Hello, old friends! I don't take the time to blog like I used to, but I need to do better. I just had something on my heart and wanted to share it.
First, this parenting two gig is hard! It is demanding and challenging and stretching. Thank you, God, that I have so much help from You and from my husband and all the wonderful people in our lives.
Second, I am not a perfect mother, nor do I claim to be, but I am striving to be who He wants me to be--and that's the important part, I think, that we not just twiddle our thumbs and abuse His grace, but that we really try and learn and grow every day.
So, last night, Kade bit someone at a friend's house. I should have known better than to even take him because he had not had a nap and that never bodes well for an evening in public. So, he immediately ran, knowing he was in Big Trouble. I caught him and carried him straight to the car, telling him that we were leaving. He was upset and screaming that he wanted to stay and play. Someone commented that I had more self control than they would have in that situation.
Here's the thing: I was angry. Unbelievably angry. I was angry at Kade for biting, angry that I had to leave somewhere I really wanted to be, angry at myself for putting a tired 3 year old in the situation. I could have screamed, spanked, berated, cried. What I did was to take him out of the situation (which was bad enough for him because he had to quit playing and leave), talk to him on the way home about biting, and move on. I was still seething inside when we got home, but I quickly prayed for love and grace, gave him a bath, and put him to bed.
I was still thinking about the situation this morning, and about parenting and discipline and how hard it all is. I want to raise godly, moral children. Though I could never be the perfect Parent that God is, I want to love and discipline my children the way He loves and disciplines me.
Let's take a look at Psalms 103:8-13:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserveor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
Compassionate. Gracious. Slow to anger. Abounding in love. These are easy traits to have when our children are on their best behavior, but how many times do they fly out the window on the bad days? The days when the 2 year old colors on the wall and the 10 year is being stubborn and the 5 year old stomps all over the newly planted flowers. How many times do we fly off the handle? I've done it.
So much Christian parenting material I've seen is ALL about the rod of correction (in the physical sense). Frankly, some of it disgusts me. God corrects me when I sin, but he has never beat me with my sin or berated me over and over. He doesn't tempt me to sin. He doesn't keep a record of my sins; he doesn't even remember them. He is compassionate. In return, I want to please Him. I don't want to cross the line.
Sometimes, when we disobey God, there is pain involved--not pain He inflicts, but pain that comes as a result of our choices. Sometimes, when I tell Kade not to stand on the laundry basket or run in his Crocs, he falls and bumps himself. Sometimes, when he bites someone, we have to leave somewhere he would rather not leave. God doesn't point his finger, laugh, or say ,'I told you so' when we experience pain because of our choices. If we look up, He has His hand held out, ready to help us get up.
I pray I would be the same with my children. Correcting them with and because of love and not anger. While they're still very young and in my care, keeping them out of situations where they would be tempted to sin. Not overreacting, not reminding them of their sins again and again. Moving on and loving afterwards.
Sometimes it's hard. Much of the time, my flesh wants to reign. But I want to parent like Him.