“Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.” Colossians 3:21 (Message)
Pages and pages of pictures flipped over as the newly arrived books were broken in on the sinking sofa cushions. Hours and hours of memories came alive off of those pages. Smiles and laughs and salty sea air. Sandy shoes and climbed dunes. Campfires and rollercoaster rides …their lives printed out.
The hours it takes to put those books together bleeds into day and weeks. Yet, all of the time and photos that are included in the final cut are a mere fraction of the fun we’ve had over that year of their lives. It’s getting harder now, as they get older, to find the time to maintain the tradition. Some of the others are fading into the background now, and time is speeding up so fast I can barely maintain the minimum requirements.
Is this how it is supposed to be? Does the feeling of being a first-time mom ever go away?
Today’s verse instructs parents not to crush their child’s spirit. I can’t imagine a crushing moment being included in any of those volumes. Yet, they’re there. They’ve been just as much a part of our days as the smiles we fight for. And it is a fight.
Parenting is a pendulum that swings from compassion to discipline. In the middle there is the perfect mix. If anyone ever finds it, let me know. Until then, the strategy is to cope the best we can in knowing we are not going to parent perfectly. There will be crushing moments. Moments that today’s verse reminds not to let happen on our watch.
What happens when we’ve crushed a spirit? Where do we go from there?
Remember the babe in the manger prophesied to come when He came. Remember the child raised by a mother and father, and a man who stepped into His calling at just the right time. Even Jesus had to wait on God’s will. He lived a human life for a long time before He began performing miracles and drafting apostles.
There is a reason He came to earth as a baby, grew up as a child …as a teenager! We won’t walk the earth in the perfect way He did, but we can trust that He’s been here.
When a crushed spirt is looking back at us, remember Him …and that we are not Him. Apologizing to our children takes the victory out of our enemy’s hands, and back into the hands of Jesus.
Even if we have to give ourselves the same pep-talk hundreds of times daily, keep enduring the apology. Keep going back. Keep trying. In due time, if we follow Christ with all of our hearts, the harvest will follow.
Father, Praise You for our children, and for the patience to have survived this much of parenthood so far. Thank You for the lessons that You teach us through the children we were meant to lead back to You. Forgive us for losing it -our patience, our composure, and our sanity -and crushing our childrens’ sprits. Repair what we cannot, Father, and may they always hear Your voice above all others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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