It’s hit. It hasn’t even been 24 months yet, and our darling, precious little bundle of joy is showing off her rotten side. Deliberate disobedience, screaming fits, refusals….all those behaviors we swear that our children will never have before we even birth them…
Meal times are a battle. Esther wants to stand up in her chair, dump her food, throw it on the floor, climb on the table, climb up and down from her chair, crawl over our laps, eat what’s on our plates rather than her own, and then screams when we discipline.
Time outs are a joke. This child will pick up a rock and throw it, sit screaming and crying in time-out, and then will go back and do the same thing 10 times (no exaggeration) before she will redirect.
Let’s talk about walking 50 yards down the road…I feel so out of place in our stroller. We get so many funny looks, and I would just assume strap her to my back and be like the locals. But forget it. We walk one way and she runs the other. Strap her to my back and she’s screaming and wiggling her way out and down.
It sounds humorous, and Alan and I often just look at each other and giggle in the middle of one of her fits or when she shows her stubbornness. But many times, when dealing with so many other cultural frustrations around me, I miss the humor…and the grace.
Our parenting strategies are finally being tested, as well as communicating our strategies to each other and making sure we are on the same page and being consistent.
Sometimes I think that this is payback as I remember my horrendous temper tantrums and deliberate disobedience through my teenage years. I can only imagine all the stress and heart ache I put my parents through.
Daily, even hourly, we are perfectly reminded of the state we are in from birth. Born of Adam, we are innate sinners; depraved and hopeless, in need of a Sav*our. The desires of our flesh trumps what we know in our minds to be right. We are rebels from the womb.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
– Psalm 51:5-6
I am not guiltless while disciplining our daughter. I have found myself lacking grace out of frustration, anger, and fatigue. While I completely believe that there is a just anger and frustration, and a righteous way to discipline, I so often miss the mark. I forget to show love through discipline. My anger builds each consecutive time my daughter disobeys, and then when she is not disobeying, I am too frustrated to show her attention and love.
How does the Father do it? How does He discipline justly, righteously, and consistently? How does He show us the same amount of love when we are being disciplined and when we are not?
Don’t get me wrong…I love my daughter unconditionally…when she is being rotten or sweet. I have the same amount of love for her consistently and I believe it even grows day by day. BUT, how do I SHOW her that I love her ALL the time and still discipline effectively?
Give thanks to the God of Heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
We are all in the same state from birth. Hopeless sinners. I praise the Father, that by His grace I was able to seek Him and accept Him and follow Him. He has given life to my Sp*rit and a desire to do what is good rather than what is wrong (although so many times I give in to the desires of my flesh!). I pr*y that one day my daughter will profess the same thing.
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
What a responsibility we have as parents to teach her and show the way. We screw up so often, and we will screw up many many many more times. Thankfully it is not ultimately up to us that she finds eternal life through the *Son. She would be doomed…we all would be doomed. We can teach her and show her, but only the Father can make her eyes open and give her new life.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. “