Monday, March 12, 2012

Shepherding My Children

 We've had a pretty rough week around here last week. There were some things that came out in one of our daughter's behavior that we had to deal with. Nothing too serious, but something we couldn't just let slide. And instead of her accepting her punishment and moving forward, she was stuck in a pit of self-pity and woe-is-me.  She'd been given some punishment at school (missed recesses) and we gave her some at home (grounded from the computer for 1 week). But she was not showing any brokenness over her behavior and so we had to take steps to put a little more pressure on her.

I told her if she continued to whine and moan about her life being miserable and how she hated her teacher (totally disrespectful) that she'd get more things taken away. She continued and so she was grounded from playing with friends for a week. It was a rough afternoon of talking to her, sharing scripture (Hebrews 12:11) and calmly, but firmly telling her how it would be if she continued down the road of self-pity and disrespect. At one point she was asking what else I could do to her, (because losing computer and friends was big) and I told her that I'd keep taking things away, like her books, toys, etc until all she had left in her room was her bed. She asked if I cared what people would think if I did that, and I said no. And that's the truth, I don't care what other people think, all I care about is that I'm shepherding the heart of my child, whatever it takes to get through to her heart. I care about what God thinks, since he's the one who has given me (and Erik) this task of raising our children to love and serve him.

Thankfully, it wasn't much later after that conversation that she broke down and apologized to me for being disrespectful and mean. After that she was like a whole different child. I hope that she's taken some things to heart about respect and repentance. 

a get well card L made for K a while back

But dealing with this situation has really re-instilled my convictions about how important this job of parenting is. I've been reading this book, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp. I've actually read it before when the girls were really young, but I decided that it would be worth reading again. It's a great reminder to me about how to deal with them at the heart level and to not just address their behavior. And that is a tough thing to do! Don't get me wrong, my kids are generally good kids, but "folly is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15) and God has commanded us to impress his commands onto our children and raise them up to love him. (Deut 6). That's a full time job! Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Raising my kids to see God's love and his plan for their life is seriously a full-time job, I'm to be doing it all.the.time. That can be overwhelming to me, but then I remember that I'm not in this job alone. Obviously, God is here and I've been blessed with an amazingly spiritual husband, but I also have the resource of a wonderful church family. Not only do I have some amazing women in my life who have been in my shoes before that can give me advice, but there are some wonderful examples for my girls' in the younger women in our church.

another side of that get well card. I love that they love each other!
A couple weeks ago we had the great opportunity to attend a wedding of a young couple in our church.   I was excited for my girls to see this wedding because it was going to be a celebration of how God intended relationships to be. This couple had dated/been engaged for a year or so and yet their first kiss would be as husband and wife. They had followed God's word and had remained pure through their whole dating/engagement.  It gave me goosebumps to watch that wedding, and to see the pure joy on the grooms face when he saw his bride for the first time. It was breathtaking. And I'm so excited that my girls can see great examples of purity and integrity like this in a world where those things are rare. I want my girls to be saved from the heartbreak and sorrow of the worldly way of dating. I've experienced the ugliness of what relationships outside of God's plan are like and I have every intention of raising my girls in a way to hopefully save them from that pain.

 I think parenting is probably the toughest job I'll ever have, but I love my girls so much, I wouldn't have it any other way and I'm grateful that God has entrusted these two wonderful girls to our care.

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