"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you"
Sunday September 23rd- I sat in our church- one wiggly 6 year old on my right, one whiny and over-tired 4 year old on my left. Having numerous behavior problems in the short time we had been in church and to say I felt "tender-hearted" that morning would be a flat out lie. Anxiety attack would be a more accurate description of how I felt.
Off the boys ran to children's church- Pastor Rod started his sermon- we read Ephesians 4:29-32 and are talking about how to be a good steward with our words. My heart, however is convicting me to be tender-hearted towards my boys. I sit next to my husband, letting the message sink in, scribbling notes, following along... One note written at the top of my page is "Am I tender-hearted or hard-hearted in what God has called me to do right now? At home with my kids?"
You see- parenting isn't easy. (I'll pause for a moment so you can let out your shocked gasp) Actually, anyone with kids knows all too well the challenges that go hand in hand with raising them just in the day in and day out activities. Breaking up sibling fights- teaching about kind words, obeying what mom and dad say, how to be responsible with their own things, how to clean up after themselves. Working with them on how to handle emotions they are faced with- especially hot headed little tempers. Doing our very best to shepherd their little hearts to know Christ on a deeper level. For me- it seems that all too often I struggle with building up a wall of resentment towards my own little boys. I get weighed down with the struggles we have and don't offer grace along with the discipline. Not that I think that as parents we can turn the other way when it's obvious that we need to step in and help them make better choices- direct them and their behavior and help them grow to be respectful of others. In fact- it's very important that we take our time to really instill all of these characteristics in their hearts while we have this awesome opportunity raising them.
But I realized that morning, sitting in our church how much I have really fallen short with allowing that resentment to build up- not forgiving them and moving forward with our day the way that we could. Kind-of holding their sin against them. How dare I do that? After all- Christ shed His precious blood to cover that sin that they are struggling with- who do I think I am, that I can be slow to forgive? I am humbly taking this to heart and thinking of all the times Christ poured His perfect grace down on me- for my own struggles with sin and how we as Christians are called to do the same. I am called to forgive my boys- and move on. Period. I feel overwhelmingly convicted to pray about this and really allow Christ to take me, as a mom, to a deeper level of parenting. I am tempted to be overwhelmed, to feel defeated on some days or to take the easy route. However, that isn't the only option for me. I can instead choose to rely on Christ to fully give me the strength to do this well and to change the areas that can be improved upon. It is wrong of me to hold onto their mistakes and have a bitter hard-heart towards them.
That being said- His grace covers my own shortcomings and it's with sincere gratitude that I am soaking it up this afternoon and praying for a teachable heart, that through His perfect parenting He can teach me, His child, how to be more tender-hearted towards my own little boys.