>This morning Olivia walked into my room and said, “Thank you, Mommy, for helping me find new things to wear.”
I just kind of looked at her, confused. All I could think was, I haven’t helped you pick out clothes in ages! What are you talking about? As if reading my thoughts, she began to explain.
Let me give you a little background. My girls love skirts and dresses. Some days I am convinced that if they never again owned a pair of pants of any sort again, they would never miss them! Yesterday Olivia was dressed in the most adorable outfit – a knee-length straight black skirt with flowers embroidered along the bottom and a pretty cream-colored knit blouse. She looked precious in it!
But there was one problem. Olivia still has not matured to the point of showing modesty without being reminded. All day yesterday there we were, trying to have school with Olivia not caring in the least how she was sitting – or rather, sprawling. So, repeatedly throughout the day I was forced to remind her to pull her skirt down and sit right.
Finally, I gave her an ultimatum – be responsible and modest, or be denied dresses and skirts for a week. She lost the dresses and skirts.
This morning when she walked in, the fact that she was not supposed to wear a dress or skirt was far from my mind, but not from hers. Because of the discipline, she had to be a little more creative about what to wear. And she was thanking me for it!
Today Olivia is living out several principles of Scripture. First, she is living the principle of accepting discipline as an expression of love found in Proverbs 3:11-12 and elsewhere. She has accepted it joyfully.
How often do I respond that way? I pout and fuss when I am being disciplined! I know it is for my good, but that is not my response. Instead, I want to buck the discipline and complain about it. Oh that I would accept discipline as just what it is – a show of beautiful love of my Father!
Secondly, Olivia is living out the principle of rejoicing in all things. Olivia could have pouted all morning about not being able to wear skirts and dresses. In fact, she could choose to pout all week. Instead she found reason to rejoice in her discipline – reason to say “thank you.”
We recently read about a woman named Joy Ridderhof who determined that she would rejoice in all things. What a powerful life she lived, serving the Lord with great rejoicing! After years of living in this way, friends and acquaintances would comment that they were sometimes unsure whether she was talking to them or her precious Lord because of the free flow of joyful interaction she shared with her Savior Jesus Christ.
Olivia is, at the tender age of eight, trying to take a first small step in that same direction. As her mother, I have the ability to encourage that mindset or squelch it. If I would determine to live the same way, what kind of example would that set for her? What type of woman would she be at my age?
I want to find out! And, I want to find out what living that way will do to my own growth and character. Rejoice in all things. Receive discipline knowing that it is granted in love. And see what beauty the Lord can create.