During Holy Week, When Children are Anything but “Holy”…

I go get her up from nap.

I’m all smiles, she is not.

I ask her to go use the bathroom before coming to kitchen and she does… she goes into the bathroom and urinates in her pants.

When I find her in there, standing in front of the toilet… wet… insolent… I am immediately irritated.

She’s done it to spite me, this child resistant to grace.

“Why did you do that?” I ask her, running on my irritation, leaving the Spirit behind.

She stares at me dark, hard, hostile. Silent.

I step out, overwhelmed by a sudden sense of my own foundations. I grew up in a home where religious parents were never pleased. I believed God was like that too. And I’m suddenly aware of the false god I just might be representing to her.

Of late, my prayer has increasingly become, “Lord, show me how to parent this in a manner in keeping with Your character.”

All my life I reckon I’ve struggled with understanding God. Perhaps I always will… at least now I’m aware of the struggle. In a world of jarred chords and evil strains, I’m letting the CROSS be my middle C.

I leave her in the bathroom to finish while I go outside, pick up toys before I mow. I hear from my Father. “Do you understand Me now?” He asks. “Do you know why I’ve forgiven, not according to your acts of righteousness? Do you understand it’s because of My name’s sake?”

There it is, a beam, and I follow it. Harsh judgment is deserved…but judgment never reflects the true nature and disposition of our God.

Words of displeasure, shame, condemnation, punishment…all of these we deserve for sinning against a Holy God. And He can and should dish them out, teach us a lesson we won’t forget….

Except that those things don’t reflect who He is at His core…gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness.

These things are His glory.

And He is pleased to reveal it to us.

It is in such stark contrast to the punitive version of God I was raised with. Yet for all His right and reason, He desired not to act in a way that our insolent rebellion begged for…but in a way that makes known His glory. So He “demonstrated His own love for us” and acted in a manner in keeping with His own character.

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:9-10

And in so doing, the true nature and character of God was revealed.

Could this be the root of our parenting questions, our consumption of resource after resource, our apathy for the lost, our search for “the something that’s missing?” This deep confusion regarding the true nature of God?

He is good. He is grace. He is love.

He invites me to bask in it, believe it, drink it, take it and live. Live!

And then He tells me something strong and clear. He tells me to reflect it.

“I’ve chosen you for this purpose,” He says, “and you are to honor Me as I am, as I reveal Myself to you.”

I cannot live the way I always have. With each flash of divine revelation into His true nature and character, I am to make lifestyle changes that are in keeping with His revealed nature. This is what it means to “hallow” His name.

I bend the knees to such a high and noble calling in life. To sanctify His name? To reflect His glory? To be His witness? Me??

I go back in to little girl sitting on toilet.

I hug her close. I look deep into her eyes, I stroke damp hair away from her face. I ignore the odor of urine.

With a heart full of the Glory, I show her God.

 

 

“Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

“And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the Name of the Lord before you…

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.” Exodus 33:18-19, 34:6

 

 

**I am working on a study of sorts to take my children through over the summer. It is learning and discussing the names of God and how we can allow a deepened understanding of Him to change our actions and behaviors.

Although I became a believer at a young age, I had to “start from scratch” as an adult in my understanding of God and I began by studying His names. After several years of study, and seeing it  affect my life profoundly, I deeply desire for my children to “hallow” His name, not just know a bunch of facts about God. This study will take my children through 10 major names, includes daily activities centered around the Name’s meaning, and practical application of the Name to our daily lives.

{Example: The name Elohim, Creator God, meets our deep need for significance, purpose, value, and intrinsic worth.}

I *hope* to share it here on the blog as we go. Please pray if you think of us? I sense the Spirit of God moving in this… You can join in by subscribing to this blog here.

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7 Comments on “During Holy Week, When Children are Anything but “Holy”…”

  1. Renee says:

    Children are a great way to humble us and also great reflection to help us grow closer to Him and learning so many lesson, indeed a great blessing, but with that said those blessings are always stretching us, we can choose to get closer to Him or sin, we always have a choice!

    thank you for taking time to share this with us all!

  2. Crystal says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I so needed to hear it! Here lately with my children it has been more of a battle than not. Many days (yesterday, in fact), I have ended the day feeling defeated and a failure. My struggle… how to show them His nature, His character when they are completely defiant. I can’t find a balance. There must be discipline, in many instances, right? I just feel stuck. But I will think & pray about His nature.. and that in all things I may reflect it.

  3. Kara says:

    Needed this post this morning…catching my breath before heading back upstairs to clean up a “little helper’s” unhelpful mess…

    (humming)
    “It’s Your kindness that leads me to repentance, O Lord…knowing that you love me, no matter what I do…makes me want to love you too.”

  4. Christin says:

    Oh. my.

    The more I read, the more I wonder: will I ever get it right?

    This is so true! Why as a mother do I default to trying to perfect my children? Where is my compassion and grace? Correction is needed, perfection is not mine to obtain. Christ perfects through His own righteousness–not through ours. Thank you, friend. 🙂

  5. […] During Holy Week, When Children are Anything but “Holy”… by Arabah Joy, at Arabah […]

  6. hippie4ever says:

    It is a constant struggle to disciple and not just discipline. I want to teach my son, but not strip him off who he is. I want him to reflect God and know that he is made for a wonderful purpose only God knows and I want to equip him for that.

    I hope the box checked at the bottom of this comment will end me emails from your site. I’d love to read your study on the names of God. Prayed for you already 🙂

  7. […] the dinner burns and the children screech and Little Bit rebels and I’m not sure how to parent and the pitcher breaks and the bills pile up…”Yes, Lord. And thank […]


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