To be completely honest, raising my third child has been a struggle.
She is very different from her siblings.
She has her own way of thinking; she sees to her own opinions; she follows her own heart.
And while these could be really good qualities, they are only good qualities if she grows to love God’s way more than her own.
She has challenged every conventional and not-so-conventional discipline method I know of, and has left me feeling pretty inadequate more than once.
As I poured through the gospels and read the interactions between Jesus and his disciples, I began to realize that that I was not being defeated by my child, but by my skewed view of discipline.
Discipline means to train or to bring to a state of order. In essence it means to create a disciple.
As I read, I became aware that the people He called were not elite students but they were still chosen by God to do amazing things. This training was a long, arduous process of molding and kneading that didn’t happen overnight. Preparing them for their callings as new creations was a trial of endurance… much like parenting.
Yet it seems that Jesus never dwelled on the negative events, or attributes of his disciples’ personalities, instead He saw them as the people that He was molding them to be.
Instead of humiliating Peter for his bouts of anger or his lapse of judgment, He gently restored him.
Instead of calling him by his offense, He gave him a new name.
I must admit this is not my default reaction to the offenses of my children. And if I am completely honest, it is not my response to anyone’s offenses.
I tend to focus on the negative event or attribute instead of the character I am encouraging.
I tend to remind them of the wrongdoing, instead of whose they are.
But God deals with us differently.
He meets us with the fullness of His grace with His all-consuming love and gently restores us to a higher place.
He reminds us whose we are…
You are chosen (John 15:16).
You are a child of the King (Gal 3:26).
You are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:2).
His grace is perpetual because His mercies are new every morning (Lam. 3:23).
Friends, our heavenly Father is our example. It may take many years of molding and kneading our children and it may be a long arduous process, but it is in the process that we will continue to find the person of Jesus Christ.
Today, He is calling us to create, lead, and train disciples through the discipline of love from a place of overwhelming grace. Let’s raise our children in light of the example that God has given us and restore our children as God restores us.
Word of the Day:
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction (2 Tim. 4:2).
Lord, I am thankful for this child you have given me. I know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I know that you knew them while they were even still in my womb. God, so often I feel helpless and inadequate in raising them. I ask today, that you guide my hand and my heart as I grow and teach this child to be a disciple for your Kingdom, in Jesus’ name, amen.