We’re so excited to have our friend, Kendra Fletcher with us!
This week on HSHSP Ep 165: Teens and Legalism, Interview with Kendra Fletcher. This post is running concurrently on Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.
HSHSP Ep 165: Teens and Legalism, Interview with Kendra Fletcher
Kendra is an influential author, blogger and with her husband, Andy, speaker around the country. Andy and Kendra have hosted Homeschooling IRL on this network. She is the mother of 8, several of them who graduated from traditional homeschool, several in hybrid homeschools and their youngest with special needs. She is also a special friend of ours!
Kendra’s family story is full of God-given inspiration and breath-taking traumas. From her youngest’s nearly-deadly virus when he was an infant, to a daughter’s attack of sepsis after a burst appendix (and even more traumatic events), the Fletchers understand what hardship can look like. Through their experiences, Kendra and Fletch have learned that God is in charge of the process of raising children and in charge of the outcomes!
God is in charge of the process AND in charge of the outcomes! No matter how much we might want to control our lives (and slide into the trap of *teens and legalism*), God must be in control.
In this chat with Kym and Vicki, Kendra explains that she has learned:
Even if you have a perfect child for your first born, if you have more than one, you’ll find each one has an autonomous soul and mind. That you never have a child who won’t need God in their lives. You’ll never be the kind of parent who can guarantee and outcome. That’s why we need to keep our hope shifted onto Jesus.
We loved Kendra’s previous book, Lost and Found (if you want to read a GREAT testimony of God’s grace, this is it). Kendra’s latest book is called Leaving Legalism. It fits perfectly into our 7Sisters’ philosophy of homeschooling. We asked her to share some of her thoughts on teens and legalism.
Kendra defines legalism as: Anytime we put our hope in anything other than the simple Gospel of Christ (of Christ’s work on the cross to pay for our sins), we are slipping into legalism.
The truth of the matter is that each one of us is a legalist. No matter what we think about the way we run life and what church we go to, because was are born in sin, our humanity pushes us towards some kind of law.
Kendra encourages us to monitor our *if onlys*. If ONLY I could find a perfect church… If ONLY I could get in the right co-op… If ONLY I had the *right* way to parent…everything would be okay.
Every time you catch an *if only* come back to the Gospel. In fact, daily come back to the Gospel. God is our hope. Ultimately and always.
Kendra explained that she and Fletch learned about hope shifting (placing their trust in their process, rules or checklists). They started out parenting by wanting the very best for their kids. Homeschooling was one of those *best things*. They started homeschooling because their first child was so bright that she felt he would do best in a home situation.
As they went along, homeschooling became more than an educational choice! In those decades there was the prominent philosophy that homeschooling would save your kids. Parents who did not homeschool were feeding the children to the wolves. She remembers the story she heard from a speaker that sending kids to traditional school settings is like throwing a precious teddy bear into the mud, no matter how often it is washed afterwards, it would still be sullied.
She points out the hope shifting in that philosophy. All of our children are being raised by parents who are sinners (while saved by grace, are still sinning). When parents were taught to put their hope in homeschooling, that was shifting hope away from Christ’s work in the Gospel and onto our own works. The legalistic idea there is: IF I parent in this way, I’ll get the outcome I want for my kids.
Kendra wrote the Leaving Legalism because a number of parents had come to her points because they felt devastated when they *did all the right things* but their young adults walked away. These parents, like all of us, are not able to control the outcome of another person’s life. God is in charge of the outcome.
So how do we keep ourselves from hope shifting onto homeschooling and away from God? How do we keep our faith and trust in God? If we give up legalism, how do we prevent our teens from falling into licentiousness?
After all the traumas, the Fletchers discovered that the comfort of living in a *checklist*, legalistic culture is a kind of pride and fear. It was toxic to their family. They left their legalistic church when she was 40 years old. She found that she had more freedom and spiritual growth when she gave up control of her own spiritual health and her family’s spiritual health to God.
Kendra advises: Sit as Jesus’ feet. Learn to abide. It’s in many ways harder than simply *having a checklist* but the freedom to let God manage our lives is so much better. The freedom of living with daily hope in the Gospel is a better choice for each person and their families. Kendra has learned to pointing her kids to Jesus: “Look, here’s Jesus!”
He is who we need. His outcomes for us and our kids are what we truly want.
WE can’t raise our kids to be perfect. It is God who is present in their lives as they make their good and bad decisions. The Gospel is the tool to help our teens learn to live trusting in Him.
Kendra’s new book, Leaving Legalism, is her encouragement to Christians who want to start live over. Often families who come out of a legalistic culture leave everything behind: All their social, spiritual and emotional support. The book offers comfort, support and advice for leaving legalism but not leave Christ behind.
Learn to love God, learn to love others, learn to love yourself. Here’s Jesus. He’ll help you with that.
Leaving Legalism: Learning to Love God, Others and Yourself Again by Kendra Fletcher discusses these important topics.
- Why and how people leave legalism
- Why rules make us feel safe
- Understanding the swinging pendulum
- Our identity in Christ
- How to let go of the past
- Apologizing to your teens
- God’s individual love for each individual
You’ll also love these posts that will help with your teens’ spiritual development:
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Teens and Legalism