The Heart Behind Discipline

Many things have surfaced in the time I’ve taken away from blogging. After almost “losing my mind”, social issues in particular surfaced that blew many people’s minds, regardless of race or faith. I thought this blog would present my views on those matters, but I realize not at this time. I don’t know why, but considering the plethora of emotions I felt with the news of a lawsuit stemming from a Michael Brown juror, what I want to share must be bathed more in prayer and Godly wisdom. I’m a woman of God who is an African American. I hope you can really see that; if not, that’s okay too.

SO… what exactly AM I going to talk about? Why nothing else than parenting and the ever so uncomfortable and often debated topic of discipline.

No, I won’t be talking about “to spank or not to spank” but moreso the actions and reason that lead us to that place of discipline… our hearts behind discipline.

As every parent knows, when you have your first child, you are given so much advice that is sometimes good and mostly not. One thing I’ve learned is yes, to be humble and hear what other new and veteran moms have to share but then, take EVERYTHING with a grain of salt or rather in prayer. I was given a lot of advice when our first bundle of joy was born, and unfortunately I followed some of it that proved oh so detrimental with consequences just blooming like deadly flowers now.  Since the fall of 2013, I have been studying and dividing the Bible on the roles of a five people: husband, father, wife, mother, and children.  This study has rocked my world as I have taken my life and set it beside the Bible and seen oh how flawed my raising of our first one was.

What I simply want to share with parents, specifically those who love Jesus, is that you must be patient with yourself and your child in disciplining them. With our first, I recognize now that I was stricter with him simply because my disciplined stemmed from me being impatient and selfish. I was focused on MY schedule, MY needs – what I wanted to get done.  If he wasn’t ready or learning fast enough or didn’t do something the way I wanted, he was disciplined.  Even in nursing him, I was focused on dancing and losing weight that I didn’t eat the way I should have or rest long after having him which in turn diminished my milk supply and had us spending money on formula I never needed to spend. God’s original design is flawless; I was just too selfish to do my part and impatient to make the real investment. But I’m grateful- we were able to feed him whereas others are not.

The revelation of my sinful, selfish heart hit me hard. With confessing to my husband and accountability sister, I then apologized to my son because of my heart.  Whether he understood it or not was irrelevant; I needed him to know mommy was wrong and sorry. I don’t always get it right still and find myself struggling with being “inconvenienced” but I lean more on the Spirit like never before.  He also knows that mommy will still get him though when he gets in trouble; there’s just a different approach to it all- there is love.

Proverbs 22:6 tells Godly parents to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  What I’ve come to realize is that if God’s word is INFALLIBLE and the child DOES depart from it, the training has been flawed and/or the parent is NOT showing them the RIGHT way he should go.  I want to show my sons God’s righteous ways, which includes His chastisement because He loves us. I want my sons, out of this, to produce and cultivate a healthy honor and fear of the Lord. First, I have to rightly reflect God’s love and chastisement.

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Disciplining a child has a lot to do with training because how I and my husband discipline our sons will be how they see and comprehend God’s discipline.  If I have not done so in love and wisdom, nothing is produced but an unhealthy and dishonoring fear of God and those in authority and a “works” salvation.  They will become individuals who irrationally fear authority, rebel because of resentment or compromise their salvation by obeying mommy and daddy more than what they know God has called them to do. Their relationship with God will not grow to its full potential because they will lean on and always ask themselves, “Am I doing this the right way or the way they think or want me to?” so as to evade possible confrontation or discipline. Their esteem won’t come from knowing who they are in Christ but whether or not they receive my approval based on what they do or don’t do. Perfect love cast out all fear. How do I know this? Because I am a product of such discipline and have just in the past few years realized my irrational fears and how much I have compromised my walk with Christ all because of an unhealthy and dishonorable fear of discipline that was not understood and given in love and wisdom. I’m ever so grateful because my mother’s transparency and prayer has helped me understand more about myself in this uncomfortable but oh so necessary journey.

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Many of you may agree with what I’m sharing; others will not… and I’m completely fine with that.  My desire is for God to daily instruct us as parents on how to appropriately discipline our children in a way that reveals how He disciplines us as His children- in patient and enduring love.  The most important job we have as parents is to introduce them to Jesus Christ and that begins with us.  With our oldest son, it is evident how my impatient and selfish discipline has affected him; I feel I am seeing and reaping the fruit of that now and I regret it. However, God has truly given me grace and an almost clean slate as I pray over him daily that my sins would not bear fruit in his actions or habits from here forward… that he would not repeat the things I have said and done. I’m ever so grateful to have the Word of God, a husband who is a praying/loving man of God, a transparent mother and then sisters in Christ who are willing to let me show my ugly, filthy heart and pray for me as a mother who wants to be what God desires and designed me to be…

To be a mother who loves her children and seeks to have God’s heart behind discipline.

**I share this video with every parent of one or more children and ask you to put it into perspective. What things are you doing or not doing as a believer that your child might duplicate now or in the future with their own children?

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