Call it the moon. Or hormones. Or the careful alignment of planetary bodies in a pattern that waxes or wans. Whatever it is…I’m exhausted.
I’m talking about that very interesting phenomenon of children (arguably adults too) to go through periods of needing constant discipline or almost none. Parents, you know what I’m talking about. It’s those blissful weeks where arguments are few, the kids listen the first time, and conversation at the dinner table is light and lovely. It’s a Hallmark card photo opp. And then its gone in a puff of smoke! Everyone is grouchy, no one can talk without an attitude and if there’s talk at the dinner table it’s threats of discipline over not eating while Mom cries over her labor in the corner.
Sigh. Unfortunately, I rarely notice the beautiful behavior in my children when it happens…just when it’s replaced by the not so beautiful. We are currently in the “not so beautiful” and trying to stay on top of both outward actions needing discipline and inward heart problems needing the gospel of grace has me fair worn out. Yet, this is the call parents have in raising our children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”(Eph 6:4). The two-fold battle of not only disciplining the behavior, but endeavoring to bring the gospel to bear on the heart issues causing the behavior. And for my 4-year-old it looks very different from my 8-year-old since there is more understanding in her about what she is feeling. And sometimes, I admit, I ignore the heart aspect. Sometimes, my own heart is so rooted in sinfulness that I have to deal with my own before I can theirs. And sometimes, it’s just laziness and an unwillingness to do what is hard or difficult.
I currently have all three of my wonderful kids going through a time of waning obedience and waxing disobedience. And I know that we had a very long period of obedience prior to it. And even in that obedient stage, God was very gracious to give me several times of sharing the gospel with my son, Isaac, as he has started struggling with I’m not good enough. And no, he’s not. Neither am I. In fact, no one is. It’s the beauty of the gospel that I can hug my son and tell him he doesn’t have to be perfect. Someone was perfect for him. Someone paid for his imperfections. And should he choose it, Someone will cover him with righteousness.
So, keep on with the good fight. As parents, we are given such a short window or opportunity, but such a deep one, in helping our children understand the gospel. And hold fast to the hope and assurance, that He has covered your own imperfections and sin even as you fall short in the task. His grace is sufficient.