In the Hard Places

Today it hit an unbelievable 65 degrees in Upstate New York. And what were my children doing on this beautiful, long-awaited spring day? They were both languishing in their rooms having a time out and “thinking about their behavior.” 😫

Having been unceremoniously marched back inside after a relentless spell of bickering, disobedience, and unkind words, both were now wailing at the unfairness of their consequence and bemoaning the “mean mom” who was, in their eyes, responsible for their misfortune. Spoiler alert: that was me.

Being the “mean mom,” is not a role I aspire to have. It’s not fun, in fact, it’s downright heartbreaking at times. And it’s certainly not a part of parenting that we like to dwell on; even in our crazy, social-media obsessed world, there doesn’t seem to be an appetite on those small white squares for red faces, tear-stained cheeks, and angry little fists.

But this right here, friends, is where parenting gets real. It’s here, in these hard, uncomfortable places that boundaries are established, character is formed, and little hearts are softened and molded. It’s in these hard life lessons that forgiveness and mercy are sought and found; and our littles learn something about the extravagant , unconditional love and unfailing, abundant grace of a Savior who waits for them to run to Him with open arms.

To all the mamas in the trenches today, doing this hard and necessary—but most unpleasant—work, I see you. And as you, too, wither under bitter, reproachful glances, feel your heart break over desperate and disappointed sobs, or despair at the consequence you are once again compelled to bestow, I want to encourage you that it will be worth it in the end. “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).

So dry their tears (and yours, mama) and settle in—we’re in this for the long haul. And, as we absorb their arrows, receive their punches, and bear the weight of their words; all the while offering grace upon grace upon grace, let’s remember this is kingdom work we’re doing—and one day we WILL reap our reward. ❤️

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