It started with a mom who dedicated her son to the Lord. A mom. And the Lord held him close, bringing to pass all the words that fell from his mouth. (See 1 Samuel 1-3) I want that.
I'm an optimist. I like to find the silver lining on that grey cloud pouring treacherous rains. But parenting is hard! Plain and simple. (And we aren't even close to the teenage years!) Some moments it's near impossible to see through the downpour of whines and disobedience. Often coming from my own wayward heart!
But I want my kids to love the Lord. I desire that they run fast after Him. I long for them to follow His will and ways rather than chasing their fleshly whims (which could easily lead them to prison).
Then I read of Samuel, a boy dedicated to the Father by his mom, who grew in faithfulness in the midst of a dark culture. Not only that, we see him juxtaposed next to Eli's sons. Yikes. Talk about a holy fear settling in.
Here's the bottom line. God's judgment upon Eli's rebellious boys was founded upon Eli's lack of restraint. Let me rephrase.
Eli's lack of discipline with his sons
eventually led to the Father's severe judgment.
"I (the Lord) have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever." 1 Samuel 3:14
Wow. That was no time-out on the steps for poor behavior. We're talking severe smiting action.
Discipline does not always feel nice. And I like nice. I can easily come up under a weight of mommy-guilt after having to discipline my child for the 489th time over the same offense.
But our kids need firm, consistent restraint. They crave it. Behind the insistent "no!" (said with a lip sticking out and brow frowned low), they want it. They flounder into the deception of self without it.
I fail--alot--on this discipline thing. I can get too emotional, be too sensitive, or react in the heat of the moment. But He remembers we are desperate for His guidance. He wipes the slate clean. And He honors the heart desiring to dedicate our children to Him.
Keep on, my parent-friend. You are not alone.