“I try, Lord. I try so hard.I want to be good.You have to help me.I keep messing up,Why don’t you help me?”
You sweet little muffin. Don’t be so sad. You got a little spank because of a little mistake. I am so, so proud of you being my girl. I’m so glad that you’re sensitive, and affectionate, and obedient and hard working. I’m so glad that you want to be a good girl. I love you so much.I really think you’re growing up to be a wonderful girl.It’s just that it’s my job to help you get rid of some habits and sins that will mess with your life. While you’re young, it’s my job to keep an eye on you and help you to get out of those habits. I don’t do it perfectly. Sometimes I’m lazy, and I send you to bed instead of dealing with it. Sometimes I’m angry, and I’m not as patient as I could be. Sometimes I’m just human, and I don’t see when you’ve done something wrong.
But when you do something wrong- for instance, if you started lying all the time, it’s my job to help you, now, to change that- so that when you’re older, you don’t have that problem. Because being an adult with bad habits like that is so much harder to change.
The truth is, I know you want to be a good girl. But just wanting to be good doesn’t mean you’ll always be good. All your life, you will struggle with things inside of you that you have to clean out. When you’re little, I can help you see those things, and help you find ways to overcome them- like by spanking you.But when you’re older, you’ll have to find them yourself. And you’ll have to stop them yourself- and it’s a lot harder without spankings, without someone else helping you along.You know, when I was a teenager, I thought I was a pretty good girl. I was pretty patient, happy, helpful. I used to think about what it would be like when I grew up. I thought that when I was an adult I would be even MORE gentle and patient and good. But do you know what happened? God gave me Daddy. And when Daddy hurt my feelings, suddenly I was mean! And do you know what I thought? “Lord, I didn’t know I was mean inside!” And then a little later, God gave me three babies who didn’t sleep at night. And do you know what happened when I didn’t sleep? I was grumpy and yelled! And I thought, “Lord! I didn’t know there was anger inside me!”
But the Lord knew. You see, he knows what kind of sin is hiding inside of us, trying to take over our lives. And the older we get, the more he gives us things that bring it out. Things in life that make it a little bit harder to be good… Because what he really wants is for us to see those nasty things, and say, “Oh, Jesus. Thank you so much for cleaning this out of me!”We won’t actually be perfect until we get to heaven, and won’t that be a relief, to be free from all of this junk!Baby, I love you so so much. I’m so glad you’re my girl. I really want to be a good mama to you. Don’t be discouraged because you got a punishment. I know that you want to obey. I love you so, so much, and so does the Lord. And you’re growing up perfectly.
We talked about a lot more. She cried some, and asked some questions. I kissed her dirty cheeks a hundred times. But when it was over, I knew the Lord had used me to minister to her. Not just discipline- but blessing. And encouragement. And edification.
But this entry isn’t just about parenting.
When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.
He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.