Saturday, May 21, 2011

Being tough is tough

Today has been one of those spring/summer days that one can only wish for.  I slept until I woke up, no alarm clock (ok, maybe my cell phone rang, but I was still well-rested).  I read my Bible, working through a couple of days of Breaking Free and No Other Gods.  I did a Zumba video for almost an hour and walked for another hour, sweating and smelling nasty but feeling all the better for it.  I lounged in the bathtub until the water got cold, then played cars with my boy until I was confused about which car was going where.  I put on my cut-offs and my flip-flops, and lounged by the pool watching Caleb splash and reading my Kindle.  One of the things that Rachel Olsen talked about in her book It's No Secret is taking one day and making it a Sabbath rest day, and while this wasn't Sunday, it has definitely been a day of rest.  Until about 530. 

At 530, Caleb was playing on the computer.  His aunt Holly told him he needed to get off so she could do some work, promising to let him back on in thirty minutes.  Caleb just kept pushing his limits, until he was in a full-fledged screaming fit.  Tears and all streaming down his face.  I got mad, he got madder, and it ended with me escorting him back to our house, him crying the whole time.  And after we had both cooled down, I got to thinking.  1. I handled this all out battle much better than what I used to.  I think I only raised my voice a couple of times.  I was firm but not hard-headed and I ended it by getting on his level and hugging him and telling him I loved him, which brought about more, "I'm sorry, Mommy" tears.  So, as I'm patting myself on the back for being the better Mommy, I realized something.  Parenting is hard.  Sticking to your guns is hard.  What is even harder is doing it while you are under control and showing them how much you love them, especially when they pull the ol' "If you loved me, then..." or "You'd let me do that if you loved me." It's hard to reason with an impulsive eight year old whose only concern is what is fun.  And what really hit me then is this: how much am I like that eight year old?  If God is my Father, and I am a child of God, have I always been obedient?  How many times do I push my limits?  Parenting must be hard for Him too.  He has to make hard decisions for us.  Proverbs 3:12, The Message, says, "But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction.
It's the child he loves that God corrects;  a father's delight is behind all this."
This message is echoed in Hebrews 12:6.  We are adopted into His kingdom, and given an inheritance, meaning He is our Father, so we can cry ABBA, Father... Daddy =) He showed this ultimate parental love by sending His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins, so that we can be in relationship with Him, forever.  So as hard as it is to be a good parent for me, I must remember that in those impulsive, 8 year old moments, I am just as impulsive as a child.  But He loves me regardless, just like I love Caleb.  And tough love, while serving to correct, also must demonstrate acceptance.  Lord, let me do just that.  Help me demonstrate those fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Now, I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my restful day, playing Lightning Mcqueen and loving my boy =)

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