God is teaching me perseverance. He is reminding me it's not about me, it's about Him. He is reminding me to fix my eyes on Him and continually find my idenity in Him, not in my performance as a mom.
2am till 4am.
Defiantly my 2 year old throws himself out of bed grabbing his trains and throwing them across the room screaming and yelling. I discipline him and put him back to bed telling him not to get out of bed. Repeat for 2 hours.
Exhausted, weary, discouraged. A strong-willed child causes you to rethink everything you thought you knew about parenting and about yourself. It brings insecurities where there was none before.
A few hours of sleep, the day starts and the mail comes. I get surprise books from someone about how to be a good wife and mother. (Makes me think they think I'm not one.) At naptime, I briefly pick up the parenting book. It starts out, “While we tried to sit and talk, the children were constantly running in and out of doors, complaining of ill treatment from the others, begging to go or stay or eat, or demanding a tory that another child would not relinquish. The mother had to continually jump up and rescue some breakable object. She said, “No,” six hundred sixty-six times in the space of two hours. She spanked each child two or three times…”
Then this family is compared to “another mother walked into my house with her little ones and sat down to talk. She said to the, “Go out in the sunroom and play, and don’t bother Mama unless you need something” For the next two hours we were not even aware the children were present-except when a little one came in holding herself saying, “Pee-pee, Mama.” They played together well, resolved their own conflicts, and didn’t expect attention when one of the girls turned the rocking horse over and got a knot on her head… This mother did not spank her children while at my house, and she did not rebuke them. She looked rested… This young mother said to me, “My children want to please me. They try so hard to do everything I say. We have such fun together.”
Authors conclusion…”by the grace of God and through the simple, Biblical principles found in these pages, with determination and an open heart, this mother has trained up children that bring her joy and honor.”
I burst into tears. I hear, “if you just did what the Bible said with determination, your kids would be perfect.” I get self-righteously angry, “you discipline a child for 2 hours in the middle of the night and tell me I’m not determined enough!” Followed by intense insecurity, “I must really be an awful mom.”
The moms of strong-willed kids are probably nodding with encouragement their heads with hearts full of compassion. The ones without strong-willed kids are thinking, “What? That sounds totally right to me.”
To mothers of strong-willed kids:
You’re not alone. You are right when you think you can’t do this, but God can and He will. He will come through for you. He will show His grace to be sufficient when you need it, not before then. He will empower you by His Spirit. He will make you able. Remember to not compare yourself to other moms and compare your kids to other kids. God wants to reveal His heart, His character through you and the kids He gave you. Look to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Remember there is hope. He will always come through for us, He will never leave or abandon us. As iron sharpens iron, you are being sharpened, being made more effective. You are developing perseverance. And remember not to fix your eyes on the results… how your child turns out. That is not up to you. All we can do is take initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results up to God. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Ultimately it is not about you or your child. It is about God and whatever you do, do with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men. (Col. 3:23)
To mothers/people without strong-willed kids:
When you see kids that seem out of control. Please don’t assume the parents aren’t consistent in disciplining them. The most hurtful thing you could do is give your unsolicited parenting advice without understanding them. Instead, ask lots of questions and listen, trying to understand. Find out what their parenting style is and how they discipline and why they’ve chosen that way before giving advice. The mother of a strong-willed child needs you to remind them that God’s grace is sufficient, not that they need to be perfect. They need to be reminded to look to the cross, to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of faith. Reminded that He came to serve and not be served, that He gave up His life, that died to Himself and the result was life and that they get to be pictures/reflections/representations of His heart. They need to be reminded that no discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful, but later on it will produce a fruit of righteousness by those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:11) They need someone in their life that understands, affirms and cheers them on. They are fighting not only the battle of wills with their child/children, they are fighting the mental battle of feeling like an awful parent and hear on a regular basis how they just need to __________. They need you to come along side of them and lovingly wrap your arms around them, telling them Jesus is enough.
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