That was an accurate word to describe my child and the impact negative behaviors had in our otherwise peaceful home.
I grew up in a house with abuse. Raised during WWII in England, my father was damaged in ways he never recovered. As a child I questioned whether I ever wanted a marriage because home should be a place of safety. But I did marry. And I married a man of God who allowed the peace of God to rule his heart.
Yet even so, the idyllic home life I longed for eluded us.
In the midst of handling oppositional, disobedient behavior of my child with hidden disabilities, my heart was offered so many agreements with the enemy of my soul.
Unwelcome thoughts toward my child visited me:
- "If it weren't for YOU, we could enjoy this season."
- "YOU are destroying our other children's childhoods."
- "My life is a train wreck and YOU'RE the conductor."
It hurts me now to even write these lines with those most difficult years behind us, because the ideas they express couldn't be further from the truth. Satan and his minions know no limits when it comes to offering us destructive narratives that undermine hope, stripping it not only from us, but also from our children.
Learning to Remain Calm
It is too easy to react with anger when our child behaves defiantly. But learning to remain calm and respond through careful consideration in the midst of great provocation is a skill only mastered in the midst of vexation.
- "You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness." (NRSV, James 1:19-20)
- "If you have love for those who have love for you, what credit is it to you? for even sinners have love for those who have love for them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is it to you? for even sinners do the same." (Luke 6:32-33 CEB)
- "For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11 ESV)
Perhaps the season of discipline our family was in belonged to us as the parents, rather than to our child? And the sooner we yielded fully, the more our home reflected His peace, even as we trained our children.
Whether compliant or difficult.