One of my children is very strong willed. I truly love her spunk and she is a delightful joy at times. Other times, however, she really tries my patience. After a particularly difficult few weeks with this child, I spent time silently pouring my heart out to God in prayer.
I asked God to show me where I need to improve. To show me how to mother this child, how to properly train her so she can learn to use her strong will for amazing things.
I know that giving in to her fits isn’t showing real love. And I know that growing frustrated with her childish self-centered tendencies isn’t displaying real love either.
So I asked God to help me see how I can love her the way He wants me to love her.
The answers to my heart’s cries humbled me:
Bring her to the cross. Don’t be afraid to show her brokenness.
Resist the desire to shield her heart from bleeding for others.
Don’t make life too easy for her.
As a parent, I desperately want life to be easy for my kids. But even more than I want them to have an easy life, I want them feel their need for Jesus.
- She needs to forgive: “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy.” Matthew 5:7
- She’s thinking about disobeying: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
- It’s time to work: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:17
- Sharing feels difficult: “And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:31
- She’s tempted to create drama: “Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
- It’s time for Bible study and prayer: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
- It’s time to rest: “Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalm 46:10
- She gets older and needs to work through dealing with a particularly difficult person: “[Jesus said] But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44
Whether her actions display beauty or ugliness in her heart, I can remind her that:
“Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
“Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.” Proverbs 29:17
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
“[The virtuous woman’s] children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.'” Proverbs 31:28-29
I’ve also discovered that as I strive to show Jesus to my children, their hearts aren’t the only ones changing.
When I sit at the foot of the cross, with my eyes and hands wide open my heart changes too.