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Why Discipline?

I was talking to a dental hygienist that was cleaning our son’s teeth. She mentioned that our son needed to brush better around his gums. He’s nine years old. I know he is NOT going to be able to pull this off without my help. So I told her that I would be the one to brush his teeth at night. She was thrilled that I would be willing to do this and that Silas was completely on board with that plan. Then she told me that she deals with parents all the time who don’t help brush their kids’ teeth because their child “won’t let them”.

Lately I have been dealing with some struggles. I keep bringing them to God and He’s not really taking them away. I don’t understand them. I don’t know what He’s doing in all of them. I feel helpless. But I keep talking to Him about it. He is giving me grace for each day, sometimes a moment at a time. But some moments, it doesn’t feel like He’s doing enough.

As I opened my Bible this morning, this is what I read: “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline-which all receive-then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore we had natural fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:7-11

If you asked me if I want to become more like Him…more holy, I would say “Yes!” And if you asked me if I wanted more peace and righteousness in my life, I would say, “Yes!” But what if I had to endure suffering to get that? It’s tempting to think that if we are living right, we won’t suffer. But God clearly says here that we WILL suffer and He will use this “discipline” not only to show us that we really belong to Him, but also make us holy AND to yield more peace and righteousness in our lives.

Somehow I thought that I could get holiness, peace and righteousness in more of a superhero fashion. That I would feel good about it during the process. That it might even feel cavalier. Nope. Not even close.

And guess what? Our kids aren’t going to be excited when we have to discipline them either. For some reason I thought they would be able to have the big picture in mind and appreciate my difficult decisions of choosing what is best for them over their own comfort and desires. Not even close.

So this was a good reminder today because, after 23 years of parenting, quite frankly, I wear thin more quickly than I used to. In some ways it becomes easier to ignore things. But, on the other hand, I have hindsight and a much clearer picture than I used to.  God will discipline them perfectly,  for their benefit.  But for the little while that I have them, it is important that I discipline them as well, based on “what seems good”.  Even though it is clearly not perfect, God calls me to do it anyhow and He will use it…perfectly.

*I’ve recently written a book called The Unhurried Homeschooler (available on Amazon) that talks more about the nuances of raising well rounded kids!!

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