August 31, 2010

To Parent

An amazing thing just happened in the great room of my home, as the morning sunlight streamed in over the top of the mountain & trees into our windows.  To be a fly on the wall I would have witnessed both the humbling experience of God working through a mother and two children responding to the heart and character of Jesus as HE moved in them directly.

As a parent I genuinely try to not just continue the same pattern of parenting that I "think" or even "believe" that is good or necessary or right.  Not even to continue the positive forms of parenting that I learned from my mother or father just because it worked at the time.  Nor vow to never again continue the negative forms that I learned from the same sources.  I do not desire to be a parent that parents based on what was "right" or "wrong" with the way my mother and father parented myself or my younger sister.  Nor do I desire to be a parent that parents based on what is "right" or "wrong" with the way I perceive other individuals' parenting; arrogantly saying to myself or my spouse, "I would never do that with my children."  As all parents are able to plainly recognize and humbly state that we are not perfect parents and that we do not have everything figured out, there is still that sense of pride that says, "This is right, period, and this is what I am going to do," and even, "This is right, period, and this is what they should be doing."  Instead, why not allow God to undo us?  Undo our opinions, preconceived ideas, perception of situations, what psychology states, even what we think to be a biblical belief system on parenting.

Am I suggesting that we not observe, study, take notice of how others do or not do, consult books, or even advice?  Absolutely not.  They are 100 percent necessary.  But let us not so adhere to these things that are there to glean from, that they limit what God can do in our lives and in our childrens' lives as we learn to parent from His Father's heart.  To glean...to gather slowly and laboriously, bit by bit, so as not to pick up the tares along with the wheat, even though at first glance they appear to be the exact same thing.  It is a trying, sometimes exhausting thing to learn to separate the tares from the wheat as you parent, considering every individual child's personality, giftings, and needs. 

This morning both of our girls were sitting at the table drawing pictures, while I checked my personal and business email (and facebook), before beginning the day's schooling.  Abigail (almost 6) drew a picture of Selah (almost 3) riding a leopard as it was mid gaping stride across a grassy field, with trees, sky and sunshine to boot.  It was fabulous.  =D  Abigail, showing the picture to her younger sister, asked, "Do you see the leopard?"  Selah looked directly at it, slowly panned her gaze upwards towards Abigail's face, and with a mischievous grin sweeping across hers she said, "Nope."  This scenario then quickly repeated itself 3-4 additional times, with Selah's grin widening and Abigail's frustration growing with each occurrence.  Then it happened.  She popped the top of her hand good and hard and said, "Stop it!"  I sternly spoke Abigail's name and they both froze, realizing that I had witnessed the entire situation.  I asked Abigail to come stand in front of me.  Her walk was a slow one.  My mind raced as I tried to decide the best course of action.  I "knew" that I should discipline her for hitting her sister, and give Selah a good talking to about trying to upset her sister on purpose to be mean.  But her slow, nervous stride gave me some time.  Time to be still in my spirit.  I do not recall praying actual words, but I chose an attitude of heart that would have been well described with these: "Papa, undo me...lead me Spirit."  I discerned that Abigail's choice to hit Selah on the top of her hand was an attempt to discipline her.  I [tenderly] explained to Abigail the difference between being a mommy and a good big sister, and gave her an alternative to try out the next time Selah chooses to be irritating.  I told her that her "job" wasn't to discipline her little sisters but to encourage them to behave rightly.  I suggested that a better response next time would be to say, "Selah, I love you, please don't try to make me upset, that's not nice."  Abigail agreed that it sounded like a better idea.  Now, here is where the amazing part just blasted me in the face with the goodness of God.  Before I could say anything else, Selah, who had been listening to our conversation form the other side of the room, said sweetly, "Abigail? Would you please forgive me for...forgive me for..." her little mind was rolling trying to come up with the words.  "Would you please forgive me for...doing the bad thing...making mean at you?  I'm sorry."  Abigail left me, walked over to her and said, "I forgive you.  Ya know, you don't have to do that.  You can just be nice.  Please forgive me for popping your hand?"  Selah nodded with a smile.  Me, silent and speechless, sat and watched them both sit back in their chairs at the table and begin drawing and coloring once again.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that what I witnessed was the continuing draw unto His heart of children, Jesus Himself teaching them His character by the Spirit, and through His molding of my soul.  


God, please un-blind our eyes to see that You allow our spiritual character to be mirrored in our children's actions as they are too young to make spiritual choices for themselves.  Grant us grace in our discipline of them, knowing that it is as if we are disciplining our own spiritual actions in their physical beings.  Remind us that to discipline them in an unbiblical way will only provoke them to wrath as they see our spiritual inconsistency.  And give us peace & wisdom to know how to discipline their rebellious actions in the balance of your Truth, and courage to carry it out.


Undo me...

1 comment:

  1. Love this Rebecca. Hope you are doing well. Thanks for sharing this parenting experience, so I can learn as well. Love you. Hope Lillian will come out soon so she can meet her wonderful family. God is so good. Kathy Henry

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