by burningbushes on September 30, 2011
Some days-the ones where I’m humiliated in public, the ones where I say, “Right now,” way too many times, the ones when I feel like I should wear stripes and carry a whistle-some days I forget that I should want more than an obedient child. ‘Don’t be impressed by outward conformity.’ But, too often, I just want my offspring to get in line, stop being so ridiculous, and obey already.
For all those days, God reminds me of these five things that are so much better than a child who ‘obeys right away, all the way, with a happy heart.’
1 A child learning that God loves him. Loving God is the greatest commandment-on it hangs all the other laws she’s commanded to obey. But, she will only love God after being convinced that He loves her already.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
2 A child learning to love God’s Word. His words are living…more powerful than any reward or deal I can make. He is the WORD. And so, more of the word in her means more of her conforming (eventually) to Him.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. John 17:17
3 A child learning to love repentance and restoration. Only God’s spirit can bring change and He only abides with those who humble themselves and admit failure.
These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2
4 A child learning to love people more than he loves himself. Selfless living is anything but natural. But learning the love of Christ and His sacrifice makes becoming the Good Samaritan seem as natural as the sunrise.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
5 A child learning how to live a life of JOY. So much of sin and disobedience comes from looking for happiness in all the wrong places. When he learns to find his joy in Jesus, all the world’s offers pale in comparison.
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
I hit a wall the other day. M has been RELENTLESS in his disobedience. Everything goes “in one ear and out the other”, as my mother used to put it. There is nothing more frustrating, even angering, than me “being a broken record”. It translates to me ” I don’t respect you”. Which is a big wound of my past and one that provokes anger in me. The anger is combined with hurt when it comes from 3 of the people I loved MOST in the world, that I would do anything, even die for. And when all 3 are disobeying at once, all day, or all week. It’s more than I can handle.
So I had a moment I am not proud of. At the end of the day M just placed the last straw on and I caved in my self control. I was loud, angry, and doing the one thing I don’t believe in when it comes to discipline. I disciplined in my anger. I could tell he was shocked, hurt, and trying to cover it up from me. And half of me was feeling SO convicted right after, but the other half was still seething.
He went to bed, and I went to my bedroom. I just couldn’t release my self to sit and relax and “veg out”. I had failed him BIG TIME.
I love this blog post above from this blog. Cause over the years I have been recommended so many books, and theories, and seen so many different models. Since I tend to lean towards more rigidness and proactiveness, even perfectionism in my parenting I have gravitated towards some of those resources that today I just don’t see God’s character in. I don’t see how you can raise kids who know that God loves them and really want to follow him. So coming across this post my heart cried out “YES!” I need to hear this, and I want to be able to say these things later.
Number 1 was so convicting. After I went to my bedroom and crawled into my bed I complained and vented and asked God what I should have done, given the circumstances. And he whispered, “What do I do with you when you relentlessly disobey?”…” but i dont…”…. “well maybe I do…”
He is patient and gentle, sometimes firm and unchanging in the consequences ahead but always loving and calm. Not what I was, for sure. I had some forgiveness to seek.
Such important things, repentence and forgiveness. I woudn’t say I was very used to it before parenting. But Josiah and I established in our relationship. The foundation of asking for forgiveness for the wrong that you have done, with no excuses and no blame shifting and then recieving it from the other with the real words ” I forgive you”, not “It’s ok” or ” no big deal” or some other sentence that comes out of feeling uncomfortable and sadly unfamiliar with this process. So it naturally flowed int our parenting. Well natural in the way that we felt it was important to do with them if it was important for us. Not so natural to carry out.
I went into his room, and he was laying there, awake. Afraid that he was gonna receive more punishment. I sat on his bed and started crying, bawling actually. Invited him into my lap and just hugged him. And as I sat there and blubbered my way through repentence and forgiveness for my anger, my precious son astounded me.
After he forgave me, and after my crying made him cry (because he is so tender hearted). He asked ” Mom, can I pray for you?”
And he did, he prayed that God would help me to forgive myself, and not be sad anymore. This broke me. Maybe my boy knows me better than I do. Cause this is where this whole situtaion would live on in my heart, me not forgiving myself. Me letting the condemnation take over.
And I was encouraged. That: number 3 above, is something that, by God’s grace alone, he is learning. And that he valued prayer, inviting God into this moment, knowing that it would make all the difference.
I felt such shame when I recounted everything to J later that evening. Afraid that he would be shocked or disappointed in the mother of his children. It took me a little while before I really did forgive myself. And it still deeply moves me that M blessed me with forgiveness and prayer. And I was so thankful and proud of him as he gave what God has been cultivating in his heart, that sometimes goes unoticed by me.