That happened to me a few weeks ago and the passage of scripture has not left my mind. It was so convicting, showing me a big area of my life that I need to change.
The passage is 2 Timothy 4: 1-2 (NIV)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
The part that smacked me in the face is the last six words:
WITH GREAT PATIENCE AND CAREFUL INSTRUCTION
the Amplified Bible says: being unflagging and inexhaustible in patience and teaching.
As a homeschooling mom I have many opportunities during the day to correct, rebuke, and encourage my children. These verses made me pause and consider if I am doing these things biblically.
- Am I using the Word of God to show them the folly of their ways or am I just barking orders at them.
- Are my expectations of their behaviour based on biblical principles or do I just want them to "behave" for my convenience or so I won't look bad as a parent.
- And most of all, am I doing this with GREAT PATIENCE...inexhaustible patience?
Ouch! I didn't like my answers to those questions but all I could think was "Is inexhaustible patience even possible with 3.5 kids?! "
This morning I was reading a devotional I receive each day via email... it was on the same topic (isn't that how God works :) You can read the whole text here but this is a little part of that email that reinforced what God was speaking to me about:
Patience is more than a virtue. It is a fruit of the spirit that must be developed in our children's character (Galatians 5:22). As we teach our children to discipline their selfish emotions, they learn to wait on God and trust Him for all their needs. However, leading our children through this growing process requires a patience of its own. As homeschooling parents, we may find ourselves failing to demonstrate the very patience we are attempting to instill. What about you? Are you speaking crossly, acting perturbed, or responding negatively to your child's request for help during the day? Homeschooling requires an intense amount of love and patience that only comes from walking with the Lord.
Just like my kids, I am a work in progress. I MUST depend on God for the patience I need as I carefully instruct my kids... it is when I try to do it in my own strength that things go awry. I must practice what I preach to them... they are more likely to follow my example than to listen to my words only... for their sake as well as mine, I have to get it right. It won't be easy and I know I will have good days and bad days but with God all things are possible. He has entrusted me with these little lambs... He will help me to lead them. Thank God for his grace and mercy!
A quote I read recently by Fredrick Douglass has also made me think of how I am influencing my kids and helping to shape them...
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."What about you... what has God "smacked you in the face with lately?" Accept His correction, rebuke and encouragement and ask Him to show you how to change.
One day I hopefully look at my grown kids and know that the hard work and patience was worth it!
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6 (NIV)