A normal day in the life of a mom! :)
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
"Could you P L E A S E stop fussing again!" I remember so many times when I thought I was making absolutely no progress at all. Constantly I had to stand against my children's selfishness, self-centeredness, fusses, and "he did its" Then there was the, "How many times do I have to ask you to make your bed." (clean your room, pick up after yourself, not talk in that voice) and so on.
So many people who meet my children as adults and read our stories falsely get the impression that it was just easier for me! But, I tell you, I have earned every gray hair that is on my head--through stress and strain, lots of tears and endless praying--begging God for His intervention. So many sweet mamas think they have failed their children, are doing a bad job, feel guilty because they lost their temper, and think they must be doing a worse job than others.
The Jews resisted God, and so do we!
You only have to look at the history of the Jews in the Bible to understand that all of God's children resisted Him. Even as He entered Jerusalem, He said, " "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing."
The history of Christianity, all the way from Genesis to Revelation, is God's children resisting him! And we are still doing it!
So many times I wanted to have fun with the kids, bless them, and they would choose to act in a childish way and my plan, my hope for a peaceful moment would be spoiled and would require discipline once again.
If your children are resisting you, then you must be working against their selfish and self-centered egos and moving them into a direction of maturity. There is no magic formula that will make them mature. It is training them day in day out, "no not this, but this is the way to behave," over and over and over again. Giving them chores to do and coming along side and doing them. Teaching them manners and correcting and instructing them again and again. Helping them memorize scripture and using the Word to teach them about wrong attitudes verses good attitudes, training them to learn to love, helping them to become unselfish.
And of course, aiming training at the heart, their motivation, seeking to cooperate with their age, sex, personality and issues--learning to be a student of their inside attitudes is a mysterious process that requires lots of faith, wisdom and experience. I did want to have more kids so I could do it right with at least one child. But God's grace was always there and he took my paltry offerings, even as I have compared myself many times to the little boy with the loaves and fish--he took what I offered and made it enough.
My children did not usually say, "Thanks so much, mama, for feeding me broccoli." "Or thanks for all the hard work you make me do." or, "I just love it when you correct my attitudes and make me write out verses or empty the dishwasher or stay in my room alone. to think about my actions."
All discipline, as it says in Hebrews, for the moment seems not to be joyful but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
"Afterwards" from this passage, is when your muscle mass is sagging, your hair is turning grey and you have wrinkles around your eyes.
Hang on, mamas! All of your training will eventually matter so very greatly--but it may not, probably will not, be affirmed at the moment in which it is given. It is a long pathway of life, never instant, and always through some dark passages. But there are other examples to help us understand this way of excellence training.
In the same way that a music teacher not only teaches but inspires the child, gives them difficult songs to learn, makes them practice their scales and then the results are a musician buds into a talented, skillful person, so a mama intentionally trains, corrects, gives responsibility to completes, inspires and disciplines a child who then blooms and becomes a whole, healthy, strong adult.
Or perhaps you like sports examples better. The coach teaches how to do track or tennis, gymnastics, gives drills, requires practice, engages the child in real competitions and over time draws out the talent and skill of a child and watches him or her grow into a strong, competitive athlete.
We all marvel at Olympic athletes, because of their prowess. They were usually caught at an early age, trained, inspired and worked hard to become outstanding in their field.
Similarly, each of us has the hidden potential , capacity given by God, of becoming excellent, outstanding, strong, competent in so many areas. Yet, unless we receive training and discipline, inspiration and practice, none of us usually reach our God-given potential.
So, resisting training is normal, but the trained child will indeed become strong and healthy. God in his wisdom, designed mamas to be the life, heart and soul-coaches, the ones who would hold up the bar of Biblical ideals, train and instruct towards those ideals and then draw out the God-giving potential that rests in each of our children and in us, to bring about excellence of character and strength of spirit and grace in relationships.
Now, my children thank me for the training and the high ideals and all that we did to build in their souls the most excellent ways we could imagine. They are so very proud of their heritage of training and holding the bar high. (One of my kids is famous for yelling in an exasperated way, "The Clarksons have the highest standards of anyone in the whole world!" To which I replied, "And you are a Clarkson!"
Always I didn't think I was doing enough, or doing it the right way--because my children persisted in behaving like immature children! (Aren't children supposed to behave like children? :)) and yet I strained with all of my power to draw them to ideals.
The sunrise recently in Monument, Co, where I live.
"The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn which shines brighter and brighter until the full day. "Proverbs 4:18
But now I understand so much better, that excellence in character is a very long term process. It is a long path, which shines, little by little, like the sun peaking barely over the horizon out of darkness, slowly becoming a speck of light creeping over the night remains, and then, and slowly, eventually, becomings a sunrise of character, shining like a glorious expanse of golden light sweeping across the sky. What a reflection of character Solomon gave to us--a pathway that shines bright in the end.
And so, righteousness is a slow growing power inside of our children, formed by days, weeks, years of training in righteousness, love, beauty, joy.
All children to some degree or another (some are much more difficult and challenging) resist the training, as our own muscles rebel against demanding exercise when we are not accustomed to it--yet, this is the process of strength building--resistance and exercise.
Another side-blessing was that in taking responsibility for their souls, and seeking what was excellent for them, I became stronger, more mature and more excellent in the process--oh that God! He has His sneaky ways! And in the end, submitting to His training by requiring me to train my sweet ones, I end up becoming stronger and more the person I always wanted to grow into, also, little by little.
So, today, take a deep breath, lean into the whole miraculous process and enjoy the way. Reach high, over and over again. Don't take yourself and your guilty moments too seriously, persevere and you will see the wisdom of God flourishing in and through your own home.
You are doing a great job--it just doesn't always feel like it!
A great gift for Christmas for you and your Mama friends! A vision for training your children to have godly character! Order Here.