When a man’s ways please the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
The old adage saying parenting is the hardest job you will ever love rings true in this household. I have three young boys who are amazing. I love these young men more than I ever imagined possible and the relationship that my husband and I have built over the past decade plus still brings me to my knees with thankfulness. Even with all this, there are still many challenges in our lives, many that center around our children. Children can be difficult, irrational creatures. Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned about parenting is I generally do not have any idea what I am doing. The kids are constantly throwing me curve balls and I am wondering how we got here. I have some general ideas about how to approach these breakdowns, but there is no guarantee any of the ideas I have will work. Parenting is one thing I have discovered I need God in a big way. Some days would seem rather hopeless without Him.
Recently, I have felt God tugging at my heart to deal with the frustration I often feel, and way too often give into, when dealing with my children’s more irrational moments. Do not get me wrong. I do not think I was emotionally scarring my children from our interactions, but the stress level in my life needed to go down, and frustration with my children was often the cause of it. Honestly, I was not sure how to deal with the frustration that crept into my day. Over a period of weeks, God began to make it clear. It was actually quite extraordinary how He revealed it to me. It came in Bible verses I read. It came through conversations with friends. It came through in my quiet times. It was hard to ignore, but perhaps it was harder to commit to obedience.
God had a gentle suggestion. Rest in my calm, show them my love. Frustration was not going to help teach my children how to appropriately respond to problems. I knew this, but knowing how to respond in the midst of what are sometimes mind-boggling meltdowns was a whole different thing. Then, it began to happen. I called on the calm, the authority, and the love. I began to see the results. I began to sense ways I could avoid a meltdown in the first place. We still have times where it seems there is no end to the crying and fighting, but they are less frequent. More often than not, I am able to avert a bigger crisis by dealing calmly and firmly with the smaller things. Be assured, this is in no way meant to say what I did will work for your children, only you and God can determine that, but I pray it brings you hope. Hope for a future with less frustration and arguing. Hope for an evening where bedtime is not a three ring circus. Or, even if you are not a parent of young children, hope that God sees your frustration and will help you find greater peace.
When looking for verses in the Bible about obedience, I came across Proverbs 16:7. It says, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” It seemed to fit my current situation. No, I do not see my children as my enemy. I do, however, see the evil that creeps into our homes as my enemy. Obedience to God’s promptings has certainly brought more peace in my home. There was certainly sin that needed to be dealt with on my part. My anger and reactions to my frustration needed to be overcome, and God was the only way I was going to gain victory of any kind.
There are many factors that could hinder my ability to be obedient to God’s promptings, but in the end they are just excuses. God will give me the power to overcome the fatigue and sickness that has come with pregnancy, the stresses that surround me in my personal and family life, and the trap I of comparison I must constantly avoid falling into. None of these make me unable to be obedient to the words God speaks into my heart. It may be hard. It may take time to fully realize all that God is revealing to me. However, I have faith that there will be peace and hope during it all.
Do you have a blessing in your life that can sometimes seem like a burden? If so, I hope you are able to find relief, hope and peace when you give that burden to God. I pray that you can hear God’s gentle voice giving you instruction along the way. I pray that you are able to find peace in the midst of chaos and hope in the midst of frustration. Allow the truth of Proverbs 16:7 to help you be obedient to God’s commands and find peace over your enemy. Saying yes to His commands can be extremely difficult, and sometimes requires saying yes over and again. The blessings are worth it. Your situation may not change, but your ability to find help and peace from God will. Are you ready to say yes, no matter how hard the challenge may seem?