“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
Last week, the Lord really brought me to the peak of my anger with DearDaughter. This second pregnancy has been physically rough on me and as a result I get tired very easily. I have discovered that when I am tired I am easily irritated, angered, and am very impatient. I sinned very wickedly against DearDaughter as I yelled at her in the most horrible way a mother could yell at a dear Little One and not just once but many times through the course of the week.I am a very stubborn and prideful person and in order to bring me to the end of myself, God really has to push me into the deepest pits of sin to make me recognize my wickedness. Although I know I hurt DearDaughter very much through my uncontrolled anger last week, I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to fall into that pit while DearDaughter is still young and can forget those ugly times. I also thank God for His faithfulness in me by allowing me to recognize my sin so that I am able to turn from it and run to Him for His help and strength to overcome it.
I have a woman's forum, A Forum for Christian Woman, and posted an interesting article called, "Is It OK to Spank?". This article, along with my difficult week with DearDaughter, motivated me to seek a biblical response to that question. Well, a DearFriend gave my husband and I Tedd Tripp's book, Shepherding a Child's Heart, as a wonderful gift before DearDaughter was born. I read it immediately after DearDaughter was born and really appreciated this piece of encouragement. However, at that time, DearDaughter was only a few weeks old and the book was not very "practical" for me yet since I was still only focused on learning how to feed and put DearDaughter to sleep. Now that DearDaughter is at a stage where her own sinfulness and rebelliousness against authority is becoming more evident, DearHubby and I have returned to Mr. Tripp's book for guidance. Providentially, our Sunday School class at church has taken this particular time to also discuss Mr. Tripp's books.
Below are excerpts from Mr. Tripp's book. As a disclaimer, these are only excerpts and I would really recommend reading the whole book to put the following excerpts in context. Mr. Tripp gives 3 tools to Biblical childrearing: communication, the rod, and appeal to the conscience. The focus of these excerpts are on the 2nd tool, the rod.
I think the most convicting of these excerpts for me was the section about the Distortions of the Rod. Reading how rage is "ungodly and wicked" and how "man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" really put Biblical childrearing into perspective for me. It first starts in the parents' hearts' desires to obey God, to glorify Him, and to enjoy Him. It is not merely turning DearDaughter into a good person nor is it even just about getting DearDaughter to obey ME. It's all about turning DearDaughter's heart to our glorious God so that her life, even from the start, is drawn towards glorifying and enjoying God. These childrearing tools are not to be abused, but they are to be used responsibly to teach submission and authority so that DearDaughter will ultimately understand that she is ultimately in submission to God and His authority over her life!
At the end of Mr. Tripp's book, he spends some time breaking up the different age groups of children and the tools to be used and how. I've only focused on reading the first stage of that section, but if I recall, he explains that when the rod is properly implemented to children at a young age, as children get older, communication and the appeal to the conscience should be the major tools used to continue in shepherding a pre-teen's and teenager's hearts.
I thank God for allowing me to run into the article I posted last week and I thank God that He has allowed me to recognize my sins of anger and lastly I thank God that our Sunday School class, which is going through Mr. Tripp's book, came at this perfect time that DearHubby and I could attend it. By these 3 means, God has given me the opportunity to recognize where I am lacking as a parent and the opportunity to overcome these weaknesses with His help. Already, I have started to make changes in the way I deal with DearDaughter and I will post updates about our progress.