EP. 39: Jeannie Cunnion
Jeannie Cunnion | Mom Set Free
Jeannie Cunnion is a Jesus lover and a grace clinger. She is the author of Parenting the Wholehearted Child and Mom Set Free and Mom Set Free Bible Study. She is also a frequent speaker at women’s conferences and parenting events around the country.
Jeannie’s passion is encouraging women to live in the freedom for which Christ has set us free – a message her own heart needs to be reminded of daily.
Jeannie has a Master’s degree in Social Work, she serves on the board of Raising Boys Ministries, and she writes for The Better Mom and Fox News. Jeannie’s writing has been featured on outlets such as The Today Show, Fox and Friends, The 700 Club, and Focus on the Family. Previous to writing, Jeannie traveled the country (48 states to be exact) speaking about adoption and parenting. These days, however, you’re most likely to find Jeannie alongside her husband, Mike and their 5 boys.
As for what makes her happy – well, that would be the love of Jesus, good music, a great book, worship, sand between her toes, Auburn football, putting her heart on paper, water in every form, singing like nobody’s listening, and the greatest gift God has given her, Mike and their five beautiful boys.
Jeannie and I chat about parenting from a place of grace and conviction vs. perfection and condemnation.
4:00 Jeannie talks about the season of mothering that led her into writing Parenting the Wholehearted Child and Mom Set Free
“I started on this journey in Scripture, what is His grace and what does it speak into the hard places of motherhood? And then, I just felt like He [God] was inviting me to share that, which I didn’t understand, because I wasn’t a writer…but as we all know where the Lord calls, He equips.” “He wants to set us free from that pressure to get it all right…”
8:09 Jeannie shares what it was like when she parenting with a mindset of “I have to be a perfect example” or my kids will be messed up.
“There was so little joy in the day to day, because I was so focused on me getting it right.”
“One of the most beautiful things about grace is God works through our weakness. His goal is ultimately for our children’s eyes to be on Him, not on us.”
“…Really just learning how to understand my weakness in light of God’s grace and know that it’s not something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about, but it’s always an invitation to return to the cross and say Jesus, ‘Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to they cross I cling. Thank you that you never give up on me.’ Because grace doesn’t just free us. It transforms us.”
“It’s not a bad thing to want to get it right for them [our children]. But when we want to be on the throne, when we want to be worshipped by them, when we want to be looked at by them as flawless and invincibly, that’s where we have to step back and be like, Who do I want on that throne? Do I want you looking to me as your perfect example or ultimately….looking at Jesus?”
15:32 Jeannie shares some of the changes she experienced in her parenting when she began parenting from a gospel and grace filled perspective.
“If there is not internal heart change, all we are doing is raising rebels who will ultimately break free from the laws we put in place that they are confined to. They’re performing to expectation, but there is no internal heart change going on. God said, He who began a good work in you will complete it on the day that Jesus Christ returns and so sanctification is a life long process.”
“Beauty and brokenness dance.”
17:34 Jeannie writes “Becoming the moms we long to be doesn’t happen by trying harder to be better tomorrow. It happens by more deeply believing the Gospel and allowing the grace of God to transform our own hearts first.”
Jeannie answers the question, Why does the gospel change everything?
“It’s a surrendering. Lord Jesus, I need you today to manifest your patience in me. I need You to manifest Your tenderness in me, Your gentleness in me…”
20:39 Jeannie speaks to the mom who is constantly beating herself up and believing if she tries harder everything will be great.
“There is a very big difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation comes from the enemy. It’s that voice that says, ‘Shame on you. You’ll never get better. Who does something like that? How could you? How many more times will you?’ It’s interesting, because those are the kinds of things we say to our kids when we’re living out of condemnation, because what we live in is what we live out….The voice of conviction, that comes from the Holy Spirit. That is an invitation. Repent. Receive my mercy. Run back to me. Let me keep working in you.”
22:55 You write, “Punishment, directed at the personhood of our children, is shame inducing, and it will never reach our children’s hearts. Shame believes the lie that because I do unlovable things, I am therefore an unlovable person. But Jesus never confused the two. Jesus does not shame us, nor should we shame our children. Rather, we want to grow our children with corrective discipline — discipline that reflects God’s holy discipline in our lives.”
Sometimes it feels so overwhelming to make corrections in our own parenting, what encouragement can you provide for the mom (or dad) listening that knows they need to make changes?
“How can I reflect God’s heart in this moment?”
In Mom Set Free, Jeannie walks through the language of shame and the language of grace.
James 1:5 Ask God for wisdom. He gives generously
When you make a mistake, go and apologize to your children.
“After I love you, I think those are the three most important words we can say to our kids [I am sorry].”
“How do we create an environment of confession, not perfection? We want to have a house where we are free to confess our need for Jesus.”
30:40 Jeannie shares what one can expect if completing the Mom Set Free Study and/or reading the book
- 7 week study
- guide and videos
- every 5th day is a prayer activity
- walk through the pressures mom face
- for every pressure there is a promise
- the book and study compliment one another, but they do not have to be done together
“We do our best parenting through prayer.”
37:36 “I think there’s this misunderstanding about growing in the Christian faith, which is being a Christian is about getting stronger and better. That’s sanctification…What I have come to understand through brilliant teachers, like Tim Keller, Beth Moore, Brennen Manning, is that sanctification is not about getting stronger and better it’s about becoming more and more aware of our need for the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”
1 Cor. 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
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