Today I said to my son: Mommy’s heart is broken.
Whether it’s the terrible three’s or the emergence of a strong willed child, I have found myself in the throes of a nemesis that I just can’t counter: My 3 year old son and his growing defiance towards anything that is contrary to his current whim.
I’ve tried Love and Logic. I’ve tried bribery. I’ve tried rewards and punishment. I’ve tried time out. I’ve screamed. I’ve popped bottoms. And I’ve cried.
I feel like I’m in this place where nothing works. Why won’t he listen and obey?!? And then I say to myself: the last thing I want is a compliant child for the sake of a compliant child. I want my son to think…to be his own person…to make good choices because he understands what making a good choice means. Not because he fears a spanking or a time out or the removal of his favorite toy.
I see the sin nature raising its nasty ugly head inside my son. And it hurts.
Its hurts because as his sin nature rises, so does mine.
They say adversity shows the true person that you are. Your walk with Christ is tested through the trials.
And I’m afraid I’ve failed much more often than I’ve triumphed.
There’s a song I recall singing as a teen in our youth group: Refiner’s Fire
I sit here listening to a youtube rendition of it and all the memories of my teen years come flooding back to me. Altar calls, pouring my heart out to God, inviting my friends to church, Acquire the Fire, Miami Outreach, Youth Alive.
I see myself singing this song during a youth service with outstretched arms…asking God to make me holy…to set me apart for him….ready to do his will.
Do those words still ring true as I sit here relishing in the silence that an early bedtime affords? Am I set apart? Am I ready to do his will? Am I raising my children so that they know and comprehend how great is the love that the father has lavished on us? Do I lavish that love upon my children?
As I look back on today, a day filled with my struggles and very frustrated responses to the antics of a most defiant 3 year old, my shoulders slump and my heart aches.
But then the Lord takes me back to the lyrics.
Purify my heart. Make me holy.
A refining fire? Ouch! That is gonna hurt…burning away the impurities…without the fire, those impurities will never come out….the ugly sin that I see in me and in my actions is being purged.
To be holy….the fires must come…the tears, the frustration, the countless confessions to my child that “Mommy is so sorry”. Must. Come.
As I become holy, my children see the work that the Lord is doing in me and I pray they will let God do the same in them.
Today was still not easy. My heart is still heavy and weary from the struggles with which so many parents can identify. But it now has a renewed purpose in my heart. God is refining me.