You knew having a toddler would be hard.
You were warned incessantly by family members, friends, and even well meaning strangers about the terrible twos, trying threes, oh and basically just having kids in general. All of it was going to be REALLY hard.
But now you find yourself sitting in the floor of your laundry room, sobbing uncontrollably while your toddler also cries uncontrollably from behind the baby gate at the top of the stairs.
This is way harder than I ever imagined.
When did my sweet baby who only wanted to be held and snuggled by mommy become a chubby cheeked rebel who seems to enjoy making mommy lose her mind? How quickly our days went from singing songs, playing patty-cake, and reading books, to continual battle of wills and stare downs. To discipline and tears and fits on the floor.
I knew that my child would be rebellious. I knew that deep down inside there was a sin nature and he was in need of a Savior. I knew that Chris and I would have to discipline and train him up in the ways of the Lord. But I guess I just wasn't prepared for this battle to rage all day, every day. Sometimes every hour.
Yesterday morning Rhett had to be disciplined twice...before we even left his room. In literally 3 minutes he had already disobeyed TWICE. That's when I knew it was shaping up to be a FABULOUS day.
I guess it wouldn't be so discouraging if I was seeing progress. Or at least progress at a much quicker pace. But I feel like every day we fight the same battles. He touches the tv, he grabs my glass of water, pours Eli's bottle all over his toys, or throws a fit because he can't have blueberries (yesterday it was grapes...I wasn't trying to be mean but we didn't have any!), and he ignores me when I say no and doesn't respond until I get up to discipline him.
It's exhausting and discouraging to my heart.
I wish I could tell you it is all worth it and paid off, but I'm not there yet. I'm not on the other side with grown children to give you a pep talk and tell you it's working. No, I'm in the thick of it right now and all I have are the promises of God to cling to.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:9)
What I love about these verses is that they are promises. HeWILL NOT depart from it. We WILL REAP in due time if we don't grow weary. What hope this gives my weary heart! God, who cannot lie, is telling me and He's telling you, little momma, that the work we are doing, day in and day out, is growing obedience in our children's hearts. It will pay off. We just can't lose heart and grow weary.
Can I get a HALLELUJAH?! Oh how my heart needed to hear that.
“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” (Proverbs 13:24)
It doesn't feel like it (GOODNESS GRACIOUS) but the constant discipline going on in our house these days is still showing love to my children. I love (and hate) that word diligently in there. That is for sure the hardest part for me right now. I'm. So. Tired. Of. Discipline.
But as parents God calls us to be faithful. The only reason I am training and disciplining my children is because I want to be obedient to my Heavenly Father. I absolutely hate doing it in my flesh. On the days where it is so much easier physically and emotionally to just tune out and ignore the disobedience, I have to push through and be diligent in guiding my son's heart towards obedience.
“Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)
There is so much more at stake here than just having a child who listens to you when you say "No." How our children learn to respond to our authority and deal with rebellion will shape how they eventually relate to the Lord's authority and commands. That verse in Proverbs isn't pretty and honestly I don't like the way it sounds very much. But according to these verses obeying the Lord in disciplining my children will save their souls from hell. By learning obedience now as little ones, their hearts will be tender and ready to hear the gospel. The soil of their souls will be tilled up and ready for the planting of the seed of the saving power of Christ.
Now THAT makes all of this toil worth it.
My only hope for my children is to see them love God and be surrendered to His will. And by being faithful to train their hearts in the daily battles of obedience will definitely shift them in the right direction.
So to you, weary and tired momma of a toddler, I hope this encourages your heart. I am right there with you. This is hard hard hard. I am speaking these truths to my soul because I NEED the reminder on a daily basis. I so easily forget what is at stake.
Let's keep pursuing and laboring for our children's hearts. This is a battle worth fighting.