Pantry Moths, Paul Tripp & Parenting

Have you heard of pantry moths? Have you ever had an infestation of them?

I hope not. I spent most of Saturday scouring my pantry and everything in and around it. It reminds me of when my daughter was in middle school and lice seemed to accompany her home from every spend the night. Trying to rid them from her super thick, dark, long hair was a nightmare!

That’s what tackling pantry moths is like!

When I first noticed them flying out of my pantry I had no idea where they were coming from, or how they got there. After a google search and a conversation with someone with a food packaging business I now know pantry moths first enter your house through dry or canned goods such as rice, pasta, cereal, dried fruit, nuts or sugary products.

Unfortunately, once they enter they quickly multiply before any detection. They start as tiny, nearly invisible larvae who spin web-like cocoons before transforming into the moths. But even the cocoons are not easily spotted. That is until you know what you’re looking for, which is why my first try at eradicating them was unsuccesful. I had no idea how widespread and undercover they are.

So why am I telling you this? Well, the last thing I wanted to do on Saturday was spend my day scrubbing down my pantry with bleach. But to get rid of the moths I had no choice but to put in the long, hard work.  There was no quick fix or shortcut. Just like in parenting!

I was reminded of this truth earlier in the week while listening to Heather MacFadyen’s God Centered Mom podcast interview with author/speaker Paul Tripp. Tripp has been a favorite of ours since our kids were toddlers. His parenting books instrumental in shaping a grace-based, long-term parenting framework.

Even so, taking the time to do the hard work of disciplining and shepherding our kids is not always what I want to do.  I mean isn’t it so much easier to pretend like we didn’t see their bad behavior or act like we don’t  know what they are up to? What we don’t “see” we don’t have to deal with, right?!

The other option we tend to gravitate toward is to spew out law in hopes of the quick external beavioral fix.  But what happens when it’s not as easy and quick as we hoped? We get mad don’t we? Maybe more about the inconvience or embarrasment to us, than we are grieved by their sin!

Yes, it’s hard to diligently/faithfully point them to Jesus, but for different reasons than we normally think. It’s hard because like I discovered the pantry moths to be far worse than I thought, harder to deal with and much more time consuming than I wanted so is parenting.  And if I am honest, I don’t want to do the hard work of walking them through their sin so they see their need for Jesus because it encroaches on my time!

I don’t want to die to myself to deal with their hearts over and over again. What I really want is for them to just obey and to be easy. I want stress-free, sin-free lives for them, but even moreso for ME. Because what happens when they hit trouble? It effects me! It messes with my agenda and potentially brings chaos to my life. And what I want is peace to go about my business as planned.

You too?

I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I know I’m not. For Paul Tripp to refer to our kids’ issues as “interruptions” in the quote below tells me he too knows from experience how I feel about my kids at times…

If your eyes ever see or your ears ever hear the sin, weakness and failure of your children, it’s never an interruption, it’s never a hassle, it’s always grace. God loves that child…and he will expose the need of that child to you so you can be a tool of his rescue and transformation. That’s parenting.

I could stand to read this every morning; To wake up being reminded All is grace!

But if all is grace when my own idols (my comfort, my peace, my schedule) surface in my parenting (or lack of desire to do what parenting takes), that is grace too. God in his goodness exposes my yuck so I see how much I need him too. And the double grace is when I see my need I will be more likely to enter in with compassion and identify with my kids in their sin and struggles.

Parenting is hard; a never-ending task we won’t always do well. But by God’s grace when I see where I’ve failed I want to do a better job of confessing it to my kids so they see Mom needs Jesus too. Paul Tripp calls us “tool(s) of (God’s) rescue and transformation (in our kids lives); instrument in the Redeemer’s hands.” Interesting that at the same time, our kids serve as instruments in our lives leading us to greater dependence of our Savior, too!

My favorite Tripp books:

*Age of Opportunity for parenting teens
*Parenting:14 Gospel Principals that Can Radically Change Your Family
*Instrument in the Redeemer's Hand
*New Morning Mercies devotional book

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My pantry moth excavation…

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