how my parenting has shifted in the last few months, because I by no means intend for this post to turn into fuel for a parenting debate of any kind.

I will say this though: I am learning to train up my children — yes, even Maia at 15 months — into intentionally stewarding their relationships with Mommy and Daddy, and ultimately with God.

Learning to cultivate in them a heart of honor and a strong value for their heart connection with us, and ultimately with God, as their primary motivator toward obedience, as opposed to cultivating obedience that comes primarily out of a fear of consequences.

And y’all? Things are changing around our place.

I may not say much about it around here, but in general, my children are challenging. Strong-willed, spunky, feisty. Yup, including (and especially!) my sweet Maia.

But I gotta tell ya, I like my kids these days, you guys. I mean, I really, genuinely enjoy them both, and it is an incredible relief to be able to say that.

Don’t get me wrong — we by no means have this parenting-paradigm adjustment completely figured out. We are still often on shifting sand when it comes to figuring out exactly how to work through various power struggles with Isaac (age 4) in particular.

But we are learning to honor him, to guide him instead of trying to control him, allowing him to experience the practical consequences (be they fun or difficult) of his choices. And the honor that is building in his heart toward us is coming out in practical ways.

Many days lately, he takes my breath away with his general awesomeness. His confidence. His humility. His care for our hearts. His increasing responsiveness to our instructions. (Not to mention his articulateness and sense of humor. He is hilarious!)

Leaning into Jesus for wisdom and grace to make big changes in our parenting has been incredibly humbling, and some days downright painful.

I’ve always had this inner knowing, though, that the way I’ve tried to parent my children hasn’t completely lined up with the way God interacts with me as my Father — that it hasn’t been totally congruent with my experience of His heart toward me.

And gradually, slowly, my parenting of my children is shifting, is becoming a more peaceful, grounded demonstration of His heart inside me.

And I am this imperfect, in-process mama who’s leaning into the heart of Jesus as she parents, trusting Him to fill in her weak places, to make His heart known to her children through her.

Whew. No small responsibility, that.

But Jesus is so faithful. He who has begun a good work will complete it as we depend more and more deeply on Him. And I’m finding a new level of rest in His commitment to us these days — to mine and Stan’s hearts, to our kiddos’ hearts, to the more intentional culture of honor He is cultivating in our home.

For now, I’m enjoying the changing atmosphere around here. Breathing it in deep. And thanking Him for beginning to woo my kids’ hearts to Himself, even while they’re little.

(Little, and oh-so-feisty. And I like ’em that way, y’all. I really do.)


This is Day 10 of a 31-Day series. You can find the rest of the series here.

Also, if you’d like to follow along so you don’t miss any of my 31 Days posts, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

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