Today my dear friend came over. She has three daughters who are delightful. Her oldest is passionate and intense, and the most spiritually sensitive child I have ever seen. She also has a temper. Kay and I have talked about discipline and parenting as long as we’ve known each other. I know Kay’s heart is to search the Lord (with the same passion as her daughter) and his Word, and she’s a fantastic mom.
Today, E. thew a major fit, a throw yourself on the floor kind of fit. You could hear her screaming from all ends of the house. We cut the visit short, packed some sandwiches for the trip home, and Kay brought her girls one by one to the car. E. begged to stay, told her mom that she was ready to obey, but Kelly simply told her that it was too late to change the consequences of her actions.
In the quiet, before my children and I ate, we prayed for E. I prayed that God would help her obey and choose to do right. I prayed for her mommy to have wisdom as she helped her daughter. And I prayed for us, that we would have the humility to recognize that we struggle with anger, too. I explained that throwing a fit is bad, but so is holding a grudge, or taking revenge “quietly.”
I want them to understand some things.
- First, that we pray for our friends.
- Second, that we all struggle to do right. I don’t want them pridefully thinking about others failures without soberly examining their own lives. Come to think of it, I probably should have talked about the gospel and what it means in terms of sin, but I didn’t. Maybe we’ll talk about that soon.
- Third, that outward sins are sometimes shocking, but inward sins are just as bad. Again, I don’t want them to get into the comparing trap.
- Fourth, as I told Kay, I don’t have advice to give her. They’re not my children, and I truly don’t have the answers for her, but I believe God does. He’s promised to guide her, and I believe that He will, as she passionately seeks Him. I’ve seen too often mothers frustrated, but not willing to spend time in God’s Word. That’s convicting to me, and I need to practice what I preach. I need humility too, because my kids will probably be the next ones embarrassing me. I need to remember that well-behaved children are not the same as regenerate children.
When all is said and done, we all will look back and say that anything good in our children’s lives comes as a result of God’s mercy and grace, not our might and strength. Today was a good, soul searching day for this reason.