Little A and I flew up to my parents house in PA for Thanksgiving this past week. It was a fun time, but she and I seriously butted heads over the issue of obedience. I had to spank, talk, time-out of few times, more than I usually do, but she was outside of her environment, probably overly tired for a few of those days, and of course was being catered to by her grandparents.
Here’s the scenario. We’re on the plane, have already landed safely back home and she starts messing with the arm rest. I’m telling her to leave it alone, she continues to disobey, finally, I told her to get ready for a spanking when we got off the plane and in the nearest restroom.
“No mommy, I’ll be good! I’ll obey. I’ll do what you say. I promise! No, mommy.” Multiple times. But I held my ground. We unload, wait for our checked bag from the bottom of the plane and by the time we get to the bathroom the promise of the spanking completely flew out of my brain. We’re in the bathroom stall together, ready to exit, and she puts her hand on the door, I say, “Sweetheart, let mommy out of the stall.” She shakes her head and whispers to me, “You forgot my spanking.”
I almost lost it. Her tender heart. If she was trying to make my heart break into a million little pieces, then it worked. She got the requested spanking and apologized for being disobedient and I squeezed her sweet little body close to mine and told her I loved her.
When do we ever come to our Father like this?
When we confess our sins, when we are humble and repentant, but when is that? When do we bow our heads and supplication and say to God, “I’m ready to be disciplined now.” It’s takes a broken and contrite heart–two things our Father will not despise (Psalm 51:17).
Today’s post popped into my head when reading Hebrews 12 this morning–probably a good chapter to memorize, but the thought bore itself into my brain when I hit verse 10:
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best;
disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness
Spankings, grounding, privilege deprivation can only go on so long, basically until we’re 18, but what then? What are our checks and balances after that? I often go back to a phrase my pastor likes to repeat:
We reap what we sow, more than we sow, later than we sow
Go ahead and repeat it a few times and you’ll be blown away by the truth of these words, there are natural consequences to our sins: debt, broken relationships, certain sicknesses, etc. But there’s something else: God. Discipline is His right as our Father, and it’s His privilege. As parents, as humans, even, there’s not a whole lot we have control over, yes, the way our house looks, the way we dress, how we conduct ourselves, our performance at our job, but when it gets down to it, there’s little else. Except, moving back to parent mode, if we look at the joy, the privilege and the responsibilities that go along with being a parent, we know that we do have the right to discipline our children. I’m not going to get into how, when, or why just now, although, this post might be helpful, but I want us to concentrate on the fact that this discipline is not only a right and a joy for our Heavenly Father, but we too should view it in just this way.
Our Father cares about us so much, that He takes His time to pull us aside, put us in time-out for a season to teach us a lesson or lessons. Sometimes it’s just a time-out, sometimes it’s a swift swat to our back sides and sometimes the sting can linger for a long, long time. I have to smile as I write this, because not only does He love us this much, he promises not to leave us or forsake us. We know that right outside our bedroom door He’s there making dinner for us, cleaning up, planning for the days ahead, He is preparing us and he knows what’s best and we’re ready to come out, He’s there to embrace us.