Monday, November 18, 2013

The Necessity of (ugh!) Discipline

Last night I had a particularly hard conversation with one of my people about an area of sin that is really causing them trouble--disrespect and outright disobedience--a conceit that he/she "knows better" than the authority figures in his/her life.

As we talked, nine year old tears flowed. There is an awareness in my little person's heart that this type of behavior is making the road bumpier. There was an admission that "I know better and can hear the voice whispering for me to straighten up and cut it out--to be more respectful--I just don't always listen."  (A precious confession that makes me gulp at its familiarity.)

This prideful need to be in control and not be told what to do is a tendency in this particular personality that may need to always be surrendered regularly to the Lord's control. (I know this because I suffer from the same predisposition.)

The encounter was unpleasant, but necessary, for both of us. And even as I gave this child "a stern talking to" my heart was overflowing with affection. We apologized to each other. I concluded our talk by saying, "I am FOR you, which means I love you too much to let this stuff stick around in your life." My child hugged me tightly and quietly confessed, "I know. I love you, Mom."

I adore my people. It kills me to be cross with them--but God has given me this task. As Kari Kampakis wrote so beautifully, "Not to prepare the road for my children, but to prepare my children for the road."

With this preparation comes correction, discipline, consequences. I'm not out to get my children--quite the contrary! I am FOR them. The most loving thing I can do for my offspring is help them learn these hard lessons within the confines of family, rather than completely at the hands of an often unloving world.

Because of my deep love, I will fight for my children against the sin that seeks to entangle them. Frankly, it is not fun, but it is a call upon Christian parents. 

This afternoon as I was thinking/praying through last night and preparing my heart for what may come today I started penning a letter in my head to tell my children all of this...
How my denials were ultimately for their good.
That my correction is intended to strengthen them.
Punishing them or allowing them to accept consequences for seemingly little things is to protect them from far bigger ones.
How sometimes restricting them was necessary in order for them to be truly free.
That so much of what they perceive as being against them is actually for them.
I want my children to trust my heart for them.

And I realized I was getting a glimpse into the Father heart of God.

" ...have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.
God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children...At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."
-from Hebrews 12 The Message
I am reminded to stay the this season as the one God's entrusted to train and discipline--confident He will continue to do so for me as well. All because of His love!


dee said...

"Stay the course", it will pay off! I was reminded of a quote that I still have in my purse. I can't remember who to give credit for it, and it was not a Christian source. But, just a general thought for when, at the time, our teenagers would more than occasionally roll their eyes at our strictness. "You spend years wishing your parents would get off your back, only to realize they are the only ones who ever really had your back." Us and their heavenly Father, of course. At 26, 21, and 19, ours now realize it! A sweet place to be.

Meredith Carter said...

I am in a very similar place with my 8-year-old daughter. She is my most challenging child, but has the most tender and giving spirit. I know God is equipping her for greatness and strengthening me in the process :) Do you recommend any books on this topic? Thank you for sharing your experiences!

JMom said...

Trying to reply from my phone is not going so well! The empowering website has lots of well written and powerful entries. Prayers to you!!

JMom said...

I also really like the premise behind the Love and Logic series of books.

Katherine Eversberg- REALTOR® said...

I loved this post! I am not sure how I found your blog but I stumbled upon it and have been reading from San Antonio, TX for years. As my little people grow (oldest is turning 4) your blog has been a blessing to me. Thank you for sharing!