There are times in my life where I see God teach me something, one truth that blows my mind and makes me see it in every situation in my life. Then there are the applications of that truth. Sometimes, that truth is applied to my life and I am then prompted to encourage my children to see God to apply it to their life. Those are not easy times. They are bitter sweet, difficult, gritty and God uses them to do some pretty interesting stuff.
I am standing in front of Johnny’s desk. The words “Take out your English book.” have suddenly plunged us into a fierce battlefront. Pitting him against me, me against him, him against the Lord, and me fighting to stay close to the Lord. We have been studying James 1 in our family devotions, and Galatians 5 in our chapel time in school. God has begun to knit those two passages together for me and has drawn me close to him in a way that brings wisdom and peace to my heart in moments of pressure. I praise God for this because it is only through him that this situation today became what it did and not what it so easily could have been.
Johnny felt very angry and obstinate. He didn’t want to do English, therefore he wasn’t going to try to learn it. He wanted to do what he wanted to do. His behavior hurt me. I instructed him to choose between two options: get alone with God and ask him for help to come back with the right attitude, or he could be finished with school (english was his last subject of the day anyways) and at three o’clock he could do his English assignment for homework by himself. He chose the homework. As angry as he was that choice did not surprise me, and I felt like he did it out of spite. Since he chose to do his assignment for homework, he would miss watching a movie with his cousins, on top of having to tell his daddy why he wasn’t finished when John came home. He was so angry, that he went into the house, in to his room, and slammed his door. (He didn’t think I could hear him) His long list of consequences now includes no xbox for the rest of this day.
Now comes the inevitable thoughts and questions, I am sure, as to why his punishment did not include a spanking or more time from xbox. I will answer that by explaining the reality of what God did in our house today.
Through all of this I felt a peace that truly passes understanding. To the point that I didn’t even realize it at the moment, I just didn’t feel frustrated or angry. This is completely out of the ordinary for me and I know that It could only be the work of the Holy Spirit in me. James 1:2-4 says 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Galatians 5:16-26 says
New International Version (NIV)
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Today I can’t say that I was actively praying the entire time and crying out to God for help. Ill tell you why. This morning I turned my heart to God, put myself and family in his hands. My desire was to bring him glory by remembering James 1 and living in the Spirit. We had just talked about the difference between living in the Spirit and actually walking in the spirit not an hour before. My heart was walking with God and the intensity of the battle did not make me run to my heavenly Father, it made me rest in him. I never felt like I was slipping, only secure in the peace. In that moment I was lacking nothing. Wow, totally cool right? Right!
I knew that while my boy needed discipline, he needed God to move in him and bring repentance. I implored him to seek the Lord, begging him to see the light God had shown me so clearly as to what his little heart needed. I was also honest with him about how I felt and what I was going to do about it. I testified to him the fact of what I knew God could do.
With tears streaming down his face he struggled with the anger, frustration, envy (he exclaimed how Kaitlyn had it easier than him.), and fear of telling his Daddy. He realized and admitted that he was living according to the flesh and that he needed God to grant him repentance and lead him to walking with the Holy Spirit. Then my precious little boy got on his face before God.
A short while later Johnny came out of his room with his English book. He had completed his assignment with no help from me. I didn’t even know he was doing it. Him and God worked it out together in his room. With a changed heart, an opened mind, Johnny finished his school work for the day. Then he looked at me and choked out the words “Im sorry Mom.” and we both cried and held each other. He cannot wait till his daddy comes home to tell him how God took his trouble and turned it into a testimony. His anger is turned into peace and happiness, his envy is gone, his hatred replaced with love and his broken relationship with his Mama restored! God is amazing! He is still facing consequences, but now they are constant reminders of something cool God did for him. When we count all our trials joy, and walk in the Spirit amazing things happen! We are now on our way to being Thanks for listening!