parenting

Two Paths to Discipline

It’s a cold, icy February morning here. So cold and icy we had to turn our car around and head back home after a failed attempt to head to Mom’s group. So instead we’re here watching Cars, and I’m drinking hot coffee from a Santa mug. I’m just looking at my children as I often do. I wonder who they will be and how I can help them to be good, decent people. People that love the Lord, truly love Him and love His people. Because if I’m being honest I really struggle with discipline. I struggle with all the voices, articles and opinions on how best to raise my kids. I think if any loving parent is being honest they do too. So it’s something I pray about, like A LOT.

My prayer since they’ve been born is that God would give me wisdom to raise them in the way they should go. He has been so faithful to answer that prayer in His timing and in the sweetest ways. He uses His word, people, and conferences. I love the variety and uniqueness of His approach. The most recent that comes to mind happened last night.

Some nights when we’re not dead on our feet we bathe our kids and read them a story from “The Storybook Bible”. Last night it was the story of Noah. If you’re a christian you’ve heard that story a million times. Heck, if you’re not a Christian you most likely know that story. Anyways, God used that little book to speak to my heart, and Noah’s story took on a whole new meaning.

In terms of discipline, God shows us two paths to take with Noah’s story. The first path is the one I naturally go to most times unfortunately. Most of us do. The path of behavior modification. The path of wrath! I get so angry with my children’s behavior and choices. Much like God did, I crush my children’s spirit in my path of discipline. Scolding and reprimanding. Destroying them. Nothing left but devastation and regret after I’ve blazed my way down that path of destruction. At the end of that path what do we discover? In Noah’s story even after wiping the people completely from the earth with a devastating flood, aside from Noah’s family and some animals, the sin continues. It didn’t EVEN work. The same thing happens at my house. Tomorrow my children continue to choose and revert back to their old ways in spite of my discipline tactic much like the people in Noah’s story.

But wait…

Noah’s story doesn’t end there. There is a second path. God shows us the better way. The way that gets us the results we want. Changed hearts! Let me warn you though the second path is much harder. It will be painful and require effort and slowing way down to think and choose it. We will have to give up everything. Much like Jesus would later have to do. In the end of Noah’s story God puts a bow in the sky! It’s a promise to us that no longer will He chose the first path. Instead He goes the harder route, He takes the wrath upon Himself. Upon Jesus. He takes our place, the place of His children.

God was speaking to us as parents in this story. He was showing us that we have to do the same thing. We have to turn that bow on ourselves. I cannot change my children. I can modify their behavior, but it does not create lasting change. What I can do is let God change MY heart! I can follow His example of grace and mercy to the death. The death of myself. The death of my dreams for my kids. The death of my sinful and selfish reactions to their behavior and ugly, sinful hearts. The death of my will against theirs. My children are worth that price especially with the promised outcome of a new heart that Jesus provides. God showed us we worth dying for and now we have to show that to our babies.

I pray that we would do the hard thing as parents. I pray we would love our children as God showed us so beautifully in Noah’s story. Learning that the path of wrath and crushing spirits doesn’t produce a changed heart. I pray we would be humble enough to promise our children we’re going to turn that bow on our own wicked hearts and choose the second path. I pray we would try our best to love them with grace and mercy right into the arms of Jesus. The one who looks on at our wicked hearts and still decides that we are worthy enough TO DIE FOR. ❤️

Cypress and Colby in front of that BEAUTIFUL promise from God 🌈

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