Sunday, November 8, 2015

Discipline, What does it really mean?

Today I am going to write about raising children. Yikes this is a heavy subject. I have felt inspired to write about this for various reasons. One of which is that my position in the church makes it necessary. My husband and I are in charge of the Pastoral Ministries in our church. Somehow God managed to implant the churches mission vision and DNA into our hearts long before we ever came to SOZO. The Holy Spirit is amazing in that way. That being said the things I’m going to write about are nothing new as far as biblical principles but they are often times ignored. Also they are often times spoken of without the aspect of grace (through which we have been saved and not through works). So soon I will be writing a counseling manual for those in our church who will be giving counseling to young families. My idea is to get some of my thoughts out here first to help me organize things. Hope you all enjoy and learn and grow in your walk of being a mother. As I have said over and over these principles apply to all moms Christian or not. They are laws written into the fabric of existence that no men can separate from. So if you are not a Christian (like many of my friends and family) read on and see if this helps you with any issues you may have with your kidos. In writing about this just like any other topic I write about I have to admit I am far from considering myself perfect or that I move in these principles 100% every day. But what I can tell you is that I try and I have seen the fruits of each one in the lives of my children. I know I’m biased but really my kidos are amazing!!!!! And to be honest I’m not the only one who notices. But really I can’t take a lot of credit for it. Ill speak more about this a bit later. 

I’m going to base this blog on Proverbs 23:12-26.  Normally I place the verses at the end but this time I’m going to put them here and discuss each one in detail. 

12. Apply your heart to discipline
And your ears to words of knowledge.
Ok mamas this verse is for you not your kidos. If we expect to discipline our children we have to discipline ourselves first. We have to be the example for our little ones, someone they can look up to. For those of you who do not have children and are not ready for this step, please wait. Our children learn by mimicking words and actions. Many times they don’t understand the meanings or implications of such words and actions but they understand that they "work" to accomplish something. Also we have to resign ourselves to be strong and stick to our words. This involves much discipline on a mom part. Many days it is just easier to clean the whole hose by yourself but if you have taught your children that they should be a part of that process it needs to be constant. How can we grow in our discipline? Well for me seeing results is what has helped me stay steady in discipline. The days when my girls come home and clean up without me saying so or yelling or acting crazy (yes this happens sometimes to), I know they are getting it and that I have been showing a good example. 
Now about the words of knowledge, recently there have been videos out about how everyone, including people you don’t know, wants to give you advice on child rearing. Ugg this is so true and especially here in Mexico. And lo and behold what am I doing in this very blog. The honest truth is that you can’t receive the ideas of everyone and think you can apply them all. First you have to decide what your principle beliefs are. If your faith is in God you don’t need to rub eggs on your sick baby or tie strings around their fingers. If you agree about the basic laws which God wove into creation then seek them and you will find your answers. This does not go to say that you shouldn’t seek help. Many times as mothers we run out of options and don’t know which way to turn. This can be a very dangerous situation. What this means is to seek words of knowledge. Look at the children in your life; are any of them how you hope to see your child someday? If so, seek out that mom. If you are in a church, seek out your leaders. And if you don’t like what you see in their kids, then simply seek out Gods advice. Read in your bible about what it says and let the Holy Spirit give you the words of Knowledge you need. You are never ever alone as mom. And if you feel alone please seek a knowledgeable voice for your life. There are tons of blogs, Facebook pages, ext. that can help to guide you. Just be sure to always filter what you are told through the bible and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If you dont have those two things to filter I’m afraid there will be some things that are just plain trial and error. 

13. Do not withhold discipline from the child;
If you [a]swat him with a reed-like rod [applied with godly wisdom], he will not die.
Here is the kicker. I know there are so many people out there today that want to say that spanking children is bad and will ruin them. But that is simply not the case. The version I am using is the amplified bible. I love this version because it returns to the original translation and writes out complete thoughts about certain words that just don’t translate. When you learn more than one language, you find that often times a word cannot be translated with just one word. You need a thought or a phrase to explain the word. Here they have placed in parenthesis around, applied with Godly wisdom. Wow this is so important. Later I will be talking more about anger but it has to enter in this part also. Spanking should never be done in anger. Children are born into a sinful nature once again due to laws set out since Adam and Eve. The thing is whoever thinks that children are innocent and don’t do intentionally do wrong, has either not had children or do not speak to their children. There is an amazing live stand up by Bill Cosby where he talks about exactly that. Here is the link for some good laughs. Bill Cosby Himself truthfulness of children
Child instincts are naturally not positive because they only think of themselves and what they want. This is not something bad it’s just natural. But they need to be taught and instructed on how not to be this way. Children are the best manipulators you will ever meet, and if you don’t believe this about your child you are most likely the victim of said manipulation. I am not saying you should spank your child for everything they do wrong but there are times in which it is needed. There are many situations where a time out is sufficient and in this you need to know your children and decide according to their personalities.

14. You shall [b]swat him with the reed-like rod
And rescue his life from Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead).
This sounds so extreme, right? Save him from hell!!!! Well yeah in reality that’s what you will be doing. Children have to be taught that people are not to be manipulated, that the world is not only about them and that they should love other people.  How can they love other people? Love is an action it is a verb. They also need to learn obedience. Many of the world wide problems today are because people think they should always get to do what they want and not what they are told.  Clearly any environment is better when creativity and grace enter. But there has to be a balance. Learning to submit to leadership and guidance is such a hard lesson. It makes it even harder if children were never taught to do so when young. Although it may seem harsh right now while your child is five years old think about how they will be able to keep a job if they refuse to submit to a boss. Thinking of the most recent reasons my children received a spanking was because they were treating their siblings in a manner that is not acceptable or because they refused to clean their room. Was I angry and flying off the handle when I spanked them? Of course not!  As a mom you have to be sure that discipline happens before you reach your limit. This enters into the mommy discipline that I spoke of earlier. If you feel your tempeture rising take a deep breath calm down then apply discipline to the child. 

15. My son, if your heart is wise,
My heart will also be glad;
16. Yes, my heart will rejoice
When your lips speak right things.
This verse gives me rest and peace. It’s so true. Like I said before the results of self-discipline are what encourages you to keep it up. In the same way that our Father God looks at us and is glad, we can look at our children and be glad. This is not a prideful gladness because we know that really God is raising our children but a gladness knowing that my child will have successful relationships and a pure heart as an adult. A fullness that is worth every effort you have put forth. My kids teach me so much day after day. At times their wisdom throws me for a loop and I love to learn from them. 

17. Do not let your heart envy sinners [who live godless lives and have no hope of salvation],
But [continue to] live in the [reverent, worshipful] fear of the Lord day by day.

Sometimes my girls notice that other moms are not as strict or do not expect as much out of their children as I do. They have asked me before, why does so and sos mom let them act that way. Many times this has been a great teaching moment. I ask my girls how it made them feel when said child acted the way they did. How did it affect the activity or play that was going on? Should we cause that kind of feelings for other people? The thing is kids that throw fits and act out many times is due to lack of identity and love (which will be in another post). Discipline is an act of love. It gives children security and helps them have order in their world. By living a disciplined life and thinking of others we honor God because he loves those "others" as much as he loves you. His love is an unconditional love. So I help my girls to understand that is why I discipline them. I do it out of love, and so far they understand and accept this with great understanding. 
18. Surely there is a future [and a reward],
And your hope and expectation will not be cut off.
Ahhh there is that peace again. In the midst of the turmoil of being a mommy we can rest in the promises God has given us. There will be a reward. Somedays we don’t see it, but others it is so evident. Again the fruits of your labor should be shining through every once in a while to give you this glimmer of hope for the future. And of course once they are grown and have their own children they will be a daily example of your efforts and of the love God has towards them. I love how it says your expectation will not be cut off. Because those who have received promises brought to completion from God know that He always goes the extra mile. Your expectations fall very short of what God has for your children. His dreams and goals for them are HUGE!!! Your children have a life purpose so much bigger than you can even imagine. We should be their launching ground. At our church we speak of parents building a platform that can serve as a roof for their children until the children can then build even higher. We want them to excide what we have accomplished in life and in Christ.
19Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way [of the Lord].
 20Do not associate with heavy drinkers of wine,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat,
 21For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,
And the drowsiness [of overindulgence] will clothe one with rags.
 Here we have to talk about the constant education and teaching that we need to be giving to our children. Since the age of two or three my girls have had a piggy bank which they save money all year long. Each Easter they are allowed to open their banks and spend their money however they wish. My husband and I give them ideas and make suggestions when they ask for them but otherwise we allow them to buy what they want and we never add to what they have. If they don’t have enough then they have to find something else. My oldest daughter is now 9 and you would be amazed at how wise her spending decisions are. We cannot just give, give, give and give to our children. When we do this we are teaching them that they can always get what they want. That even if they don’t have enough resources it will be given to them. Often times I look around and wish that my girls could have all the fun stuff I had as a kid. But also I know that because of all that stuff I had my mom went into debt. And I never thought I had enough. I got arrested for stealing at 15 years old and it wasn’t the first time I had stolen. The point is that going into debt to give your children everything you always or never had will not help them. My girls are happy yet sometimes they notice that other kids have things they don’t. But they also take care of the things that they have. They appreciate each and every gift in a special way. They have learned to make toys out of recycled items and how to appreciate those toys even more because they made them. I know I have a lot to learn here because often times my flesh sneaks in and gets envious of those moms who do give everything to their children. It’s a constant fight between my spirit and flesh but when I feel I’m not sure I remember to seek out the knowledge of God.
22Listen to your father, who sired you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old.

 How can we teach this part to our children? This is only taught but example. You cannot tell your children to respect you then speak badly about your mother... or mother in law (ouch). You cannot say listen to your father and then ignore any advice given by your own... or by your husband (your children’s father). Ok I guess you can do that but I promise you your children will notice the double standard and follow your actions and not your words.
23Buy truth, and do not sell it;
Get wisdom and instruction and understanding.
Ok so I have to admit this verse through me for a loop at first. I had to do some cross referencing about the words buy and sell. Because at first I thought well selling the truth would be a good idea right? If you do cross reference checking on the word used for buy in this verses it was often translated as seek, look for, search, or find. Ok so we need to be looking for the truth. This goes along with what we said before. It’s ok not to know everything and to seek out knowledgeable advice. And the word used for sell in other verses is used for gaining profit, for personal gain, or loving your own life more than Christ. Wow that is pretty powerful. We should not do all of this for our own personal gain. We need to do this for the love of Christ and for the betterment of our children. Child rearing should never turn into a selfish accomplishment. It’s something no one can do correctly without the guidance of our Father and to be honest this should be a relief. In this way we can also fall back on the Grace He has for us through Christ when we screw it up, which we will all do more than once. 

24The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who sires a wise child will have joy in him.

25Let your father and your mother be glad,

And let her who gave birth to you rejoice [in your wise and godly choices].
 So first off as a daughter still one my favorite things are to call and tell my parents of my recent personal accomplishments. I know my mom will be reading this blog and will feel a since of pride that she has done a work well done. I know my parents were not perfect the same that I am not perfect. But they deserve my respect for what they did accomplish and for the things I did learn from them.  Quite honestly we went through some pretty hard times as a family but I look at all my siblings and can see that my father can be glad and my mother can rejoice. In this same way peace enters in during the most frustrating moments of being a mommy. I can give it to God and know that someday and really in small pieces every day I will receive this promise in completion.
26My son, give me your heart
And let your eyes delight in my ways,
This verse reflects something I mentioned briefly before. All of this is possible when you truly give it all up to God. It says give me your heart. What is in your heart? My heart is full to the brim with my husband and my girls. So both of them I have to give to God. This is something I have done over and over and over again. My flesh always wants to return them into my control and my wisdom. But then the Spirit helps me to remember that I am not capable. But in Christ I can do all things. This means that I need to give my decisions, my self-discipline, and my actions up to Him. When we truly do this life goes so much smother. There is no guilt because I know Jesus covers all my sins and already forgave me for this current screw up. I can once again say ok Lord I give them to you, help me make the right choices. 

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