Monday, February 08, 2010

Soft on the Inside

Our kids bicker a lot and I don't know why. Maybe it's because there are so many or because they are so close in age. I wish they didn't. Hopefully we will move in the direction of peace but I know there will always be skirmishes.

The worst offenders are Jenna and Abby. They are different as night and day, 18 months apart and share a room. Abby has 50 Barbies and Jenna wants to throw up when touched by Barbie hair. It's pretty much a recipe for disaster.

Last Friday they came in the house yelling and crying. Jenna shoved Abby and when I told her to stop she slammed the door in her face. Abby really tries to be nice but Jenna will have none of it. After several infractions I really had to get Jenna's attention. I had to push her to brokenness. The more I talked the angrier she got. But sometimes the process of getting a soft, repentant heart hurts.

I found myself telling her the very thing God is showing me. We've got to have a heart that is open to correction. A hard heart won't be changed. And we all need to change. It's the whole point of reading the Bible, praying, listening to the Holy Spirit, and following Christ. He changes us to be more like him.

I am stubborn and like to dig my heels in. I don't want to change. I definitely don't want to admit I'm wrong. And if I won't, why would my kids?

It's a more important lesson than to stop being mean. It doesn't need a punishment like being sent to your room. It's a heart problem: pride, selfishness and anger. Those things need to be washed away by Jesus. I want my kids to be willing to take correction, admit when they're wrong and change with Jesus' help.

The amazing thing is that while I didn't think I was getting anywhere a little ray of hope broke through. Jenna had a friend over and Abby brought their drinks to the table for them. Jenna said, "Thank you Abby." in front of her friend. I felt like a had witnessed a parting of the Red Sea type miracle.

I am so thankful for and amazed by the work of God in our lives. Through tough kid situations like living with a little sister and tough grown up situations, He softens our hearts and changes us. He washes away the yucky stuff and replaces it with His joy.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow leads to death. 1 Corinthians 7:10

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
Romans 2:4-5
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.
Psalm 51:17


Peter and Nancy said...

We have friends with 4 kids who I don't think bicker . . . and a mom who I don't think raises her voice ever!! It makes me feel like I'm doing something WRONG. So, I guess I'm just commenting to tell you that you have company! There are others of us trying to cultivate a teachable heart (and seeing the occasional glimmer of hope too). Keep on fighting the good fight, mama!

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.