Today my 5 year old daughter had a rough day. She ran through a gambit of emotions in a 13 hour day. She was angry, sad, frustrated, tired, hurt, and confused. Most of her anger and poor behavior was directed at me, her Mamma. She blamed me, accused me, and took it out on me. Somehow her problems were my fault because I was her parent. I got it all, Folks. I got the pointy little finger in my face. I got the foot stomping on the floor and the bad attitude thrown in my general direction. She made sure I got the the message loud and clear: her problems were my fault.
I know my role as a parent. I understand that her behavior can't continue. I know through experience, practice, and thousands of pages of parenting books that it is my job as her mother to teach her, correct her, and guide her out of this behavior and through to the correct behavior that is expected of her. What is the best book of all to reference parenting techniques? The Bible of course. A Christian parent's handbook. We as parents have our choice: go straight to the Bible and interpret the scriptures, read Christian parenting books, or go between both parenting books and the Bible freely. And whatever you do, always pray for wisdom and patience because that will make things go smoothly when working with children.
As I started my role as parent with Mia today, it went swimmingly. I played my biblical part well. She played her 5 year old sinful part perfectly. We could write the script, People. I even remembered to pray for patience and wisdom. When I opened my eyes and looked at her after praying, I felt the Lord pull me in this direction, “I am your Father.” Wait... no, Lord. I am her mother. Let's try this again. Lord, I ask for patience. “I am your Father.” Ok, fine. Then Lord, I pray for wisdom. Let's put patience off for another day, Ok? “I am your Father.”
I know you are my father, Lord, and I am to follow your example.
I showed grace. I was firm but loving as God is. I provided for my child's needs. Manna from heaven even when disciplining. Scriptures and Bible stories flooded my mind as I parented in true Christian fashion. “I am your Father”. Yes, Lord, I am parenting like you. “I am your Father.”
I wasn't sure what this meant because I have accepted God as my father for so long now that this idea is not new. So I continued on with Mia. I corrected and disciplined. Because, after all, the Lord corrects and disciplines us in His word. At this point in time Mia had been very defiant and the normal disciplines were just not working. Lord, what do I do? “Speak to her heart.” Her heart is 5. “Speak to her heart.” Mia, you are not listening to Mom. When you do not listen, you do not get special things. Your special blanket cannot be with you. I am taking it now.
My baby's face fell and for the first time since that morning kicked off she saw me. She had heard me all morning, but not seen me. I touched her heart when I took her precious earthly belonging that she loves so much. She finally saw the parent behind the voice she heard all the time. Things got worse before they got better. Like all good sinners, Mia fought correction with all her strength. She begged, she pleaded, she turned angry, then guilty. She tried deep emotions like love. Mommy, I love you so much, can Blanky come back out now? She bargained like a cut throat CEO. If I cleaned my room could Blanky be mine again? Girl even screamed I'LL BE VERY GOOD, I PROMISE! while in the middle of a full blown tantrum. It was during all of this that I felt the familiar tug that I get when God instills information from Him to me. This revelation is a gift and has nothing to do with anything I could have figured out on my own: on this day, I am witnessing an example of a believer's walk with the Lord played out in the behavior of my 5 year old daughter.
We get mad at God. It is His fault. He is the one who created us, so if it goes wrong, then He is to blame. If we have an emotion it is thrown at him, good or bad. We tantrum while saying I'll be very good, I promise. We see God when He speaks to our heart. Sometimes things that shouldn't be so close to our hearts, like earthly treasures, get removed and that gets our attention. We talk to Him lovingly in one season, and bitterly in another season. We will be confused and at times wonder where and if we belong. We come to Him in tears after we have woken up with a smile. We, as believers, will run through a gambit of emotions while we follow Jesus. “I am your Father.”
You are my Father. “I am your Father.” You are my Father. “I am your Father.” And it was then that I felt it. I felt the scriptures that I believe. I felt the God that I love. The many disconnected lessons that I have learned over time met in one amazing place in one incredible moment. During a mundane task, while I dealt with disciplining the blessing I had prayed for and prayed over, my Father met me in that moment and allowed me to feel a Father's love. I am blown away. I am unworthy. I am His child. Scriptures about being made in His image gave way to connections about how our earthly relationships mimic our heavenly father's relationships with us.*
I looked down at my tantrum induced, sinful, emotional 5 year old and saw myself on the floor of my living room crying over my worldly possessions being taken from me. I recognized my propensity for yelling and screaming over an injustice, believing that I am in the right, making Him in the wrong. I could remember yelling at God with the same mouth that I had used to admit that I believed in Him. I have pointed my attitude straight at Him, as if I had the right to do that simply because He created me. I made Him the target of my frustration when I couldn't find another. Have I dared to scream in a huff that I promise to be good while still indulging in my sinful past time as clearly as this child is doing before me now? Yes, yes I have. I saw it, I understood it, I felt it.
You are my Father.
Today ended differently than others. Other difficult days: I pray, I cry, I make a list of what I am thankful for, I get ready for tomorrow. How today ended: I prayed, I cried, I made a list of what I am thankful for, I got ready for tomorrow. So how is it different you may wonder? Because today felt different. I saw my Father behind the voice I have heard for so long in scripture. It wasn't for the first time in my life. I have felt Him before. But it will always knock the wind out of me and fill my cup at the same time, no matter how many times in my life it happens. I felt God as clearly as if He were standing next to me. And to think, I thought it was just going to be another day of parenting a child who wants to test the limits to see if her parent who created her really loves her and would be there to guide her through the trials and tribulations of this earthly life.
*To clarify, this is not the first time I have had these feelings or feelings like this. But these VERY strong feelings and clarity of connections are not things that happen on a regular basis to me. So they feel like renewals or refreshers from God. For some believers, this happens often. For others, it is very rare. Every walk is different.