I had a typical parenting moment. You know, the one where your child does the same thing they know they’re not supposed to do that you’ve warned them about over and over and yet they did it again for the umpteenth time…? Yep, that one. Of course, upon scolding and showing extreme unhappiness at the occurrence, my child began to sob and go through the same spiel from the last bajillion times about how sorry they were, they wouldn’t do it again… You know the one. And I found myself saying, “I hear you. I know you say you’re sorry; You do every time. I am sick of hearing ‘I’m sorry!’ when you turn around and do it over and over again. You keep saying you’re sorry but then you don’t stop doing it, and I’m tired of it! It doesn’t really seem like you must be sorry if you keep doing it and not trying to change it!”
Then here comes the bolt of lightning, the light bulb above the head, the spotlight in my face… Boom! A little voice in my head says, “Sound familiar?”
I wonder how many times God has heard me say I’m sorry for the same thing over and over again, the same mistake I keep making and continue to have a hard time changing…? And the truth is, I really AM sorry, each and every time. But unlike myself and my child at that moment, I don’t have to worry about God getting fed up with me, fed up with my apologies, my tears and cries for forgiveness. I don’t have to worry about Him walking out on me in frustration or hearing Him tell me He doesn’t believe it. I have the comfort in knowing that He is there to listen and forgive each and every time, and He’s there to help me change it if I just let Him and try.
Now when my child(ren) keep doing the same thing, making the same mistakes, misbehaving, etc, I’ve found myself remembering this moment and, instead of flipping out and not validating their efforts and feelings, I tell them to pray about it, pray that God will help them change it. I want to be sure they know Who to turn to when they’re struggling with something and to know that He is always there.
I was quite proud of my son the other day when- after getting scolded for provoking his siblings- he told me he’s been trying very hard to be better, and he’s been asking God to help him. I have no doubt he’ll continue to provoke from time to time (it’s what kids do, right?) but I also have no doubt it’ll be less often, less unkind in nature, and also less of a pleasure for him. It’s these little lessons that make me feel like I’m doing something right, and thankful that God has entrusted these sweet souls to me. With His help, my kids will turn out to be amazing servants for Him.