At All Times-Psalm 34:1

August 21, 2016

How to leave the Park: Dealing with Departure Fits

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 7:01 am

You hate it, I hate, we all hate it. That embarrassing moment at the park. Your children are playing happily and then that family with the kid you don’t know says “Johnny, it’s time to go!” My kids will gawk, I turn away and try to visit with you until the ordeal passes.

It’s harder when it’s in your home, and it’s your friend standing at the door way. “Thanks so much, we had a great time!” your girlfriend says as she drags Ally past you wailing and stomping as you awkwardly smile and wave.

But then. But then. It’s even more humiliating when it’s your own kid. Nothing is working, the situation is escalating and you know you aren’t going to get out of the party without a scene. And you are stuck right in the middle of it with your offspring shouting at you.

So, let’s get two things cleared up right away. First, we’ve all been there! Moms, your kids are going to throw departure fits when they have to leave somewhere and are having a good time. We all know how awkward it is. Second, this article isn’t really going to “fix,” “prevent,” or provide an “four-step-plan-to-fit-free-living.” But what we all need to remember as moms is that the way we handle departing from the park (or the party, or the playdate, or the pizza parlor) is that how we behave is of far greater importance than how our children behave. Again, they are going to throw fits. The question is: How will we respond?
I’d like to share a few priorities that other moms have demonstrated for me that have helped me along the way. The wonderful thing is that these things start right away! You don’t have to wait until your child is five to start dealing with this issue. You can start responding correctly as soon as Lexi is old enough to stomp her feet or fight back. And the earlier you start, the quicker your child will learn. [Again that doesn’t mean that your child won’t throw fits. And it doesn’t mean that your child will learn quickly. Quicker is different than quickly, friend!]
Priority #1: Plan ahead by preparing your child. A two-year-old little boy had a great time playing at my home with some toys the other day. We were going to be leaving soon and his mother informed him that we were leaving soon, and as soon as I was ready to go they would have to leave. This is a great way to help your child start thinking that the fun they are having has a time limit. For an afternoon at the park, it might mean glancing at your watch and realizing you have to leave soon, so you shout out “Hey kids! Just a few more trips down the slide and then we have to go. You’ve got 5 minutes.” You don’t owe this to your kids. They go, when you go. But it is helpful to prepare them, so take the time to try to plan ahead.
Priority #2: You are the authority; obedience is required….  Every time you tell your child it’s time to go, they follow up with a reaction. Many times I’ve seen a child that runs away, fusses, stomps his foot, darts back to the toys with a clenched fist, argues, or whines, in response to the call to leave. If you choose to ignore this behavior and stick around longer, or say “oh, five more minutes won’t hurt” you are telling your child that his behavior deserves more play time. Don’t confuse your kid! You are mom, and if you say it is time to go, any negative response to you is a refusal to submit to your authority. Even if your child is only 2, you can get down right on their eye level, pull them close and say something like this: “Mommy has said that it is time to leave. It is not okay for you to tell mommy no. You are being disrespectful right now.” Or, “God commands you to obey your parents and to honor them. For you to obey and honor me right now, I need you to take my hand and walk to the car.” You don’t need to shout at your kid to do this, and you don’t need to be syrupy sweet. Firmness and serious look as you communicate these things shows the youngest of children that this is a serious matter. I strongly encourage you to take the time to tell your child what she is doing wrong, and what behavior is appropriate. So many parents coax, tease, laugh at, or ignore their child’s clear disobedience. Your child will NOT learn that his behavior is unacceptable unless you teach him otherwise. So make it a priority in your own heart to remember that God has placed you in authority over your child and you are doing her a great disservice if you do not teach her to be obedient to your authority.
***As a side note: Whenever possible, I think it is great to reward correct responses. As my children got the hang of not throwing a fit, sometimes they would ask for one more trip down the slide or a few extra minutes on the swing. If this request was made respectfully and in a pleasant voice, and they were already obeying my call to come, I would always try to reward the correct response with that extra trip down the slide.
Priority #3: THANKFULNESS!! If you leave a friend’s house with your child kicking and screaming about staying to play, you know your friend is going to be gracious. But let’s be honest: It’s rude. It’s disrespectful of your child to throw a fit, sets a bad example to other kids (especially when you reward them for their fit), and a screaming child does not show proper thankfulness for the blessing of being able to play at someone else’s home. Leaving someone’s home should be done graciously, with a “Thank you Mrs. Smith for letting me play today.” We should work on training on children to do so, and correcting them when they don’t. Ultimately, we should work on generating this response by cultivating a thankful heart.
One of the ways I have tried to communicate about thankfulness with my very young children is using the word “treat.” Kids at a very young age understand the concept of a cookie as a “treat.” You eat it, and then it’s over, but it sure was good! So I would often tell my little toddlers when we had to leave (and the frustration was welling up in their fists or eyes), “That was a treat! I’m so glad we had the wonderful treat of playing at the park! Let’s be thankful for our treat even though it’s time to go.” You can even talk about the “treat” before you take it away by coming up to your son and saying “Johnny, this has been such a wonderful day at the park. What a treat! I’m so thankful we got to come. Now it’s time to go so as we leave, let’s have a thankful heart for what we just enjoyed and not make a fuss okay!”
Another phrase I liked to use was “That was fun! And now it’s done!” You can use this with little toddlers as well: with toys, with playdates, with foods. If your one-year-old hears that from you at the end of eating a cookie, and you accompany it with a big smile of pleasure for the treat that was enjoyed, you can start reinforcing at an early age that it’s good to enjoy things and be thankful when it’s time to move on.
Consistently using language like this as opposed to patronizing and mocking phrases like “I know, you are so mistreated” or “I know life is so hard” is going to teach our children so much more about how to handle life than any sarcasm we can dole out on them. Or any threats we can make about leaving them behind. Remember that sarcasm is a coping mechanism for you when you are frustrated or embarrassed by the situation. But sarcasm isn’t a good teaching tool for a toddler.  If you consistently use language focused on thankfulness and obedience from a very early age, it helps to reinforce what you expect of your child. Be creative and pick phrases and words that are special in your home. Perhaps “blessing” instead of “treat” or something simple like “Let’s be thankful!” instead of “That was fun and now it’s done.”
It’s hard to enforce these things consistently [let’s be real: my kid just threw a fit while I was typing the last paragraph and I gave in immediately while Dad gave me the look], but at least we know when we mess up that there’s forgiveness from our fellow moms because we’ve all been there and will be there again soon. And there’s forgiveness from the Lord for all our shortcomings as a mom, and there’s grace to try again! And we all know there’ll surely be another time to work on this topic again just around the corner…

November 2, 2014

How to Delight in the LAW of the Lord

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 2:00 pm

This morning, for the first day of November, I read the very first Psalm. A familiar one that begins:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2 ESV)

As I tried to mediate for a moment on meditating on God’s law it struck me in a peculiar way. If you are familiar with the Psalms you know that it is a common theme to talk about the the Law of the Lord in a way that expresses its unique appeal, beauty and pleasure. Psalm 19 readily comes to mind as the Law revives the soul, rejoices the heart, and is more sweeter than honey! I say this struck me in a peculiar way because lately both the book I have been reading and the sermons I have been hearing have been focusing in on the condemnation, weight, and hopelessness the Law brings. It is indeed the grace-filled Gospel of God that brings righteousness and peace with God, apart from the Law. Under a wealth of recent teaching on this, I had to look at the idea of delighting in the law of God afresh. How do I delight in the law of God? Several things came readily to my mind. These are not exhaustive, and I do not intend to thoroughly explain each one. But I hope you will find it helpful for yourself as I enumerate them. At the very least, it will be helpful to me.

  1. The Law of God provides guidance and wisdom for life. “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to path.” “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your Word.” “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Even though the Law exposes our sin at a standard we could never achieve, it still provides wisdom directly from God on how to walk through life-akin to reading the owner’s manual written by the designer of the product. We can delight in the benefit it is that He has expressed these things to us. No doubt, the man or woman who seeks to walk in accordance with God’s command will find protection from many of the natural consequences to a sin filled lifestyle.
  2. The Law of God points us to the beautiful character of God. As I read God’s laws through even the most difficult of books (I am thinking Leviticus, oh my!) I see the beautiful character and nature of God on display. His holiness, certainly reverberates with the constant cry, “Be Holy, as I am holy.” But particularly, I think upon the love God has for the foreigner, widow, and sojourner. I do delight in seeing God’s faithful care and provision within His law for the most vulnerable among us. His tenderness is on display in a beautiful way that beckons us to cry to Him in our destitution and on behalf of those suffering injustice. Many other qualities and concerns of God are evident in reading His law.
  3. The Law of God points to the perfect righteousness of Christ. When we read the laws and demands of God, we are incapable of fulfilling the overwhelming demands. Yet we can be stirred afresh to ponder the perfection of our Lord as He walked in full obedience to the law of God. For we know as we read the law of God that Christ came and fulfilled the Law, fully and completely. With all His heart, and all His mind, and all His soul, and all His strength all the time. 
  4. The Law of God show us our sin. As un-delightful as that may sound, Paul states in Romans 7:7,  “Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7 ESV) It is the Law of God that shows us our sinfulness. This is a cause for delight because sin leads to repentance, and thereby forgiveness and hope in Christ.
  5. Delighting in the Law of Faith and Love. Jesus not only came and fulfilled the Law, but He initiated a New Covenant, not relating to God by works of the Law in the flesh, but a covenant of faith. First John 3:23 says it so succinctly:  “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” (ESV) We find ourselves unable to please God or gain acceptance before Him, but He has given us a new Law. He has called us to have faith in His perfect Son Jesus Christ. By faith we are completely justified apart from the Law. The overflow of this is reconciliation to God, and the indwelling of the Spirit of God which fill us with the ability to walk in Love. The fruit that this Spirit produces is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” And Praise God!! Against these things there is no Law! (Galatians 5:22-24).

May 19, 2014

When should I start piano lessons?

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 2:16 am

*This article focuses mostly around my thoughts on what you can do to prepare your younger children (ages 3-6) for piano lessons, and it includes reasons for why children this young are typically not ready for lessons. As a teacher, I do start children as young as five or six under specific circumstances, and have other factors for when/why to start children in the more conventional age range (7-10), but that is not the focus of this information. These thoughts are my initial response I share with families of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds interested in piano lesson.

It is always encouraging to see parents who value the early influence of music in the development of their children. I frequently receive inquiries from parents and my friends about the ideal age to start children, and I have given this subject much thought as I have three children of my own. Most piano teachers fall in to two camps on starting piano lessons: Early start (ages 5-6 years) and a later start (ages 7 or 8). I think this article expresses some of the general reasoning behind waiting to start piano lessons till age 7 or 8. That is also typically what I recommend to parents, although I think there are reasons and situations that warrant starting early. I do have experience teaching 5 and 6 year olds, and it is not for every child. For a child as young as three or four, you will have a hard time finding a credible teacher willing to start them that young. But there is SOOOO much you can do to prepare them for a great start at piano lessons. Here are some reasons why, as a teacher, I believe you should wait to start you child for a few more years, and what you can do about these things:

1. Her hand is not big enough. I keep a close eye on the growth of my children’s hands as we play around at the piano together week after week. Threes and Fours do not have the hand size to start playing. (Nothing to do there).
2. Her hand is not strong enough. All those basic activities that help develop the fine motor muscles for writing are also important in developing hand muscles for the piano. Just enjoying regular time with play-dough is simple, but important.
3. She does not yet have the foundational general music/developmental skills to start the instrument. There are many key developmental skills that are a part of learning an instrument and grasping music. If a child starts music without these skills, you are paying a professional in a very particular field for a particular service, but they are actually having to spend a large portion of time developing general skills that could be developed more effortlessly, enjoyably, and less expensively in other settings. Some of these skills include pitch and rhythm awareness. Through consistent exposure to these types of activities you can help your child develop these skills:
  • SING! Sing! Sing! Sing often to your child.
  • DANCE! Dance! Dance! Dance to all sorts of music. This allows her to feel the music with her body and “see” the rhythm of the music as she watches you dance. Dance with her in your arms so she can feel how you sway and move. Dance with scarves.
  • Use instruments. Buy a cheap set of children’s instruments (or make your own!) and have times to sing together with them, or play them along with recorded music. This alone will also show one of the reasons why it may not be time for piano lessons. It is a very difficult skills to be able to tap along to the beat, and it is difficult to start piano lessons without an internal awareness of feeling the beat to a song. You don’t have to correct, just encourage them to listen and model you as you tap along. It takes lots of time, and children don’t need to be perfect at this skill to be able to start learning an instrument, but they need grow to a basic awareness and feel for the beat.
  • Nursery Rhymes. Another developmental essential for reading, these are great for a sense of rhythm as well.
  • Expose her to classical music. Purchase a compilation CD of classical music and use it when in the car, coloring, ect. Spend time doing activities that allow her to think and notice things about the music. Have her paint to the music. While she paints, point out things like “This music is loud!” “This music is slow. It makes me feel peaceful.”
  • Play Simon Says. Imitation is a huge part of music learning. Teaching her to observe and imitate is an important skill.
4. I highly recommend to anybody who inquires about music lesson for younger children that they place them in a general music enrichment program such as Kindermusik or Music Together. These programs have teachers that specialize in teaching younger children the very skills listed above. It is a stress-free, fun, warm way to expose your child to music lessons and start growing their interest in music in a very age-appropriate way. My oldest son participated in an after-school music program once a week during kindergarten. He acquired so much of the pitch recognition and rhythm recognition skills he needed during that nine months. He also grew over the last few months of the school year in his interest in the piano and I just started teaching him when school let out. Which leads me to my final thought…
4. I usually recommend for children under the age of 7 or 8 to have a prolonged interest in taking piano lessons. I think parents can require a 7 or 8 year old to start lessons simply “because mom knows what’s best” and things can still go well. However, it is not easy to take piano lessons and 5 and 6 year olds need to be excited and eager. How can you fuel their excitement and see if they are really eager to learn? Have a piano in the house and let them explore freely without rules, assignments, or inhibition (we do have two rules in our home: nothing touches the piano except our fingers and our fingers must touch the piano gently). This allows their curiosity to grow. Allow them opportunities to see other kids and adults playing at church or school or houses of friends who play. As they grow in interest, try pointing out positive reasons to start lessons, but meet their inquiries about lessons with negativity. For example, when a child first starts expressing interest, respond with “Oh that would be so much fun. Learning the piano is neat, but you have to do it every day. Are you sure you want to work hard at that?” (It was several more months before my six-year-old son was sure he wanted to take lessons, after he had started talking about it. He waivered several times.) I think this helps prepare them for the reality that it isn’t a walk in the park, and also allows you to see whether or not they are persistent in their desire to play.
In conclusion, music exposure and development at an early age is fun, rewarding, and beneficial, but private  piano instruction is, in my opinion, neither the first step nor the most effective means for experiencing these benefits with children under the age of seven.

September 19, 2013

My personal obituary for Miss North

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 9:08 pm

This past week someone very dear to me died. Miss North. Once we continued talking after high school she assured me that I could call her Rita, but it has never sounded right. She will always be Miss North. Miss North was my teacher in primary school. She taught my music classes where we sang “Lean on Me” at the end of class, played “Music Baseball” and fought over the triangle on days we got to use instruments. In fifth grade I was ushered into the magical world of choir through Miss North’s “5th & 6th Children’s Chorale,” and then bumped into the “7th and 8th Grade Select Choir.”

These four years of choral music experience under Miss North were nothing short of invaluable and formative to me as a person. If I could begin to list the things that I learned during this time it would start with all the finer fundamentals of vocal music. Breathing, diction, posture, vowel shapes, and such. I learned the finer points of great ensembles like hiding and altering consonants for clarity and effect, “whisking it,” and staggered breathing for exceptional phrasing. I was exposed to a wide variety of beautiful, challenging, rich music.

Beyond all this I was exposed to teacher who cared about us. Who loved what she did with a passion. It was watching Miss North teach that made me believe that being a music teacher must be a life calling. It certainly was hers. And in her own expressed words before our class, it was a calling God had placed on her life. She was unrelenting and bold in her pursuit of excellence for us as a group and for me as an individual. She could draw things out of ordinary kids that none of us knew was there. Under her leadership our choirs performed in state conventions, and I was taught the skills and provided with the opportunity to audition and perform in state and regional choirs, creating music in amazing settings.

I watched her dedication, her struggles, her tears, her anger, and her mistakes. I saw her as a giant-She really was one of the best. But I saw her fail. I saw her make decisions that made others unhappy. I was the times the tears flowed after school because no matter what she did, there was still a parent on the other end of the phone to cuss her out. It’s because of her that I have entered this new season as an athletic director’s wife that I already knew that my tip-top amazing husband could never make everybody happy, never call all the shots just right, and never avoid the drama that parents bring to the table when their kids are on the line-I’ve seen it before. Seeing her behind the scenes taught me early that even the best aren’t perfect, and even if they were it wouldn’t be good enough for everyone.

Being shy, timid, under confident, and awkward would be an accurate descriptions of myself in this season of life. Miss North treated me as a person with dignity, and brought me under her wing as a right-hand woman in assisting with the younger choirs and working after school as choir vice president and president. This woman got shy old me to audition for the lead role in the school musical (even though I didn’t make it), and gave me the skills to stand up in front of an audience with confidence and share my thoughts, my music, my heart all with purpose, even if it wasn’t without fear. No teacher should ever underestimate the skills and life lessons they can teach through a single discipline that can translate into every area of life.

Miss North let me spend my senior year assisting with her 6th Grade Music Class. She taught me the ends and outs of running class and structuring lessons. I watched her for four years as a student, and worked with her in many settings as an instructor. The wealth of teaching knowledge I gained from her has shaped my piano instruction in invaluable ways.

Miss North was more than a woman who taught music. She knew how to worship. She worshiped one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent. I saw her put her job and respect on the line to share her faith with her class and with students. She would let nothing get in the way of that. The grace of God undoubtedly sustained her through her many trials.  I often have looked back on Miss North as a promise of the purpose and joy that God can provide and sustain in someone through a life of singleness-a quality I have always appreciated witnessing in her.

When I look back on my grade school years the one thing I really miss is choir. I miss making a thing of beauty with others and recreating it in all its polished splendor to an audience.  As special as a gift that was, I don’t have to miss out on all the other lessons and gifts that Miss North taught me. They are an integral part of who I have become. One day, after school, Miss North took my hands in hers as we were playing parts together for a small rehearsal. She held them and blessed them in the name of the Lord, saying that those hands would be used by Him for amazing things. I never became a concert pianist, and I’m not a world-renown music teacher. But I thank God for blessing me through this woman and provided me with gifts, skills, and perspective that I have been able to use to bless others in so many ares of my life. I thank God for placing me in Miss North’s path and for all that I have been given through her.

January 10, 2013

2013 Bloggin Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 5:45 am

Dear Followers,

My posts have certainly been sporadic this past year as most of my posting time has been taken up by my small business. I hope that 2013 brings more opportunities for me to express what the Lord is teaching me through writing. I wanted to share with you that some of my previous posts (and some new ones as well!) will begin showing up over at Biblical Counseling for Women-a blog of a good friend of mine who runs a Biblical Counseling Center and a Biblical Counseling Training Program right here in the Kansas City area. All of the articles at the BC4Women Blog focus on issues women face with and aim to lay out Biblical truths to deal with them (depression, anxiety, infidelity, caring for elderly parents, you name it!). I hope you’ll stop by sometime and check it out, and, in the mean time, I hope to be getting some new posts up around here too!

December 14, 2012

From Shock to Shame (Reflections on the Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy)

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 9:17 pm
Tags:

Events like the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook today are undoubtedly rare, but are certainly not foreign to us. Although similar events were happening before the Columbine High School shootings of 1999, that is my first recollection of such an event. I was in junior high at the time. Each of these mass shootings is tragic in its scope and senselessness-whether on a college campus, in a movie theater, or a classroom full of five and six year old little children.

It would seem natural that shock, surprise, and horror would follow such events. Within our country we are grieved at the loss of life and the pain that our fellow Americans are experiencing. As we hug our kids extra close today and the tears pour down while we pray, we are certainly mourning with those who mourn.

But I’m starting to ask a question in all of this. Past the shock of the event and the fascination with the ongoing news coverage, where is the shame? Where is the shame? We are all walking around asking “How could someone do something that unthinkable?” As we watch the criminal psychologists map out profiles and speculate on motives, we are all asking “Why?” Was he bullied like the shooters at Columbine? Was he mentally ill? But I don’t think many of us are moving past our shock, and bowing our heads in disgrace. In personal, shame-ridden grief that one of our own did this. We are too busy trying to find ways to separate this person from ourselves so that we can understand how he is not one of us.

Many would say that a sense of shame or guilt over the acts and deeds committed by another person would be completely unwarranted, perhaps even harmful. It would lower your self-esteem to feel bad about something like this. After all, you couldn’t do anything about it and you have no responsibility in what happened today. But I think that needs to be evaluated more thoroughly.

I believe that the lack of shame felt by individual citizens of this country as a corporate body is a prime indicator of the societal problems that allow for these events to take place. I think that when we are so disconnected as a society that we no longer see ourselves as responsible contributors to the events and outcomes produced by our society, that we are setting the stage for these events. Strong, interdependent structural bonds in society glue individuals together in such a way that promotes empathy, national pride, community, and dignity in ways that fight against these very acts. When members of society can become so disconnected (independent) from the effects that their actions have on the rest of the community, it opens the door for these senseless acts of violence that allow the perpetrator to commit absolute atrocities against another human being without an ounce of empathy. Although this article is not written on the cuff of intense behavioral science research, my years of sociological study seem to point in this very direction and I don’t think it would be difficult to accumulate data to verify connections between these things.

Second, as a Christian, I believe our lack of shame and guilt tied to these events, is an indictment on the callousness of our own hearts and the deceptiveness of the sin that permeates our culture. Why do we look at this tragedy in absolute horror, yet we still don’t think twice to allow those atrociously violent tv previews to roll through the commercial breaks in front of our children tonight? We’re crying over the trauma these kindergarteners will deal with that have lived through witnessing these events, yet we allow vivid and life-like blood and carnage to pass before the eyes of our own children day after day. Why are we so baffled at the lack of human decency and compassion from the instigator of this violence, but we don’t even notice that twisted sense of fascination…and dare I say *pleasure?*entertainment?* our own hearts exhibit as we read all the gory details and rehash every single angle of the drama possible? Why do we just shake our heads at the lack of forgiveness and the bitterness that some of these violent criminals have, and fail to repent of our own grudges we hold against our very family members over the most trivial of things? Why do we get all upset at the bullies and those mean teenagers and hateful youth who inflict such emotional damage on rejected, downcast, kids, yet we turn around and refuse to verbally express love to our own children or compliment and encourage them on a daily basis? Why do we continue to give our money to tv stations and shows that display sexual violence in front of us on the screen, and then get upset when a 17-year-old in Colorado sexually assaults and murders a school girl? Its not like he was lacking material for structuring the scenario! Why are you saying “amen!” and yet its flowing from a self-righteous heart as you see all of these things in the lives of those around you, and none of it in your own!

Where do we think this horror is coming from? Its coming from within. Its OUR society, OUR choices, OUR hearts, OUR lives, that are producing this fruit.

There must be a shift in our hearts. We must stop looking at the experts to tell us what was wrong with HIM. We must start asking: What is wrong with me? And we must, to some degree, begin to lower our heads in shame.

May the shame of this event lay us bear and accountable before a holy and just God. May we cast ourselves on His grace as we see ourselves as we really are. He is faithful to forgive those who run to Him. And He is just to forgive the most vilest offender. All justice has been fulfilled on the cross by Christ Himself.  He is the one that is able to expose the depths of the evil with in ourselves and grant us new hearts to walk in love, just as he loved us and gave himself for us.

December 8, 2012

The War to Love: Three Spiritual Battle fronts for the Disciplining Mom

Filed under: Uncategorized — by Whitney Standlea @ 8:34 am
Tags: , , , ,

Sisters, friends. I have been reminded of these things during the past week and share them in hopes that it will etch them deeper in my own mind and remind you of the weightiness of the task you have at hand. I have faced several rather difficult hours this week of back-and-forth disobedience between my two boys. Serious heart talks back and forth in the bedroom between the them did little to deter their behavior. When I returned to the kitchen (while food was long delayed in its journey to the oven and stove) I would immediately find the other one doing something foolish or disobedient.  These difficult moments this week reminded me of something that I loose sight of very quickly in frenzied hours like this: EVERY TIME I DISCIPLINE MY CHILD THERE IS  A SERIOUS SPIRITUAL BATTLE.

 

Let me briefly remind you of three areas of spiritual battle when you discipline:

Spiritual battle in your child’s heart
If you are disciplining a child it is because of the presence of sin: disobedience, rebellion, lying, anger, lack of self-control. Where there is sin, there is warfare. There is a battle in his flesh and in that moment flesh is winning over righteosness. The sin that controls that little child’s heart has a grasp on him that has “blinded his eyes to the Gospel of truth.” The sin being fought in that moment is part of the great war for his heart! Pray that the Holy Spirit would triumph over the darkness in your child. This is not just a battle for compliant behavior or righteous living. This is a war that your child would recognize his sin and trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of it and freedom from it.

Spiritual battle in your own heart
Let’s face it. A huge war of temptation is present in us as we discipline. A war against impatience, frustration, pride, anger, lack of self-control, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, malice. Its the fight to be tenderhearted and forgiving. A fight to talk and walk in humility.  I think my theme verse for parenting has become:

    [31] Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. [32] Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
(Ephesians 4:31-32 ESV)

Pray for yourself! Don’t let sin creep into your heart and out through your actions and words (and tone of voice) when you are trying to fight this battle!

Spiritual battle in the parent child relationship
Sin destroys relationships. As your child walks in sin, and you (potentially) respond in sin, there is a battle. The Enemy would love to attack the relationship between you and your son. He would love to build a barricade of bitterness, anger, falsehood, and pride between you and your child. He would love to tear away the trust the two of you stand on. Fight the battle against your sin when you deal with your child’s sin because sin can destroy the relationship you share with him.

Ultimately, It is a Battle for Love!

    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.(Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)

This is a battle for love! It is a battle for the love of God in the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to triumph over the sin in your child’s heart. It is a battle for you to walk in the love of God that He has demonstrated to you in sending His own son to die for your sins. It is a battle for love to triumph in your family as you fight sin with humility and foster love, respect, and trust between you and your child. What does this require of us, moms? It requires clinging to the beauty of the Gospel, walking in the forgiveness that God has showered us with, and patiently extending that love out to our children who are  sinners just like us.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.