May 1st, 2013 by Kristi Stephens
The day had not started well.
Daddy was away for work, Mom wasn’t feeling terribly well, the schedule was full, the kids were tired. It had all the makings of an epic and disastrous day.
Five-year-old LB and I had had several “rounds” before breakfast. And at breakfast. And then I heard the quiet aside to his sister, “Mom is always bossing us around.”
Oh, dear. Ever have one of those parenting moments when you thought that steam might literally be pouring out of your ears? Yep.
I sent him upstairs, mostly so I could collect my thoughts. And pray.
Because honestly, I am not, deep down, the patient and wise mother I want to be. My words tumble out hot and irritated far too often. And so I claim absolutely no responsibility for what the Lord brought to mind: this was the perfect opportunity to live the Gospel.
I went in to talk with him. With the words only the Holy Spirit can whisper into an angry mother’s heart!
“You said that you didn’t want me bossing you around.
Can you think of anyone in the Bible who didn’t want God bossing them around?”
He mumbled their names almost inaudibly as I walked Him through the Bible.
Adam and Eve.
The people in Noah’s day.
The people building the tower of Babel.
“Who, before any of them, really didn’t want God to be the boss?”
The whisper sank lower. “Satan.”
“Who have you been acting like, when you choose to defy Mom and refuse to follow her?”
“All those guys.”
“Yes, buddy. What happens when we sin against God and rebel against Him? It breaks our relationship. What happened because Adam and Eve refused to trust and obey God?”
“They had to leave the garden.”
“That’s right. Their relationship with God was broken. They couldn’t walk with Him anymore. They wanted to be their own boss, and it broke everything.”
And so… LB stayed in the guest room for a while that morning. I told him he could be his own boss in that room – do whatever he wanted. But he could not come out and join the family until he was willing to repair our relationship and submit to my leadership.
Eventually we talked further. He had to confess verbally to me what he had done and ask for forgiveness.
We talked about 1 John 1:9 and what it means to confess our sin to God. We talked about what it means to have Jesus as our King and to choose to obey Him, to submit ourselves to His rightful rule in our lives. We prayed together and hugged and started fresh.
I would love to say the rest of the day unfolded beautifully. It didn’t, including an incident with water all over the bathroom ceiling and walls. *ahem.* But even then, it gave us a chance to walk through the Gospel once again – you have chosen to disobey, to go your own way. The relationship is damaged. Forgiveness is available, when we come with true sorrow over our sin.
I write this simply as an encouragement to my fellow moms in the trenches -
Motherhood is hard and completely draining. I find it far easier to nag, lecture, and lose my temper than I do to intentionally disciple my kids.
But when we soak our own minds in the hearts in the Gospel, when we come empty and ask for Him to enable us, to cause us to use the daily opportunities that the daunting task of constant discipline provides us… He will give us wisdom to teach little hearts to love Him as Savior and fear Him as Lord.
Father, teach us to cling to the Gospel. Even in time-out.