The Big "P"

Whew. Nobody said being a Mom was easy. Well, here it is:

My goldilocks has her mother's affinity for ink pens, markers, pencils.

But, suddenly, at seven years old, she also has an affinity for exporing new media upon which to write. Sat down after she went to bed last night and found her initials written in pen on my loveseat. This, after finding pen designs on her jeans. She convinced me it was old and I'd talked to her about it before. It looked fresh and unlaundered to me.

The last straw. The van, the bar with a permanent marker last week, her wall a few weeks before that. Now, my sofa. I'm thinking what I'm doing is not working. The whole "gentle" approach to teaching, cleaning it together, explaining.

First order of business this morning, her Dad and I decided that desperate times call for desperate measures. I needed to be unusual, hard, and a painful, memorable experience. This is beyond anything I've ever had to do with her before...usually just instantaneous foolishness. This is my loveseat...her initials.

I did not even want to go to bed tonight and start this day. Up until 1 A.M. I wrote her a little two page letter explaning the course of this activity and her punishment.

Her Dad said he heard of one Dad putting his kids in their room for two days...they'd never forget it.

I guess not. Geez. I don't think so. (Not yet.) But, not a bad idea. We decided that from 8am until noon, she would stay in her room. No yelling down at me. No trips out of her room for more toys. No trips to the bathroom except my hourly check on her.

It needed to be punishment at this time. Not discipline...we've been disciplining: correcting, teaching, understanding, empathizing. This is punishment. Something painful for a wrong, still uncorrected, unrecognized, continued acts of rebellion.

I hate it. I take no pleasure in it. I want to go hold her.

But I won't. No hugs, no sappy mom, no apologies. Just a letter read. No arguing, no yelling, no complaining. Punishment received. And yes, we know it's hard. As I told her, I hope this reminds you, and I never, ever, have to do this again.

She doesn't like to be up there all by herself even to play...very seldom will she play in her room without a friend. She sleeps there.

But, if she liked it, it wouldn't be punishment. I could think of nothing else. We talked about having her write sentences...she actually enjoys the writing! "Look Mom! How many more? Is that all?"

She's just had her birthday. Even taking away one toy left so many good options that that was a drop in the bucket of her daily pleasures. No feeling of punishment in that.

Anyway, there is the lingering questions for the mother: "Why?" Sinful nature? Adamic seed. Unreedemed, imperfect man. She needs Jesus. Okay.

Yet, one haunting realization this time for me? Obedience is an expression in love. Her understanding of love is not yet perfected as it needs to be, and that, I need to help her understand.

This occurred to me this week. A God moment, I think. I was in Wal*Mart with Red the other day, and he kept saying to me, over and over and over, "Mom? I wuv yuu. Higher dan da sky. I wuv yuu." (Mom's will be able to translate that). He was being very sappy about it. CUTE! Almost annoying so, I have to say, in a half whine.

But, then he started disobeying me, grabbing things, other shopping hazards, yet, still saying the same mantra..."Mommy...I wuv yuu!"

The thought went through my head, "No you don't. You aren't even listening to me."

I know he still did. But, I think, for the first time, hearing that phrase in an emotional frenzy, irregardless of responsibility or mental activity, in conjunction with defiance. It was feeling. He was wanting connectedness. But, he was not wanting to be there, be in his seat, listen to me, follow any instruction.

At that moment, for the first time, I realized and understood more fully the verse, "If you love me, you will obey me. " I said, "Red, did you know that God said that to love is to obey? Did you know you are not obeying me? I will know you really love me when you obey me."

Watch out! Will lighting strike? I mean, like...huge conviction and realization!

There comes a time for laying down allegience, devotion, emotion, connectedness...and walking with Him, living with Him, just doing what He's telling me to do. Enough "worship". Enough "praise". Get on with living the life of worship and praise. Obeying.

The words are meaningful to him, the heart is meaningful to Him, but when He's trying to get something done, and my "love" is hindering His activity of the moment! Truly! He wants me to get on task. Walk alongside Him. Be ready and active and willing to GO! Do. Listen. Obey. Respond.

Ever write something and your arms just start to burn with conviction it hits you so hard again?
"And a little child shall lead them..."


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