I am the mother to 5 precious children--3 of whom are under 5 years old. Two have been through that age, so it's not like they skipped it. I've had at least two children under the age of 5 simultaneously for the past 6 years. I'll be frank friends--this age is tough for me. It is very demanding in every way. And I have only made it harder on myself by trying to runaway from the sacrifice required for this particular age span.
It is tough.
And my sour heart at every demand has only made it more challenging. Because demands get tiring day after day. My mentality grows weary and the natural reaction is to become annoyed at every need required of me. It is so hard to admit this, friends. Thus, this is the reality of my selfish heart right now, and this attitude only amplifies in my children.
I didn't realize just how selfish it was until I saw this season in a whole other light.
You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. -Rachel Jankovic, pg. 14-15
In addition, my reaction to things demonstrates to them my own heart for them, and friends, faced with this truth was painful.
So think about your language with your children. When they disobey, do you talk about your own hurt? Are you pointing to all the work that you have to do now they they screwed up?
Do you want to see them feel bad, or see them with a clear conscience so you can have a little snuggle tickle-fest? pg. 18-19
I love my children, but at times do not display loving actions. I am learning the hard truth about loving children -- it is not about a feeling. I know this truth, but subconsciously did not apply it to loving my children. It's not about cute faces and funny acts. It's loving them through the hardest parts of training and offering grace, rather than constant rebuke and disappointment.
I am always quick to point out flaws and mistakes, and ever slow to encourage and praise for good behavior and good choices. Why? Do I really believe my children will change using words that constantly tear down?
It is not as though our children are going to emerge from their current problems into perfect holiness if only we give them enough swats. They are going to emerge from one set of problems into the next, and that is good. That is the way of the Christian walk. pg. 23
Friends, it all begins in our own heart. This isn't new information, but the perspective shift [for me] is a huge one.
If I want my children to have a heart of submission, service, and sacrifice, I must must must have these things myself--or at the very least be working toward them.
This is where they see our example to know how to walk it out, but also? It frees us from having a plank in our eye so we can see clearly to lead them.