Tonight I was all by my lonesome for dinner. Yes, I had the company of 3 adorable little girls, but I had the company of 3 children 3 and under. George got called out at the last second and he was supposed to grill steaks. No big deal, but it was already past dinner time and the little ones were getting restless. I improvised with chicken cordon bleu instead, but we ate close to 7:00. Why all the details? I'm getting there. Kate spilled her milk as I was still preparing dinner. I'll admit it. I lost my cool. I apologized. I asked her forgiveness and then I asked the Lord's forgiveness. We're eating and almost done with dinner when I tell Hannah she's not getting a cookie for dessert (at least that is what I think started this whole fiasco) and she proceeds to start flinging her baked potato on the floor and the table. I tell her to stop and she throws her fork on the floor. I say, "Get down. You are done with dinner." She still has most of her dinner left on her plate. So for the next half hour before bed, she begs me to finish her dinner and keeps telling me how hungry she is. No loving mother wants to send her child to bed hungry and I was so tempted to give in and I truly did believe she was hungry, but she's old enough to bear the consequences of her choices.
Remember, I was in this battle by myself. No George. Just Hannah crying and telling me she's hungry. My children have taught me so many lessons about my Lord. They reveal the sin in my own heart, His love for me, etc. As I was praying and asking the Lord to confirm that I was doing the right thing, He brought to mind the discipline that I receive from Him. Here's what I was reminded of:
1) No parent enjoys watching their child suffer pain, but sometimes it comes as a result of their own decisions. God doesn't enjoy watching me suffer, but when I sin, I deserve those consequences.
2) The discipline was for Hannah's good. If I had given in to her demands that she be allowed to finish her dinner, that would've taught her nothing except to whine and complain until she gets what she wants. Who wants to go out to eat at a restaurant where the 3 year old at the table next to you has no self-control and flings her food when she gets mad? Me neither. The lesson will stick much better, if the consequences are painful.
3) I disciplined her because I love her. I want her to be a joy to be around instead of other people avoiding her because she doesn't know how to use manners or what behavior is socially acceptable or unacceptable. God disciplines me to shape my character that I can reflect His glory.
Some may think that the discipline I applied was too harsh, but I will stand strong on God's Word, which is truth and trust that the wisdom I gain from it will help shape my daughters' hearts so they grow to be respectful and selfless children. And in the same respect, I'll remember that when God disciplines me, He is a God of infinite love and is working all things for the good to make me more like Jesus!
"Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rod, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." ~Proverbs 23:13-14
"He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding." ~Proverbs 15:32
"Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul." ~Proverbs 29:17
"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate childrenand not true sons. Moreover, we have all had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it...but God disciplines uf for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." ~Hebrews 12:7-11
"because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in." ~Proverbs 3:12