I'm a part of a community of women who long to see God's best fulfilled in their marriages, their parenting and their children's lives. We are intense about this stuff. Our "Mama Yoda" (as I so fondly call her, because she's a *wealth* of knowledge) gets inundated with questions, scenarios and about a million messages and texts daily (I'm sure). And the funny ha-ha of it all is that a good majority revolve around that ever present, ever touchy subject of discipline.
Toddlers are hard to parent. And even harder to discipline. I have yet to parent or discipline a teen, but I'm sure they're no cup of tea either. Discipline is one of those parenting subjects that no matter how much you think you know, you always have to adjust and grow as you continue to learn and get to know God's little (or grown) gift to us as parents.
I sat thinking earlier today on the Scripture that exhorts our parents not to embitter or exasperate our children. I read a post our Mission Base's Executive Director posted up about John Newton (writer of "Amazing Grace") and his testimony. He was beat, bruised, and "disciplined" by his parents, yet it caused more rebellion to grow inside of him rather than a deep loyalty and love for Jesus.
"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart."
In good old
nerd curious fashion, I looked up the definition of exasperate in the dictionary. Here's what came up.
verb (used with object)
to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely: He was exasperated by the senseless delays.
Archaic. to increase the intensity or violence of (disease, pain,feelings, etc.).
Botany . rough; covered with hard, projecting points, as a leaf.
"Justice, don't even think about it."
"Grace, that's enough."
"Liberty, Mommy said NO."
"Ya'll, come on! Ughhh."
Those sound pretty much like the definition of exasperate. There has to be a better way to discipline that doesn't exasperate and embitter my children (or me!).
And then, I realized that without Christ I am incapable of obedience and incapable of any good thing. Suddenly, my parenting focus shifted.
My first goal as a parent is not to shape the outward mannerism, but rather to bring them to the foot of the cross and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. My original prayer should never be to mold the exterior of the cup, but rather that my children would be awakened at a young age, to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Then, we can get to the heart of the matter and parent and discipline, according to Scripture.
As a mother, I am the first picture of Jesus my children see. I really should be imitating Christ and living by the Spirit every moment of every day. I will always lack and will never be perfect, yet I must be aware to paint a true picture of Jesus, so that my children can accurately see Jesus. I want to be an instrument God uses in their lives. And I have to strive, in prayer and through grace to be a picture of Jesus' love for them.
How are you showing your children the Cross and the love of Christ in the way you parent and love them?