Today wasn't an easy mom day. It was pretty crummy, honestly. I struggle with finding the right mix of firm and loving. Instead I either end up with too much nagging or too much pushover. Finding the perfect recipe for discipline is proving impossible. Certainly, you all have a book filled with sound advice, but there's one book in particular that seems to speak to all these struggles. God's word has a lot to say on how we raise our babies both directly and indirectly.
Tonight as we hashed out our horrific parenting from the morning, my husband said, "It's like we are fighting the world." We are!!! The loud, ever-present, in their faces, comfort seeking, self-righteous world is what we are up against. When he spoke that truth, my spirit sang! The words of John 16:33 rang loudly in my ear, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." There is so much hope in this truth. Yes, He knows we will face parenting trials, but in Him we have the hope we need and the faith to persevere for our children. Why? Because He has OVERCOME the world.
Within the book of Ephesians you will find divine instruction, including how to parent. In chapter 6, verse 4 we are told, "And now a word to you parents. Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice." Let's all give praise that His mercies are new each morning because if you're anything like me, when you read that first line about scolding and nagging you hung your head a little. How do we get past the nagging and yelling? Prayer. We have to pray for conviction from the Holy Spirit, and grace from our Father. We have to pray with our children and for our children. And we must humble ourselves, even as parents. Check our egos at the door and return to loving our babies, even in their most unlovable moments.
This picture. When I saw this image of my beautiful friend and her son I was immediately reminded of the story of Mary and Martha (see Luke 10:38-42). Parenting is like their story, the balance of being present and being disciplined. Both are essential. Our kids need both. But in the end, will we be happier that we washed the dishes, or will we be grateful we took the time to truly be with our sweet baby, knowing those precious minutes will never come back? Jesus told Martha, "Martha, dear friend, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it—and I won’t take it away from her!” Mary knew that her time with Jesus was paramount. Nothing else mattered. Our posture should be the same, and in that time with Jesus we become more of who He intends us to be as parents, as people. In His presence we become better able to BE present. That's what our kids need. They need us- the present us. The us that will be there, not nagging, not scolding, just there. And when we are present, we can all find a place to rest. Goodness knows we need that. Keep up the good work, Mama!