This morning I clashed with one of my children. Yes, it does happen. Rather frequently. I’m a normal mom, after all, and my kids are normal kids.
This particular clash came because an instruction my husband and I had given over and over again was one again ignored. When I asked if the instruction was remembered, my precious child responded that yes, it was remembered. When I asked if the affects to siblings and the rest of the family were known, the answer was once again a yes. Feeling my anger rise, I simply said, “Okay,” and walked away. I knew I needed to step away so that I could hear the wisdom being whispered to me by the Holy Spirit.
So, walk away I did. Within a few minutes the peace of the Lord had washed over me and I was ready to talk with my child. I laid a few things out, and then we went our separate ways so my young one could contemplate the next step.
When all was said and done, three things really hit me about the whole encounter.
I typically don’t walk away soon enough. I say too much before I open myself to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Too much anger is allowed. Too much talking. I’ve gotten better, to be sure. But this morning showed me just how much more wonderful it can be if I really walk away at the very beginning. If I really allow myself to grasp the situation and then say nothing…nothing at all…before the Lord has had a chance to work on my heart.
The personality that makes us prone to the sin also strengthens us for obedience. And our children need to know that. This morning’s disobedience was born out of an inborn desire to stand out. To be different. To never bend to an action or behavior just because someone says, “Do this!” As I started our “discussion,” I felt the nudge of the Holy Spirit to explain that a stubbornness like that can be a great thing! (You should have seen the size of my child’s eyes when I said that!) Those who refuse to say, “How high?” just because someone else says, “Jump!” tend to get into less trouble. Of course, that attitude also leads to rebellion. Rebellion against our parents. Rebellion against God. I explained that, too, and the eyes got even bigger. My child suddenly understood that the personality itself is not bad. In fact, it’s good! But the disobedience is not. My child felt affirmed instead of beaten.
We have to plan for obedience. In just a few minutes, I’m going to ask my child for the plan of obedience that was to be mulled over through the course of the day. We never just happen into obedience. It doesn’t work. What we happen into is disobedience. Lack of discipline. Self-centeredness. Obedience is much more intentional. We have to make a plan. Prepare. Intend to surrender. Obedience and discipline go hand in hand, and discipline never just happens. Thinking back to my response to my children’s disobedience, I realize that I cannot just happen into stepping back to listen to my Father’s instructions for disciplining my children. I must be sensitive to Him in the first place so I will not give in to my anger. If I need that preparation, how much more do my children?
I’ll be honest – this day started off rough for many reasons. But after that encounter with my precious child, it began to improve. God’s peace reigned. We had a good school day. And my interactions with all three of my children were good.
Obedience is good. Learning from it is even better!