03 January 2014

Beginning to "get it".

There's this thing that God's been teaching me. Slowly. Bit by bit.  He keeps showing me, and I keep trying to take it in. And each time I get a little bit more of it into my heart, and a little bit less of my old ways remain.  It's honor. Jesus' love. And how that changes everything between a parent and a child.

I have this five-year-old, who I call Ribbit. He's bouncy and fun, hilarious in his speech (an early adopter of his older siblings' jargon), and launching himself rapidly into a new level of social interaction. But he has also started saying things like "You can't boss me around!" and "I don't have to do what you tell me to!" complete with folded arms and a teen-worthy glower.

Sometimes, I still play out my own scripting, getting stern and authoritarian, and I insist in my best "I'm your mom and you'll do what I say voice", and he usually complies. Grudgingly. Disrespectfully. Angrily. And I accept it, because the next step is corporal punishment, and I'm just not willing to go there.

But sometimes . . . sometimes . . . I take a step back emotionally, give myself room to take a few really deep breaths, and give God space to come in.  I turn my mind to Him, and He never lets me down. He tells me what to say, how to explain to Ribbit what I'm asking, and why it's really important to our family for him to lend a hand. Why he's an integral part of our family's success, and how much we really do need him. And sometimes, I'm told to explain to him that it really does hurt my heart when he behaves that way.

It's not a quick fix . . . this is slow going, and I still haven't figured out where all of the plain 'ol garden variety of hate is coming from. But as I let God lead me through each conflict, I love my son more and more, and I see our connection growing through this, instead of weakening. 

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!