By Ashley Haupt
God doesn’t yell or shame us when we’re disobedient.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am for discipline, instruction, and the ever-molding process of these pliable little ones in my care. And sometimes you have to raise your voice to be heard over the noise. But not in the way I’ve been doing it. Not long ago I made a resolution to stop. I told my husband for accountability.
The very next day, I did it again.
And I felt despair because words are a heart-thermostat. I mentally replayed Ann Voskamp’s paraphrase of Ephesians 4:29 — Only speak words that make souls stronger.
My kids experience God through me. God doesn’t yell or shame us when we’re disobedient. He doesn’t shout or say to us, “What were you thinking?” or “Why did you do that again?” His discipline is strong, powerful, effective, and calm. Our disobedience doesn’t change how God feels about us. We need that grace-love. And so do our kids.
I’m storming the hallway again when I remember. I pause and think to myself, Only speak words that make souls stronger. I breathe deeply and open the door.
My 3-year-old, Abby, is screaming angry cries in her bed, body taut and pillow wet when I come in. I lie down beside her, smooth back bangs, wipe tears and nose. She looks back with wide eyes searching mine. I break the silence.
“Why did I send you to bed?”
“Because I was screaming.”
“Did Mommy tell you not to scream?”
“Did you disobey Mommy?”
“Abby, little girls need rest.”
“No, including you. You need rest, too. We have a fun night ahead, but you need to nap first.”
She relaxes, smiles, nods, and rolls over. I check in later. Abby sleeps, her body resting on the soft, firm bed and her soul resting on the soft, strong words. Grace words.
By His grace, may I remember it the next time, and the next, and the next.
Ashley Haupt is a pastor’s wife, mother of three, and daily recipient of grace. She writes about grace, gratitude, and finding God in the ordinary moments on her blog Little Pieces of Ordinary
This article originally appeared in the November, 2011 issue of HomeLife. Subscribe