This past week was a very difficult week. The daily battles of parenting have weighed heavy on me this week as I have witnessed behavior from my children that is the antithesis of what we teach at home. Mind you, all normal behavior for fallen human beings, but disturbing none the less. It was one of those weeks that I wondered if my children were getting ANY of the Christian values that we are teaching at home and whether or not they making a difference. We have entered into a new realm of parenting where with the older two where we are no longer trying to just correct behavior but also shining light on behavior that comes from sinful hearts. This, for me and many other people I know, is very difficult because while I want my children to understand what the Bible says about their human depravity, I also don't want them to grow up in a legalistic home where they are "Lorded" over with the Bible. There have been a lot of instances this week where I have been called mean and unfair, which I know comes with the territory of parenting. In trying to teach my children about their human depravity and need for a Savior every day of their lives, I am constantly reminded of my own depravity. I yell at them and find myself sitting camped out on their level and then not only asking for God's forgiveness but my children's forgiveness also. I have heard many times this week, "I just can't...be kind, hold my tongue, control my temper, get this scowl off my face"...whatever the case may be. And they are right, THEY can't. I am trying to teach them that in some cases, they will be successful on their own, but in many more cases they will have to pray and ask God for his strength and then be obedient to what they know is right, whether they feel like it or not.
Anyway, so after a difficult week, with a lot of time-outs spent in their rooms and several spankings, I saw a glimmer of hope that I might just be doing something right.
This morning on the way to church and then back home again Isabella was having a VERY difficult time saying anything nice to anyone, especially her little brother. She seemed determined to drive him into madness. We call that around here, "spewing your venom" and she was definitely doing just that. I did what any parent would do and I told her if she kept it up she was going to find herself in her room until her aunt's birthday party. She didn't stop so she had to go to her room when we got home.
The firs thing that surprised me was that when we got home I didn't have to tell he again to go to her room, she went on her own. After a few minutes I went into her room and sat down on her bed. Here is the conversation.
Me: "Isabella, I first want to tell you thank you for going to your room and not arguing with me."
Isabella: "Mom, I am sorry. I don't deserve to watch Nim's Island (which I was also contemplating as a consequence).
Me: You're right, you don't. But, because you admitted that you were wrong and obeyed me by going to your room, I am going to extend grace to you and let you watch Nim's Island."
Isabella: "Thank you, Mom. I love you."
WOW!! I was floored because that has NEVER happened before. I know, I know, It's not over yet, not by a long shot. But, at least there is hope.