Yesterday I failed as a parent. Big time. You know that feeling where you wish you could do it over? Where you'd do everything different? Yep, that was where I was at. The to do list was miles long (it was Halloween after all), we were already running behind, and my girl was dragging her feet in the slowest way. Instead of trying to get to the heart of what was going on, I went immediately to a consequence. And it broke her sweet heart. You see, she was out of line, but if I had stopped to explore why she was out of line, instead of just trying to fix or change the behavior, I would have gotten somewhere.
This is a concept we have talked about in our small group over and over again and seems to be a theme of Christian parenting studies. The way it's presented is often different, but the idea is the same...
When we parent, we need to seek to change our child's heart toward Christ, not just change the behavior.
This is no easy task. It's hard to do this in everyday life. And certainly there are some scenarios that warrant immediate behavior changing action. But the heart is our goal.
And isn't that how God loves us? Isn't that the whole faith/works relationship? We are saved by accepting Christ, by our heart being His...but if our hearts are His, won't our works and deeds be pleasing to Him? (As pleasing as humans can be!) I'm reading Romans right now and at the end of Chapter 2, Paul talks about being a Jew inwardly and circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit. It's not enough just to do the "right stuff"...God wants our heart. He wants obedience out of love and devotion.
Thank GOD He seeks our hearts, and not our works because we could never measure up! And neither can our kids...we can't be surprised when they sin. They are human after all. :) But we have to seek to point their precious hearts to God. We have to pursue their hearts relentlessly.
And what I'm finding lately is just how little I let my kids see that I fail too. I want to have everything together for them, so that they know that I will always take care of them. But they need to see that their mama needs God's grace just as much as they do.
So after school had already started and I was sitting in the living room with a tear stained little girl who had finally calmed from her complete melt down... after I realized that being late to school was nothing compared to the complete and utter fatigue this little girl was feeling (I sent her back to bed for awhile in between), I said, "I'm sorry. I punished you before I talked to you and I didn't know all the facts. I shouldn't have done that. I still believe you deserved a consequence, but I also believe that I should have listened." And she looked at me with her big brown eyes that still had a few tears in them and said four words that melted my heart. "I forgive you, Mom."
And I'm still counting...but I'm behind. :)
123. A trip to see Meme and Granddad. Safe travels on the long drive there and back.
124. Meme and her "cinnamomomom rolls"
125. Trick or treating...several times. So fun to see the kiddos in costumes!
126. Good talks with E in the car.
127. A neighbor who spoils my kids
128. Riding on a pony at the carnival!
129. Good times shopping with my mama.
130. A lot of spoiling by Meme and Granddad
131. God's grace. That He doesn't give up on me.
132. Answered prayers for a good friend.
133. Hot coffee on cold, dark mornings
134. A trip to the farm/playground...awesome place for kiddos in Kansas
135. That no matter the results of the election, Jesus is still the One in charge. :)
136. For awesome in laws that help us when we can't be in every place we need to at once.
137. For my husband's funny texts he sends me during the day. Keeps us both sane.
138. For E's job.
139. A little sister who is growing up to be an awesome young lady.
140. A week off from teaching. Love teaching but it's nice to have a week where evenings are free (or at least free-er)
141. Friends who pray for me.
142. A family member who is recovering
143. That croup is gone from this house
144. A big brother who looks out for his little brother
145. Coats and warm clothes in the cold