With three children under the age of 5 most of my day is spent instructing, disciplining, and redirecting. If I am not sweeping crumbs, wiping mouths, or changing diapers, I am disciplining. It’s a never ending task. Much like the laundry…sigh.
My oldest son, who was four at the time of this occurrence, is my discipline challenge. He is full of life and enthusiasm. He is determined, eager and adventurous. He is also stubborn, impulsive, and hot-tempered – easily frustrated when he doesn’t get it right the first time.
Recently as I was preparing dinner, waiting for my husband to arrive home from work and trying to keep the kids occupied during the “witching hour” – that time between late afternoon and when your husband finally walks in the door – my son needed my attention. Because I was cooking, I was not able to give him what he wanted and in an outburst of anger he screamed and told me “I don’t love you mom! I wish you would go away! I wish you would go to jail!” Okay, I told myself, trying to calm my nerves as tensions mounted - dinner simmered, the twins running through the kitchen playing chase, and now my son was screaming at me. I have several options. I can either run away and leave – go get in the van and head to Starbucks for a latte thinking “that will show him! He will miss me when I am gone.” (I seriously considered it for about two minutes). Or, I can handle the situation. In that very moment, The Lord reminded me of Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
So I stopped what I was doing and walked over to my son and sat on my knees so that we were eye to eye. In a firm but gentle tone looked him right in the eye and told him that no matter how much he wanted me to leave or go away, I would never leave him. I would never forsake him. I would always be here for him no matter what! I explained to him that God created us for one another. God created me to be his mom and he created Xan to be my son. As people who love and obey God, we are to be like Him. I was reminded that I am Jesus with skin on to my son. I am his example. I watched his face soften and his eyes fill with remorse as his four year old body fell into mine and I held him on my lap for a few minutes cradling him like a baby knowing that these moments will be fewer and farther between as he gets older and grows larger. But for now, we enjoyed the moment of discipline. A chance to reconnect and the opportunity for me to express my love to him.
This is exactly what God does with us in our moments of discipline. He reminds us of who He is and we are reconnected to Him as He expresses His love for us.
If it were not for the prompting of God’s word and His reminder of how He loves me as my Heavenly Father and for His example in my own life, I would have been at Starbucks drinking my latte. Thank you Lord for speaking to my heart in that moment and showing me the way.