Tuesday, June 25, 2013

God Disciplines Those He Loves

Disciplining my children is NEVER fun.  
But I do it because I love them TOO MUCH to not teach them right and wrong.

It's the same story with God.  

And one of THE MOST frequent ways God disciplines or corrects me is through a humbling experience.

Pride is almost always at the core of any sin in my life.  It isn't until He allows me to go through a humbling experience and my pride is shattered that I see my sin in a painfully clear way.

Over the past week, I've had several extremely humbling instances as a mom that brought me to my knees before God in humble repentance

They all had to do with wanting my children to "perform" for others.  One instance I wanted them to perform by displaying perfect behavior.  Another instance I wanted them to perform by flaunting their accomplishments. 

In both instances it was all about me.  I wanted them to make me look like a great mom.  I wanted them to earn me the respect of other people.  I wanted their performances to validate my parenting AND boost my mom-ego.

It's honestly difficult to write this.  It's so utterly humbling to admit that I have used my children to build myself up.  So incredibly humbling.

As you can imagine, neither instance went as I had planned or hoped for.  In fact, in both instances I was left looking like a completey cruddy mom.  As control slipped from my fingers, my ugly anger issue reared its ugly head.  I said things to my children that I should not have.  And I looked nothing like Jesus.

I walked away from each instance completely humiliated.  I was regretful of my words and actions.  I wanted to quickly rewind and redo.  My mind began to scramble for a quick fix to repair the damage done to my reputation as a mom AND as a Christian.  I also became utterly defensive in my heart and made pathetic excuses for my behavior.

However, the embarrassment and shame present after both humbling instances were eventually enough to finally bring me to my knees in humble repentance before God. 

I was actually mowing the lawn when this occurred, God couldn't pass up 40 minutes of teachable alone time with me, even if I was cutting the grass.

He tenderly showed me His purposes for these humbling instances...to reveal my sin of Pride AND to remind me of a story from way back in high school.

I played basketball all four years of high school.  My freshmen year, the varsity coach apparently saw potential in me because he started to groom me as a player.  He corrected/disciplined me often.  I can remember vividly having to run line drills after a bad game for every mistake I had made.  He spent time pointing out my flaws and mistakes and then showed me how to improve upon them. 

He viewed me as a valuable player and his discipline was a form of grooming and teaching me to be the player he thought I could be. 

But it all changed my junior year. 
He stopped correcting and disciplining me. 
He stopped pointing out my mistakes from the game before. 
He stopped showing me how to improve. 
He basically ignored me.  

And he didn't have to say it, his actions spoke volumes. 

I knew that the potential he thought he had seen in me didn't play out like he thought it would so he no longer felt like I was worth his time and effort. 

I understood that by not correcting, disciplining, and teaching me he was communicating that he no longer considered me a valuable player. 

I can remember wishing he would discipline me like I saw him do to my other teammates.  I can remember wishing he would point out my mistakes.  Because I knew if he started doing that again, then that would mean he had started valuing me again.

I knew instantly why God brought this life story of mine to mind.  And upon that understanding, the verses in Hebrews 12 came flooding to my mind.   

vs. 5-6 "My daughter, do not make light of my discipline, and do not lose heart when I rebuke you, because [are you listening?] I discipline those I love...

[And Renee,] vs. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for you because you have been trained by it.

vs. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees." 

[This is a continuation of the call in verse 1 where God uses the analogy of a runner and calls His sons and daughters to throw off everything that hinders...especially the sin that so easily entangles, and to RUN WITH PERSEVERANCE the race marked out for them.]

So what I heard God saying to me was this:

"Renee, I understand your humbling experiences this past week were painful.  But, I needed you to see the pride in your heart.  And because I love you and STILL value you as My daughter, I had to correct and discipline you SO THAT I could produce righteousness in You and so that your sin would not entangle you and keep you from running the PARENTING RACE that I have marked out for you.  And know this...I will never STOP disciplining you because you ARE valuable to me and I have a very special race marked out for you as a mom.  You are my daughter and I cannot let your pride continue to entangle you, trip you up, and inhibit you from this."

As I began to understand his discipline in those instances, I repented of Pride in my heart and thanked Him for continuing to value me and for not giving up on me like my basketball coach had.  

Friends, would you pray that God would continue to chip away at the monument of pride in my heart?

And let's ALL pray that our children will learn to understand that God's (and our) discipline is a very sincere demonstration of love for them AND always has a very constructive purpose.

Your love is demonstrated in discipline.  So, as hard as it is to say, I am thankful for Your discipline in my life.  And I thank you for the discipline my children have and will receive from you because it communicates that You love them and that You value them.  With all my heart, I pray they would have teachable spirits and respond to Your discipline with humble repentance.  I pray that through discipline, as painful as it might be, they would be strengthened and able to throw off the sin that so easily entangles them SO THAT they can run the race you have marked out for them.  And I pray that they would understand that You discipline BECAUSE you value and consider them Your precious children. 

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