Today we welcome Blogger Rachel Gunn to Guest Writer Week at Breath on Paper.
When my sweet friend asked me to write a post about my favorite Bible verse, one immediately jumped in my head.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Maybe it is because I was fresh off a two and a half week holiday stint, day in and day out with my precious littles. But this verse was far and away my top choice. In fact, it has been a favorite of mine for the past few years.
Don’t get me wrong, my kids are well behaved and fairly disciplined for their ages. They are 6 and 9 and they fold clothes, set and clear the table, load the dishwasher, clean their rooms and have even managed to keep a fish alive since Christmas.
My kids are precious. But let’s be honest here. Kids are tough. I mean really tough. Even the best kids take a whole host of energy, emotions and brain cells to just keep alive, much less discipline!
So, my favorite verse these last few years has been Proverbs 22:6.
I used to think this verse basically said discipline, discipline, discipline. But as I have contemplated it a bit more, I see the hope in this verse. Yes, it tells us to train our children. And if you haven’t figured it out yet, training anyone for anything is hard.
But there are two things in this verse I missed at first and those are what I focus on most these days.
First, it says to train your kids in the way they should go. Now if you have more than one kid, or even know someone with multiple children, you know that they generally have very different personalities. And that is the way God created them. He also created them differently than all the other children in the world.
So as I parent my children these days, I have released myself from the burden of doing it the same way other moms do it. In fact, I have come to understand that God gave me these kids because I have what they need! And the same for other moms. When I see a mom going the extra mile for her kids – maybe she sends lunchbox notes every day, goes to every school function known to man, or she throws really big birthday parties – whatever it is, I can applaud her instead of resent her. God gave her children the mom they needed. Whether they need a strict scheduler or a free spirit, a party queen or quiet time lover, a Pinterest lunch packer or a Lunchable thrower inner, I can applaud them.
I don’t have to be them because God made me me and I am perfect for my kids.
The second part of the verse that I focus on – and I loooove this one – is the when they are old they will not depart part. One day as I was reading this verse, this part jumped out. It was right after I had picked up the seventieth pair of shoes that day, thinking “how is it possible that they don’t know to put their shoes away at this point in their lives? Have I failed somehow?” I have had this thought a million times about a million different little things. Keeping their feet off the table at dinner. Wearing long pants in winter. Taking showers on a regular basis. Putting their clothes in the dirty clothes. Washing their feet.
In fact, I sometimes wonder if they will really be able to function on their own. If I have truly failed as a mother because my kids can’t seem to get these basic skills. Then God sweetly reminds me of this verse. Specifically, when they are old. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon and success isn’t measured in the day to day (well sometimes just keeping everyone alive is counted as success). It’s measured at the finish line. In retrospect.
They don’t have to get all this stuff right now. In fact, God says it clearly, when they are old they will not depart. I’m not sure about everyone else’s children, but mine depart daily.
So for all my mom friends out there, relax a little. You’re the best mom they could ever have! Keep planting seeds of discipline, faith and prayer. God will handle the rest.
Make us a part of your daily reading at Breath on Paper.
Guest Blogger Rachel Gunn – I’m a teacher turned stay at home mom. I asked God into my heart over ten years ago, but I never really let Him have control. After years of letting God be a guest in my heart, I asked Him to change my life and he did. I never imagined how His love and grace could change my heart and my life! Read more of Rachel blogs at Recreating Rachel