Friday, February 18, 2011

Let it be me instead...

  Last night was the sickest I have ever seen my almost 5 year old daughter.  At the time, I just thought she had a really bad case of strep.  She was diagnosed yesterday afternoon, but during the night was just miserable.  She threw up a total of twenty one times.  She developed a rash on her body that itched her like crazy.  In fact she spent over an hour of last night in a baking soda bath, because that was the only way she could keep from scratching.  She scratched so hard she has bleeding sores now.  About 3 a.m. we knew something more was going on; we just didn't know what.  We almost went to the emergency room, but ended up calling the after hours hotline and holding out until this morning.  We didn't sleep at all. 
  Now we know that she had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin which she was given yesterday afternoon for strep.  She is a much different girl tonight, and my husband and I are thanking God for that.
During the wee hours of the night, I found myself praying and thinking, "I just wish it could be me instead."  I'm sure every parent has this thought.  It is torture to watch your child in pain or sick. 
  Thinking about this today, I feel comforted and so loved to know that this is how our Lord feels when He watches us in pain.  I think my God was feeling that watching my daughter suffer last night.  I also think He feels that way whenever He watches us as adults go through hardships in life.  The Bible tells us that God is near to the brokenhearted.  What a blessing it is to know that even though our pain is sometimes caused by choices we make (and sometimes it isn't), God doesn't like for us to experience pain.  And God is so present during those painful times.
  I also went on to think...this is also how God felt when He watched Jesus tortured.  I cannot imagine the pain of the Father watching His Son endure all that Jesus had to endure.   He knew it was for the good of all of us, He knew this was the plan for salvation...but I wonder if He wanted to say, "STOP!  Let me do it instead..."  There is this Nichole Nordeman song that I love that describes what God may have been thinking during Jesus' torture before and during the cross. 
"My Precious Son, I hear them screaming
I'm watching the face of the enemy beaming...
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know.
But this dark hour I must do nothing
Though I've heard Your unbearable cry
The power in Your blood destroys all of the lies
Soon You'll see past their unmerciful eyes
Look there below, see the child
Trembling by her father's side
Now I can tell You why...
She is why You must die"
 The child in that song...that's you.  That's me.  The hurt we feel for our kids...that's the hurt the Father feels for you.  The hurt He felt for His own Son as He watched Jesus endure the cross.   Unlike you and me, He COULD have stopped the whole thing.  Another old song I love reminds us..."He could have called ten thousand angels..."  And He could have.  But He CHOSE to have Jesus endure that pain.  The pain that you and I feel just a shadow of when we watch our own kids go through it.  He chose it for us. 
  If that's isn't love, I don't know what is. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


When your child makes a mistake, is he/she sad because of the choice made or the consequence given? 
My four year old most of the time seems saddest by the consequence, and this really bothers me.  I was a very sensitive natured child.  I had lots of empathy and compassion for others.  My child has a personality quite different than mine was...she has strong opinions, is a leader, and is big plotter of her grand ideas.  :)  While she has a big heart, I feel like her regret after making a wrong choice is more for the consequence than the behavior, and I'm at a loss for how to stop this!
I think there has to be consequences for bad behavior, however when it becomes all about the consequences (or rewards), we have problems.
Tonight my darling girl said something quite rude to me.  I told her it hurt my feelings.  She said she was sorry but didn't seem bothered by it.  Now since we have been working on this, I decided to take it a little further...I asked how she would feel if I said that to her.  She explained I would NEVER say that to her and it was against the rules cause I am the mommy.  I went on and told her it was against our family rules too.  I went the route of "Do you think God would be pleased with the words you said to me? Was that honoring your mom?"  She said no.  None of this really got to her, so finally I said, "Honey, I know that you are sorry, but sometimes we can't take back hurtful words.  That really hurt me and I don't really like to be around someone who hurts my feelings.  So I think tonight you need to read to yourself instead of me reading, and I want you to think about your words carefully."  Then the world was over and her heart was breaking.  "MOMMY I am SO sorry!"
Perhaps this route was a little harsh, but I feel that we are at a real breaking point here of needing more compassion and empathy.  I didn't read to her and she was a sad little girl.  She wrote in her journal that she did not mean what she said and that she was sorry she said that to her mommy because she loves me.  I feel like that was true remorse, but not sure if it happened because of the consequence or true regret.  In any case, I think it was a step in the right direction.  And don't worry, I reassured her that I forgive her and that I love her, but also told her again that our words can really hurt people.  And that though we can be sorry and be forgiven, we can't take back those words.
What about you?  How do you encourage true remorse in your child?