This morning I was thinking about how refining it is to be a parent.
What is that song?
Holiness, holiness is what I long for,
Holiness, holiness is what I need
Holiness, holiness is what You want for me...
Holiness is not a comfortable, easy thing to attain. It's not like I'm just going to walk down a flowery, happy path and become holy. It's that I'm going to be tested by fire, by life and come through refined. Tested. I was tested yesterday as I'm chasing after Levi to get clothes on after a bath, tested with patience, that I wouldn't become angry and discipline him in anger. Testing as I am cleaning out diapers for my son. (I sort of feel like changing diapers is maybe the lowest form of servant hood in parenting. No one wants to do it, but it must be done, we must humble ourselves to that level and wipe the poo off of our child's bottom. It smells, it's disgusting, but it is necessary. I feel like it's one of the more ultimate day to day sacrifices... I'm just sayin')
I am tested as I'm trying to get Levi to eat healthy foods that he doesn't want to eat. Help me to be patient, not to raise my voice, not to get angry. To just keep telling him he has to eat it, and then when he flat out refuses we have to spank him. (side note here: Yes, we spank him. But I never want to spank him in anger, and we almost always pray afterwards and hug. I appreciate spankings because they don't drag out the punishment. It is quick, painful and then over. We get to move on with life. It has also been extremely effective with Levi, he has stopped throwing his food on the floor and spitting it out and he is eating his carrots and black beans all because we took the time to mindfully and consistently spank him and talk about what he did.)
Okay, wait, I'm going to go into the spanking thing a little further with this. I want to always make the spankings private and intentional. I'm not going to just haul off and whack my kid because he did something I didn't like at the moment. We spank when he directly disobeys. I will take him to his room or a bathroom if we are in public, or the car. some place where we will be alone. This is how I can show respect for him. I would not want to be punished in front of a huge crowd of people, so I'm not going to do that to my child and shame him. Then we always pray with him (this calms him down most of the time) and I tell him I love him and we hug. Then we move on. I'm especially thankful for the prayer afterwards because it directs my heart towards the Lord and it is an opportunity to just pray over my son, that he would come to know the Lord someday, that he would learn to obey authority, that the lesson would sink into his heart... it's an opportunity to thank God for my son and just love on him.
These moments of discipline are never convenient. They happen mostly when I am tired or busy or we are about to leave or he is strapped in his high chair... more testing in my own life. Patience gets magnified and learning times a hundred with children. You just thought you were a patient, loving person... and then you have kids. :) Kids teach you WHAT patience is. It is a beautiful, refining thing.
Lord, help me as I parent my children. Give me more patience, give me a heart for them and their betterment. I pray that they would come to know You and have a passion for You and Your Word. Help me to do what is necessary today in their lives as well as mine.