Every time I post a “here’s-one-way-to-approach-this-problem” sort of post, I cringe. I know my own tendency to look for a formula, a step-by-step answer, a guaranteed outcome sort of solution to my current assortment of challenges. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with this problem.
When I suggest a verse to talk about with your children, or list a number of ideas for ways to instruct and direct a child in a common problem area, I know for many, disappointment will follow. For some, the ideas sound great but get buried in the busy-ness and interruptions of life. For others, you may try everything and then turn around and wonder why nothing worked.
We can’t stuff the messy, sinful, tangled-up problems of our life into a here’s-how-you-do-it mold and pump out perfect children with perfect parents. That’s not how God works. He’s in the business of changing us, and He uses our sin and the sins of those around us as part of His means to accomplish that change. While we want sin to go away – at least other people’s sins and their annoying effects on our lives – God takes what looks like Satan’s victories in our lives, and turns them around for our blessing and His glory.
Sin drives us to God. Sin helps us see how much we need Him; He’s the only one who can take care of it. He’s already taken care of it – on the cross. When we face our own ugly sins, we can thank Him for our perfect standing before Him in Christ. We can quit beating ourselves up, because He’s taken care of it. He’s “beaten up” His Son – for our sake. We can quit feeling like a failure, because Christ is victorious and we are in Him. We are victorious with Him. He will help us live out that victory.
When we face our children’s sins – often mirrors of our own sins – we can rest. We don’t have to panic. We won’t have all the answers. We won’t deal with them perfectly. We won’t have perfect children, no matter how hard we try. But we do have a perfect Savior, one who took on a human body and understands what it is to be human. He sits at the right hand of the Father and prays on our behalf.
We can turn to Him and ask for grace and wisdom. We can turn to Him and ask for forgiveness when we blow it again.
Here’s my 1-step, no-fail formula. When you’re starting to lose it, when you think you can’t keep going, when you have absolutely no idea what to do with the child whose sinful attitude has tried your patience for way too long – stop and pray.
Step outside on the porch or hide in the bathroom and beg God for the strength and patience to keep going. Call a friend and ask her to pray for you.
Sit down and pray with your kids. Let them hear you humble yourself before your Father. Let them hear you ask Him for wisdom. Ask Him for strength. Ask Him to change you. Then thank Him for answering prayer with the answers He knows are best.