A few weeks ago we went on holiday for a few days. We were blessed to be able to stay at a fully serviced hotel. This meant a break from cooking/cleaning/tidying and general things one might have been doing if one was at home! One of the days at the hotel, my husband and younger daughter had a nap. I got to spend time with my older daughter, playing mini golf and exploring the hotel’s playground.
We had a great time together – lots of running and playing and laughter. And there was some anger shown too. There was frustration at not being able to hit the mini golf ball up a particularly steep hill on the 18th green. There was a mini golf club being hit on the ground, and some disobeying and ignoring of instructions. And there was a mom sitting on a park bench, praying, and then a girl, sitting next to a mom, praying.
My knee-jerk reaction when my child disobeys, most of the time, is to discipline sternly. Lately, I have been asking God to show me whether my heart is right, and whether my motive for discipline is correct. Am I still guarding my child’s heart in the process? So there we sat on the park bench, and I talked to her about what the Bible says about being angry. God knows we get angry sometimes, but that we are not to sin because we are angry. And my daughter let me pray and ask the Lord to speak to her about anger and frustration.
It made me realise again that striving to be perfect parents is not going to make our children perfect, any more than striving to obey every law that God ever made is going to bring us salvation! In my own strength I know that I can’t raise my daughters to obey God and their parents. I can’t raise them in my own strength to have secure identities and no scars on their hearts. But by the grace of God, and in submission to Him as the perfect parent, I can trust that they will grow up to know Him and receive His truth in their hearts. I trust my heavenly Father to give me wisdom as I raise them, and to give me trials to test my patience so that this wisdom will be produced in me (James 1)!
So every day (and usually more often than that) I need to stop trying to fix my children myself. I need to start humbling myself and submitting to a Father who is the only One who can teach my children truth in the inmost place..