Before I had kids, I had a list longer than the state of North Carolina of things my kids would never do. Maybe you had one too? It went something like this:
- My kids will never appear in public dressed in half clothes and half pajamas.
- My kids will never traipse through the grocery store eating from a package that hasn’t been paid for yet.
- My kids will not throw tantrums in public.
- My kids will not pick their noses in public.
- My kids will not have dried crust under their noses. Ever.
- Et cetera
- Et cetera
It’s only taken two and a half years for (almost) everything on my list to fly out the window. (Yep, Ladybug has picked her nose, thrown tantrums, worn a mix of pajama and clothes, and usually has something crusted to her face.)
But I’ve made some realizations about my list too. You see, most of the things I desired for my children not to do mattered mostly to me that they not do them in public. Where other people could see them. And hear them. And cringe. And give me pity eyes. And go leave the grocery isle I’m on.
But there are deeper issues present than just misbehaving in the grocery store. She has a problem. A sin problem.
The past couple of days I have really struggled with Ladybug. She has been disobedient, disrespectful, defiant, and downright rude. It has taken a lot of prayer and self-control on my part to remind myself that deep down she is a sinner. My job as her mom is to help her see that her heart is sinful, and share with her that Christ is the only One who can redeem her from her sin. Not just to make her behave.
My biggest tool for correcting and training Ladybug– do you mind if I say “correct and train” instead of “discipline”? I feel like there is a certain connotation to “discipline” that might not quite convey what I am saying– is the Word of God.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction,
for training in righteousness;
so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)
One day recently as I was praying about parenting Ladybug, I read the above passage again, and as I continued on into chapter 4, I was exhorted to keep on keeping on:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction…
But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5)
All together I feel like this passage (2 Timothy 3:16- 4:5) is a great word for parents. Paul was not specifically writing to parents about their biological children, but for me this passage has been encouraging and challenging as I think and pray about my mothering. In this passage, I see that:
1. God’s Word is adequate for teaching, training, correcting, and rebuking our children so that they will be equipped.
2. We are charged to preach the Word to our children– in season and out of season. On good days and on bad days. When they’re sick and hungry. And happy and playful. And jealous and spiteful. And obedient and gracious. When we feel like it and when we don’t.
3. We are to parent with great patience, and always look for the teachable moments to instruct our children.
4. It’s going to be hard. And we need to endure it.
5. Parenting is our ministry.