Wednesday in the Word

“Oh no!” “Look what you did!” “Mom’s going to be so mad!”Dread rose within me as I dropped my rag and rushed into the living room to see what was causing the commotion. There stood one of my darling children beside a growing puddle of fluorescent orange, his mouth open in speechless horror. All three boys stood in stunned silence, and the only sound was the “glug, glug, glug,” of washer fluid cascading onto my recently vacuumed carpet.

“Quick, pick the bottle up!” My voice broke the silence as I wrestled with the emotions welling up inside me. I hadn’t been feeling well that week, I had just about finished cleaning the house, and we had company coming for dinner in less than three hours. As I fought the urge to be angry, my other son, who wasn’t responsible for the accident, quickly jumped up and got cleaning supplies. Offering none of the normal teasing or ridicule, he silently started soaking up the mess.

In the middle of the chaos, his act of love gave me hope that maybe we are doing okay raising these kids after all, and this is all going to be okay. I was able to calmly tell the guilty party that I wasn’t angry and I forgave him. I praise God that he helped me control my temper and turn the situation into a teachable moment of extending grace.

This fall, our small group studied FamilyLife’s Art of Parenting. The class was filled with Biblical parenting principles, practical tips, and lively discussion. The study taught that the goal of discipline is to form the character of a child (Deut. 6:6-9, Eph. 6:4, Prov. 22:6, Prov. 29:17). We also learned that discipline does not equal punishment. While punishment seeks to retaliate, discipline aims to restore.

Had I chosen anger in that situation, I likely would have given an unfair punishment for a behavior that displeased me. We had also learned in the study that we should instruct childishness and only discipline what is truly sin. My son had not committed a sin, but had a childish accident. So that day, my son was instructed in the valuable life skill of helping Mom shampoo the carpet.

I’m so thankful for our small group and the ability to encourage each other in the trenches of parenthood! It has truly been a blessing to receive practical instruction that we can put to use on a daily basis. If you missed out on the blessing of a small group this fall, consider joining one when they start back up in January. You’ll be glad you did!

Renita