The conviction of the Holy Spirit sure is a sweet thing.
Yeah, you heard me. Its sweet. Sometimes it's painful to hear what God has to tell me and sometimes I don't even want to hear it, but when I know my Heavenly Daddy has a word for me ... I am so thankful to know I'm still His and He is still dealing with me. If you've only known the kind of struggles I have faced in the past few months ... I just like knowing my Father is dealing with me.
Tonight my oldest was playing in the water fountain at church and she fell. She got hurt and was really upset. Once we got into the car, Joshua asked her if she was playing in the water and why. She didn't really have a chance to give him an answer, as someone called his name and he went over to talk to them. I asked her again and she got real quiet, and through her tears, she said, "Yeah, but I just wanted to drink out my straw." (Someone had given her one of those swirly straws.) I explained that straws are for cups and next time just use her mouth to take sips from the water fountain. She understood. And then I felt the Holy Spirit to say a little more.
"If you ever know you're wrong or that you've done something wrong, don't be afraid to tell me or Daddy. Okay?"
I was thinking about the fact that she is learning little by little about Jesus, about right from wrong, and eventually she will learn her need for salvation. I was 19 when I got saved, so I can't really relate with a little one accepting Christ. Sometimes we doubt whether or not a little one got it, because we do hear of a little one making a profession of faith but not really understanding it. (My husband was one! He just repeated a prayer because he knew it was right, but had no clue why.) However, all it took for me was realizing my lost condition. I didn't have to pray a fancy prayer, in fact, I don't remember much of what I even said. I didn't have to cry a bunch and skip in a circle ten times. I just needed to know I was lost and admit it to the Lord. I was living a life of self righteousness and I knew it wasn't enough. Plain and simple. My little girl is going to realize that she is a sinner, she is on the wrong path without Christ, and that she needs Jesus. She is going to be faced with a choice. "Do I tell my Sunday school teacher what I am thinking? Will Mommy and Daddy understand? Will they listen? Will they get mad?"
Let me just say when all of this went through my mind, my heart was crushed. I unfortunately do not deal with my kids in the same manner that God does with me all of the time. Sometimes they tear up something in their room or write on the wall and I lose it. I get upset because they've done wrong. They need discipline, yes. What they don't need is being afraid of me when they are wrong, being afraid of my reaction. So what makes me think when my kids are being dealt with about their sinful state, they will feel at liberty to tell me?
When I know I'm wrong, I will tell you what God does. 1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." You notice there isn't a bit where God yells at me and tells me how bad I've been. I already know. His Word already tells me and convicts me. He is just waiting for me to admit I am wrong. Now, there are days when I won't. There are times I mess up and I'm stubborn about it, so He has to use something to get my attention. He has to discipline me, just like I need to my own children. But never does He lift His voice. He lays out the rules, but it's ultimately my choice to follow them. If I sin, it's my choice to come to Him. He is ready, in that moment I confess, to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
God is the best parent. Hands down. His Word is THE BEST parenting book. Forget Dr. Spock, man. So as I am growing in my relationship with Him, I need to be learning my parenting skills from Him. By my own nature, I freak out over messes and I get frustrated when I am not listened to. I need to learn how to be more like the Father He is to me. He tells me the Truth, He deals with me when I am wrong, but He is ever so merciful and kind to me. He is so long suffering and patient with me, an unworthy sinner who fails daily. I need to be like Him, so my little ones will see His love through me,
Each of my little ones will come to that point where they need the Lord. They will realize they are a lost sinner and rejecting Christ will mean an eternity in hell. That is so painful and scary to realize, but it's the truth. When they come there, I want them to know that God is waiting for them to step out in faith and accept Him. I want them to know the door is always open. The way they will learn that is if they know they can come to me. They will learn of Jesus and His goodness through the way I love them.
I have various ministries I serve in within my church and I feel privileged and blessed to serve in each one. However, I have missed it if I fail in my most important ministry: my children.
I don't know if any of this will make any sense to anybody, but I pray it does. Either way, I'm glad my Father loves me, forgives me, and is still pricking at my heart.