You know how your kids go through these periods of bad behaviors that you just feel like you don’t even know them, and you’d like their clone to send back the original model of your child?
Times like the terrible twos? early adolescent years? tweens? All of those.
For a decent amount of time, if I’m honest, starting around the time my daughter hit about five, I began to yell a lot, like all the time.
Now that I am sitting here typing this out loud (or in my head) that is probably about the time things went south with us.
For a long period of time I could not stand my daughter. I am just being honest, cause I can do that here with you guys right??
It seemed like she just couldn’t get right.
And every time she messed up, I would yell at the top of my lungs and throw a fit and make threats about taking things away, canceling activities she looked forward to, and whatever I felt would get a reaction out of her.
Eventually I realized that she no longer reacted to any of it. Which would further upset me.
But I also realized, that she would in essence forgive me and be over it like nothing ever happened when I acted this way.
Like a new day would come and she would wake up and be like “Hey mommy!” Like nothing ever happened.
Ohhhh I use to get sooooo mad at her.
Like don’t she know this aint ova! Like mommy is still mad and she has a debt to pay.
What I later realized is that my daughter was practicing grace. Bless her heart, Lord knows she hadn’t learned it from me.
One day, after trying all the yelling, punishing, spanking that I could with no avail, I prayed to God about the issues with my daughter and her behavior and her non-responsiveness to the consequences.
God told me to stop trying to change her, and to change myself.you are the only person you have control of.... #parenting Click To Tweet
Like loud and clear, he said, “You are the only variable you have control over in this matter”.
I wanted to be mad at God, because before that moment I thought I had control over her, she had to listen to me, shoot I made her….
That was yet another myth I had told myself.
My daughter is HIS CHILD, just like I am, and while he has entrusted her to me, she really is not mine.
I wish I can tell you that I got the message and have made a complete change. But I can not. I am still working through it all, and sometimes still falling short.
What I can tell you is that I have changed the way I respond and deal with her shenanigans.
And I will also tell you, it has created a GREAT change in our relationship.
You see, my daughter was practicing grace with me and she didn’t even know it. She was teaching me and not even trying.in reality he has entrusted me with HIS CHILD, she really is not mine. #godschild Click To Tweet
I imagine how I would feel if God yelled at me, threatened me, even spanked me, every time I messed up. Like if after I yelled at her, he then yelled at me.
It wasn’t hard to imagine, because as great as my momma was, she did a lot of the same, yelling, fussing and being mad. So probably no coincidence I responded in a similar fashion to my daughter.
But when you know better you do better, right?
I am trying now to be more graceful with my daughter. We are entering some critical years for her (the dreaded teen years) and I don’t want her straying from me because of a wall I built.
Recently, she messed up and she knew she had messed up.
In past times I would have and I have flipped the lid.
But not this time.
This time, I talked to her about it. I explained to her why it was not okay and how we (all of her parental units, because we are co-parenting) felt about it.
She actually ended up in tears from the discussion without me even raising my voice.
I told her it was ok and that tomorrow was a new day with a fresh start and a clean slate. I advised her that if there was anything else that I might find that put her back in this predicament she needed to go to her room and deal with it at that moment, because going forward we are new.
I felt so free in that moment, and I felt like I had gotten through to her without having to drive it home with her.
As usual she came back to me with her forgiving self, but this time I actually felt like I deserved this from her.
When I went to my word on this, I was taken to Luke 17.
In verses 3-4, (which you you can read it here) we are told that we are to continually forgive those around us. Apply grace, just as God applies his grace to us.
For me, parenting is that area where I REALLY need to practice grace. But we all have them.
If you are at all like me, when you read that, you wanna reason and say, ok, but what about when (insert justification)?
But god is very clear about it.
Parenting is truly teaching me grace and my daughter, being my first born, has been a great teacher.
Children have the ability to be beautiful mirrors for us; showing is how beautiful we are, but also showing us our true flaws. I am just learning to take it all in stride and learning to be grace-filled.
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