Before kids I had all the answers. You see the kid in the store throwing the tantrum and think, "That parent has done a terrible job training her child. I would never let my child get away with that behavior." Then you birth the child and realize how little control you actually have. They have their own personality, their own gifts, their own preferences, their own idols. The good, the precious, and the downright ugly.
You reflect on all the ideals you had before you had kids. All the ways in which you would train them - all the scripture they would memorize, all the healthy foods they would eat, all the methods of discipline that would train them to be good citizens and make them polite to other humans. Then you begin trying these methods out. The battle begins. The spiritual warfare wages heavily in your heart and in your home. And you think, "nothing I do seems to work; where are the results that I was promised in all the books?"
Nothing has challenged my faith more than having three thriving boys who push the boundaries of everything from grace to gravity. Nothing. Ask me 10 years ago if I believe the promises in the Bible, I would have responded, "Absolutely!" Ask me now whether or not I believe the promises in the Bible, I will tell you, "I hope they're true...they're all I've got!"
Nothing brings me to my knees like walking by faith. And when I say "walking by faith" I do not mean to sound cliche like good Christianese....I mean walking completely in the dark, hands groping for anything tangible, except for light of the scripture before me, believing when it says, "if you strike him with a rod you save his soul from hell" or "train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." The results don't always show up right away. In fact, some results never show up until they are old.
I spent these past several days this week putting out "fires," resetting directions, disciplining, training, bandaging wounds, repeating my words ad nauseum...only to plop us all down in chairs for the "final countdown" - Mommy finally proverbially throwing her hands up and saying, "I've talked to you, disciplined you, done all I can to help you....what must I do to make you obey?" My eldest leaves the room and comes back with my Bible in hand and puts it on the table. He says, "This is all you need, Mom." He opens the Book and finds what he is looking for then reads, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1. That's all you need to tell us, Mom."
After I receive tender hugs and kisses and promises to obey, we high five and I thank him for reminding me...reminding my feeble memory of the fact that GOD is at work; that GOD is taking my limping efforts and my mere obedience and turning them into gold and silver in the hearts of my children. My job is simply to show up, be faithful to do the work He has prepared for me before the foundation of the earth, and trust HIM to work the results HE has ordained. I am His partner. Do I believe God is faithful to accomplish His work in me and my children? Do I believe the promises in His word? I believe. Now Father, help my unbelief. sdg