I’ve been a parent for almost 13 years now; Mallarie is 12(1/2), Rylan is 10 and Trey is 7. This may sound crazy but we have to tell our children to brush their teeth every morning and every night. If we do not tell them, they will not do this simple task. Just because you put mint gum in your mouth does not mean your teeth are all of sudden clean. Anyway, my boys share a Jack and Jill bathroom and they each have their own sink. You would think this would alleviate some issues that come with two brothers sharing a sink. Here’s what happens many nights; I tell Rylan and Trey to go upstairs and put on their pj’s, brush their teeth and put any dirty clothes in their laundry basket. Same three things every night. Same three. Every night. What happens you ask? Well I hear them pound up the stairs like elephants, they start chasing one another, going into each other’s rooms and taking the other’s belongings, then there’s more running in the halls, doors slamming and eventually someone gets hurt. Same story. Every night. FOR THE LOVE…JUST BRUSH YOUR TEETH AND PUT ON YOUR PAJAMAS!!!! By now someone is usually crying or whining or limping and I don’t feel the least bit sorry for them. If they would simply do what I asked them to do then no one would have gotten hurt, toy broken, feelings hurt, etc. I of course inspect the situation, see if anyone is physically hurt, hand out the band-aids, make sure apologies are exchanged and once again ask them to do what I ORIGINALLY asked them to do. This time they usually go through the motions without any issues but unfortunately they might have lost out on a bedtime snack or being able to stay up and read for a bit before it’s lights out.
Here’s what I find myself saying, “If you would simply do what I asked you to do and not mess around, none of this would have happened.” And that’s the moment I think to myself, I’m pretty sure God has told me that a time or two or 12 this past week. How many of us know what we should be doing but we ignore that ONE THING and do what we want to do instead? And then we find ourselves hurt or in trouble and crying out to God wondering why we’re in this mess. Fortunately for us God is much more PATIENT and LOVING and MERCIFUL. Sure, He comes to my rescue, brushes me off and gently points me back in the direction I’m supposed to be going, but it’s not without some bruises. God didn’t give me those bruises, they happened because of my choices.
So back to my kids, I ask them to brush their teeth so they will be healthy and not offend people with their breath. I ask them to put on pajamas because it’s reaching that hour of the day that I switch from nice to mean! That happens at the stroke of 8pm. It’s to their benefit that these simple tasks are completed before I start to grow fangs, my voice changes and I’m hanging from the ceiling. After 8:30pm I simply have lost the ability to discipline in love and grace, reading you a story is out of the question and bedtime prayers are .5 seconds. It’s my goal to give my kids the BEST of me and not the worst. But with God, He’s always giving us His best. I don’t have to worry about Him being too tired to rush to my aid. That’s where our discipling differs. Let me ask you this; is there something you know God asked you to do and you’re ignoring it? Maybe you’re like me and you’ll do a million other “good” things but deep down that ONE THING you’re supposed to be doing won’t escape your mind and you wonder why you can’t sleep at night or things seem to be unraveling. Perhaps, God is patiently picking you up off the floor once more and whispering in your ear to do that one thing. That one thing that could unlock the door to all the other things He has for you this year. I don’t know what your “thing” is but here are some promptings I’ve ignored in the past: starting a blog, being disciplined to write, spending quality time with my kids, having a tough conversation with someone, seeking the advice of a counselor, praying that hard prayer, saying no to something I want so bad, saying yes to something that scares me, or choosing peace over anxious thoughts.
/Lord, I pray you help us to surrender our thoughts and plans to your thoughts and plans. You know us so much better than we know ourselves. You know what we need, what will unlock our true self and what will bring us more joy and peace than we can handle. Thank you Lord for never giving up on us, for never turning into a mean father (even when it’s after 8:00pm) for always picking us back up and giving us another chance. We love you and pray this in Jesus name, AMEN!