Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wounding and Healing

Putting several small children down for a nap at the same time can be a daunting challenge. Generally, my children behave well at nap time because of the incentive: Only children who quietly go to sleep get after-nap treats. A homemade cookie and milk, a fresh, juicy Georgia peach, a slice of freshly baked bread... usually these motivate.

Lately Justice, my little three year old, has been resistant.

He desperately needs a nap every afternoon or he is crabby and falling asleep where he stands by six o'clock. But he does not relish the idea of slowing down enough to stay in his bed.

Parenting can make me feel tugged at, pulled from lots of different directions at times. I try to parent with grace, with patience and love. I do not enjoy disciplining. But occasionally it needs to be done. In love, and with consistency.

I had to discipline Justice this afternoon after he got out of his bed for the third time. I made sure to explain to him exactly why he was in trouble, and then followed through with two swats. I hate spanking and I hate when my children cry. I am perhaps a little too quick, most of the time, to put a child in time out, take away a toy or other privilege, etc. rather than spank. I reserve corporal punishment for direct disobedience and rebellion.

But after I spanked him, I reached down and hugged his little neck. I felt a little like a had a spilt personality doing this, but instinctively felt, even though it was awkward, that it was the right thing to do.

And then later I found this verse: "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal..." (emphasis mine)

Before you panic, let me put you at rest: I know this verse is about God, not me, and I don't intend to kill anyone. {smile} But I find it very compelling that the same God who wounds, heals. Where he afflicts, He also binds up. It is right for us to seek comfort and healing from the same source from which we received discipline and chastisement. We were meant to seek Him in all things.

And as parents, we are to discipline and comfort. Just like our Father.

I know this can be a controversial subject, as many have very strong views on spanking. I understand that. Please understand that I am in no way advocating abuse of any sort- physical or emotional.

But for me, sometimes I feel like I am supposed to be mad when I discipline (Mad about what they did, I mean. I do NOT mean discipling in anger) so I can't very well just go and hug them afterward. That would be like negating the punishment, right?

Wrong.

I don't know where I got to feeling like that, but it is good and right for your children to seek YOU for comfort, healing, assurance- after they have been scolded, rebuked, spanked. It is God's unconditional love that allows Him to wound when it is for our best, and also comfort and heal afterward.

Even if it feels hard, awkward, strained, I will purposefully love and comfort my children after I discipline them. Never should love and discipline be separated, for then neither can truly exist. Discipline without love is abuse. Love without discipline is not true love. Proverbs 13: 24 (NCV) says, "If you do not punish your children, you don't love them, but if you love your children, you will correct them."

Our God gives and takes away.
Wounds and binds up.

Our parenting can not be complete without both elements.

May He teach me to continue parenting with His love and grace.

2 comments:

  1. Well said. "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

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  2. Theresa- Yes. So true. I love that verse in The Message: " My dear child, don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It's the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects." :)

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