My middle child has spent a lot of time under the table. I mean that quite literally. Simple redirection has often led him into a downward spiral. Simply saying something like “sit up to the table and eat your food” has sparked meltdowns.
His meltdowns went in various directions, but they often ended in a final move -- trapping himself under the table. I dealt with it for a while in my own strength, but eventually I had enough! When I was at a complete loss, I asked the Lord for help. He brought me to Proverbs 19:20.
My son and I memorized the verse together. It’s taken us time and we might have to say it more than once, but as he says it, he now “owns” it.
"[I WILL] LISTEN TO WORDS ABOUT WHAT [I] SHOULD DO, AND TAKE ... PUNISHMENT IF [I] NEED IT, SO THAT [I] MAY BE WISE THE REST OF [MY] DAYS." (PROVERBS 19:20, NLV)
Praise God for scripture and the wisdom found in it. Reciting it with him can break cycles of defiance. My husband and I have watched the words visibly soften his heart as we say them together.
Have you ever found yourself at a loss in your parenting? I know I’m not alone. I’m now teaching my kids to own scripture and dependence on God as I learn it myself. They say desperation breeds inspiration.
Four years ago God gifted us with a highly-spirited, energy-packed and emotionally-charged son. Arriving just over two years after our daughter, he came into the world with force. Difficult postpartum healing and over two years of sleepless nights ensued. I cannot remember a night that my second slept well his entire first two years of life -- and that’s putting a positive spin on it.
Any self-confidence that we gained as parents of one was ripped from our naïve hands with our son’s birth. And when my husband and I already felt like there was no end in sight, God surprised us with a third child!
After several years of focusing on mere survival and dealing with tantrums and meltdowns in my own strength, I realized that God was asking me: “Are you ready to come to Me, yet?” The answer was yes, but I started out slowly -- intentionally praying for help. Those prayers grew to praying over my children. Then they expanded to praying with my children when I felt inadequate -- acknowledging my insufficiency.
As I’ve sought Him for help, God has brought timely and powerful verses. These Scriptures have provided encouragement and important lessons for my children, but even more for me.
"TOGETHER, WE ARE HIDING GOD'S WORD IN OUR HEARTS."
The progress and the small steps forward (we spend less time under the table now) restore my hope and my commitment to continue growing as my children grow.
God is faithful when we seek Him. When we walk in obedience and surrender. He just keeps showing up. He is faithful to cover our insufficiencies as we continue to surrender and learn to trust Him more faithfully. God’s heart is not for us to survive in parenting but to flourish, growing ourselves as we grow the ones who are entrusted into our care.
There is no denying the pain, the moments of exhaustion, and the moments where we are face to face with our inadequacies but he is there in those moments. May we continue to acknowledge our inadequacies finding the Lord Jesus himself ever present right in the middle.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for your loving example. Thank You for loving us in all of our inadequacies, insufficiencies, and failures. Thank You that You are patient with us. Thank You for accepting our cries for help that are often late and at points of desperation. We ask for your covering as we grow the children that You have entrusted us with. May we grow alongside them. May we recognize the beauty in the struggle. May we seek You as our source and answer in our struggle -- role-modeling for our children dependence and trust in You.
In Jesus Name, Amen.