“Lucas, can you please pick up your toys before dinner?” (Me)
“No. I don’t want to.” (Lucas)
“Lucas, that isn’t how you answer Mommy. You say, ‘Yes, Mommy.’ And then you are obedient and do it.” (Me)
“No! I don’t want to.” (Lucas)
“That is being disobedient. You are not listening to me, and that is not how you respond. Now you are getting a consequence.” (Me)
“NO!! Okay, I’ll do it.” (Lucas)
“I’m glad you are doing it, but you are still getting the consequence for being disobedient. When Mommy tells you to do something, you need to listen and obey, and you need to do it with a good attitude because that makes God happy.” (Me)
As I said those words, I stopped in my tracks. There is nothing more humbling to me than when God uses my teaching moments with my children as a bigger teaching moment for myself. I have also found that these teaching moments come at a much more rapid pace during the times I am not in the Word as much as I should be and the times where my expectations become my idols. In this particular case, the Lord was reminding me of what my obedience to Him needs to look like—immediate and joyful.
Lucas and I resolved the situation with repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. And, about five minutes later, we were having the exact same conversation as above! If I’m being completely honest, I typically end up losing my patience at round four or five. So, at the end of days like this (which really ends up being pretty much every day!), I really love to lie in bed and think about some characteristics of God, my Heavenly Father, as an act of worship and to keep things in perspective!
He is a loving Father Who cares and corrects me in the gentlest of ways, speaking softly to my heart and opening my eyes to my follies. When I unintentionally stray, He never loses His patience. When I purposefully disobey because I just don’t feel like I want to do what I know He is asking of me, He never loses His temper. And, when I come running back because the consequences of my actions bring the pain of separation from Him, He meets me with open arms, comforting words, and points me where I need to go from there. He doesn’t keep a tally of my wrongdoings to hold over me later or make me feel guilty. He is generous in His blessings although I am rightfully undeserving. Truthfully, my human mind cannot comprehend the depth of His love for me being more than what I know my love for my children to be!
The keeping things in perspective part is always the hardest for me because I struggle with perfectionism. I just want to “get it” and be the best at it, so when I find myself in my son’s shoes and the Lord shepherding me for the tenth time in a row for the same situation, it’s a hard pill to swallow and so very humbling! But having a Heavenly Father Who is perfectly gracious and loving while He corrects me makes all the difference.
There was a time when I had a very skewed understanding of Who God was in His role of Father. I believed Him to be harsh, mean, angry, unloving, uncaring, and ready to bring down wrath and punishment for my every mistake. This was also during the darkest parts of my life where I couldn’t have been further from the Lord, and I was running as fast I could to stay away. Glory, Hallelujah, for His pursuit of my heart, and I could not have been further from the truth! Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross and pay the consequence of our sin—which is death and separation from God. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we get to live as the perfect sons and daughters of God the Father and be reconciled to Him!
“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— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:6-11, ESV).
Isn’t that amazing?! The next time you are having a down moment, just remember this, and I promise you that your entire attitude will shift towards one of thankfulness! It’s with this in mind that we can know without a shadow of a doubt that God’s correction of us is for our betterment and is done with all good intentions. All of the teaching moments that God has for us are to grow us and shape us to look like His Son. For me, when I have this present on my mind, it’s a lot easier to submit, be obedient, and do it all joyfully! I also find that I handle the repeated situations with my kids (and even my husband) a lot better when I approach them and remember how the Lord is with me. Be encouraged! The teaching moments are part of the process, and we have the most patient and loving Father!
Much love, Sweet Brothers and Sisters,