Though as parents we are called to train and guide our children, I am convinced that parenting is equally intended for my own transformation. Parenting has this way of revealing the "ick" within me--can I get a witness? I guess you are pressed to the edge of yourself and the tiniest of character detail comes out. And it isn't always pretty.
This morning I had to confess some parenting struggles before the Lord--things in my heart that affected my attitude yesterday. I realized that I had harbored thoughts of criticism towards one of my sons. While at church a friend asked how my kids were doing and I shared how "challenging" my three year old was being for my husband and I--this can also be termed gossip, ouch. Though the conversation ended I continued with a heart of irritation towards him. Every poor choice he made fed my thoughts of criticism and our clashing was sure. Poor little guy.
After his nap I apologized to him--for reasons that were a bit above his understanding--and he graciously met me with forgiveness and a hug. I was humbled. So today I got before the Lord trying to pinpoint the details, and He revealed my heart.
When we start thinking--consciously or subconsciously--that the weaknesses of our kids define their character, we set them up for failure. It is not that our thoughts hold innate power, rather our thoughts reveal who we are; and in such cases with our kids, our thoughts reveal what we believe about them, in turn what they will believe about themselves.
I am a baby on this parenting journey, but I believe this is true throughout the adventure of life: think thoughts that build others up rather than thoughts that tear them down. We cannot do it on our own--it must be through the filling of the Spirit of God--but He does empower.
Father, thank you for your great mercy and forgiveness, patience and love. I praise You.