Since I started the 21 Days of Prayer for Sons challenge again on Wednesday, this week has been mega interesting. After a few really good weeks with only a couple instances here and there needing discipline, we had full-on war Thursday and Friday.
I was tempted to be discouraged. To throw up my hands and yell “Why?!”. But then I stopped for a moment. I’m also doing the Ministry of Motherhood study, and it has been teaching me a LOT about offering LOVE and GRACE in situations with my children where I would normally just bark an order.
Grace vs. Discipline. How to balance it?! I almost always go to discipline first, even though I may have a feeling deep down they’re being silly and foolish. I talked this over with my hubby again yesterday. We nailed down the things that are DEFINITE need for discipline (lying, disobedience, rebellion) – all others are up to discretion in the moment.
But in that moment, how do I decide whether to yell “Don’t do that!” or “Go to your room” or “That’s it mister!” or “Change your attitude!” or discipline or take the time to find out what is really going on.
It’s hard. But I’m learning. God has been gracious. He has filled me with so much of HIS love and grace for my children that I have been able to face, well, about HALF of the situations head-on with prayer and patience.
Yesterday, Will (my 6 year old) was playing wii with his brother. Jay kept losing and he was being really good about it, so I asked for his controller to try to win FOR him. Well, I did win.
But when he lost, Will LOST IT. He threw a major tempter tantrum, hyper-ventilating, crying, threw the controller. I sent him out of the room – but where I would normally have just left him to cry and calm down on his own, I followed.
I sat with that boy and spoke quietly, praying silently over him and for wisdom how to handle it. I could SEE the struggle going on inside of him as he knew he was wrong and needed to calm down, but just couldn’t. We sat. He cried. He snuggled. Drew back and cried some more. Insisted his attitude had changed, but I could see it hadn’t (he just wanted to get back to the game). Then he prayed. He confessed his sin, asked forgiveness, and asked the Lord’s help to be a good sport.
Finally, after a few more minutes, I felt he was calm enough to return to the game. He did, and he lost again. But this time, he encouraged his brother, saying “Good job playing, Jay!”.
I am encouraged. I know we’re not done yet. But we’re starting. And the enemy is going to wage war on us again. I can’t do it on my own. I need God’s love and grace in MY life first before I can give it to my children. But I’m ready for battle. Are you?