Saturday, July 05, 2008

HE Knows What We Need

Recently my children have been saying things like, "You don't care about me!" when Brian or I are disciplining them. Sometimes they have been getting angry with us for not giving in to their ways.
On occasion I find myself considering whether I should just "let them be kids" and turn my eyes away from childish behavior, or stand firm and require them to respond obediently. I wonder if I am expecting too much, if I am being too rigid, if I just need to loosen up a bit. Then I read things like Proverbs 19:18.

Discipline your son, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to his death.
And I know the loving thing to do is to train my children in the ways that are right. Sometimes it will be hard and they won't like the things I say or make them do, but I do not want to be a willing party to their death.

Well, this afternoon the "You don't care about me!" lines were flying around again. So I decided to take an opportunity we had this evening before going to church, and we had attempted to have a family discussion. I had my Bible opened up to Proverbs 19:18 and hoped to talk about it together with Brian and my children. With all my heart, I just wanted my kids to understand that the reason Brian and I discipline them is because we want to raise them well. We don't want to be a willing party to their death. (And I truly thought that particular illustration would help them understand.)
However, Joshua and Matthew couldn't stop looking at each other. And seeing each other made them laugh. They could not control their silliness. Brian and I took turns telling them to listen and stop looking at each other. Conveying this lesson was so important to me and I was getting very frustrated. I wanted to stop mid-sentence and send them to their rooms, but at the same time I wanted them to be there because the lesson was for them. Talk about being torn!
Many times I prayed that God would help me say the right thing, help the boys listen, help them stop being silly, just help!

We somewhat finished talking about the verse, and I knew we needed to pray. But I couldn't do it. I was too close to tears. So as we gathered in a circle, Brian prayed for Elizabeth, Joshua, and Matthew - as children, and the two of us - as parents.
And I? Stood there crying. Telling Jesus how much I love my children and how desperately I want to raise them well. I begged Him for wisdom and reminded Him one more time how much I love my children and how desperately I want to raise them well.

Then we went to church, and God showed me that He knows what we need.

Our pastor was preaching from Philippians 4:13.
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Right away he got us thinking about that situation in our lives which causes us to think, I can't! and confirmed the truth of our evaluation. That is, I can't.
On my own, I cannot do it - whatever it may be. (And for me, the "it" which was fresh on my mind was training my children.)
But I am not on my own. The Holy Spirit is living in me, and by His strength I can do everything.
I sat listening to my pastor's words, and I am sure God was speaking right to my heart - because He knows what I need. God very clearly reminded me of the fact He loves my children more than I do, and He will give me the strength and wisdom and endurance I need as a mother to raise these children He has entrusted to me.

I know for sure I cannot do this mothering thing alone. But that's okay. Because I am not alone. God is with me. And I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

How about you, my friend? Is there a situation in your life right now which has you saying, "I can't"?
Well, you're right.
You can't.
But God can, and He knows what you need. Will you trust Him?

**Updated to add**
Saturday night during "Family Prayer Time" we talked about Proverbs 19:18 again. The kids seemed to remember what we talked about earlier, and I do believe an understanding is coming. Whew!

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Rachel said...

anytime my children say "I can't" in relation to something like the fruits of the spirit. (like being kind to their sister.) I love to explain to her that she is right. She can't. In Christ alone can we don ANYTHING. I'm hoping by telling that to them every time while they are young, it will make it an easier concept to get when they are mommies that are struggling saying, "I can't."
I'm so thankful that He gives us strength!

luvmy4sons said...

Part of what I used to do all the time when disciplining my boys when they were younger was explain to them that I have to obey God and they have to obey obeying me. I would explain that when they disobeyed they stepped out of a circle of protection that God provides when they are obedient. And that my disciplining them is requried to bring them back into that circle of protection. Reading from the book of Proverbs for Parenting often was included in the discipline or from the book Instruction for Righteousness. Some excerpt fro mteh Word of God to that effect...I htink it has a certain effecton discipline that doing so without just doesn't have. Every discipine included the fact that I did so because I loved them, because I had to obey God by teaching them and disciplining them, and that this discipline brought them back in to that circle of protection. Keep up the good work mom! They will one day rise up and call you blessed!

Alisun said...

I get the same You don't care about me saying from our 8 year old and it makes me nuts. This post came at a great time thanks for help.

Susan Kelly Skitt said...

Praise God we're not on our own in this awesome task as parents :)

I remember the day very vividly when I was at wits end, really and truly wits end with our youngest. And like you, God reminded me that He loved my child even more than me... what a humbling and awesome thought.

StaceyStace said...

It hasn't been long since I learned this lesson for myself! =)

It was the realization that my Father disciplines me because He loves me that made me love Him - and its the same thing I try to teach my kids.

You are such a caring mom!

Nancy said...

Your story is very touching. My husband and I have been in your shoes many times and still find ourselves in the same boat with our son who is 23 yrs old. Parenting is a difficult, full-time job, but it reaps many rewards. Your efforts are not going unnoticed, by God or your children. You are doing a valuable and good work that will soon bloom and prosper.

Thanks for sharing and never ever feel as if you are failing as a parent in any way. You are doing great!

In Him,

Mrs. Sidney said...

There are many times in life when I begin to think I can't do this... then I am reminded I can do anything with Him.

I have been struggling to be a biblical wife when my husband isn't being the loving husband he is called to be. With God I know I can be that wife even when my husband isn't that husband.

With God all things are possible and lucky for me you were willing to share your struggles with everyone. In hearing you say He has the strength helps me know it is possible.

Thanks again,