I remember before I had kids, I would watch misbehaved children and think, “MY kids will NOT act that way.” I had many theories about discipline and raising kids. Now I have eight kids and no theories.
What I never factored into disciplining our kids was the deep love and attachment I would have for them. It never dawned on me that I would care if they liked me and I certainly didn’t plan that one minute they could turn my world upside down and make me crazy and the next minute become the cuddliest, cutest little human being EVER.
Two of our kids are married with babies of their own and our third is a senior in college. We still have 4 teens in the house and a 10 year old, and with that comes some perspective (not to be confused with having all the answers). They still sometimes turn my world upside down…and then win my heart back in a split second with a simple gesture. I never imagined I could get so frustrated and angry and still love so deeply. The wildest roller coaster can’t even begin to compare to this ride of raising kids.
In so many ways, I’m a very different mom than 24 years ago and, in hindsight, some of the hills I thought were worth dying on, weren’t. But the flip side is that I can see more clearly (than ever) the ones that are. I see the necessity for our kids to hear the truth about sin and our deep need for a Savior. I feel the urgency to make sure that I do everything I can to help them grasp the value of what Jesus did on the cross for us and understand how important it is to own their own relationship with Him. I want the Word of God to be what they filter EVERYTHING through: work, church, relationships, culture.
God says that our children are like arrows. In order for an arrow to to fly so it won’t veer off in the wrong direction, it needs to be “true”. “True” as in straight. God also says that these children are like arrows IN THE HANDS OF A WARRIOR and anyone who has been a mom knows that motherhood is NOT for the faint hearted. We are warriors…MOM WARRIORS. This means that we are in a battle, a battle with a very REAL enemy. He wants our children’s souls and we have to FIGHT for them.
Our kids come into this world helpless, but also as sinners who need a Savior. They are crooked and by the grace of God, we fight to straighten them so that when these arrows are released by our bow, they fly “true” and straight and fulfill the purposes to which God has called them. We do this through training and discipline. Disciplining them for their good, out of love for them, out of a desire to help them avoid foolishness, which God says will lead to destruction and, instead, point them toward wisdom, which He says leads to life and blessings.
So much of this is done by example, but above all it happens on our knees, because the truth is that the deep work that needs to happen in any of our hearts is only done by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately only HE can turn our hearts toward Him and straighten what is crooked.
No greater battles are fought than from the humble position of prayer, asking for God’s grace and mercy on our kids’ lives and for wisdom to raise “true” arrows.