Our Tuesday morning Bible Study reconvened this morning after a Summer break. Next week we will begin Beth Moore's Stepping Up. Today, we spent our time reconnecting and discussing what God was doing in our lives.
One of the women in our group mentioned the topic of 'exasperating' our children as described in Colossians 3:21: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart." (NAS)
The topic certainly struck a chord with me and as we talked it was obvious many other women felt the same way. (I think coming off of a long Summer it was especially fresh in many of our minds.) How do we maintain our position of authority, teach and instruct while not exasperating our children? Especially when we are fallen, broken and usually tired...
Several great points were made about what 'exasperate' meets in this context. Clearly, motherhood is not a popularity contest and, therefore, our children will frequently be unhappy with our responses to their requests or behaviors. As Gary Thomas says in Sacred Parenting we are not raising children to worship us, but to worship God. It was a challenging conversation.
I am definitely praying that God will help me in this area. (Specifically as it relates to my responses to bahviors that aren't wrong, just not the way I want/prefer them.) Tonight I did a little poking around the Internet and was interested in this post and this article. If you would like to read more on this topic you might want to check these out.
Impatience and less than graceful responses to overly emotional children are struggles of mine. I often think of them as 'thorns in my flesh' that keep me at the feet of the cross--keenly aware of my need for a Savior. Tonight I am reminded of the importance of grace. Grace for our children and grace for ourselves. Thank you, God, that we are not in this alone. May we all remember His example. He loves us. He guides us. He corrects us. He does not condemn us or exasperate us. He delights in us.