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Dealing with Our Darlings
by Barbara Smith

When foolishness flashes repeatedly in our precious little ones, we worry something may be bad wrong. When they throw fits, fight, sulk, sass, screech, or try to take over the running of the house, we stare in disbelieve! We cry out: “What am I going to do with them? I’m desperate!”

Why are Eve’s daughters always surprised when our children act like their first grandparents?

If your child is testing the limits of your patience and understanding, let me encourage you. You have the wherewithal to restrain, redirect and even reprogram obstreperous toddlers, willful young children and even older rebels. Never forget that God hand-picked you to be their mother. (This is tempting when the arrows in our quiver act out our worst nightmares.)

Now, get a grip, Mom! If God made no mistake giving you a little rebel or two, then He will not send you unequipped to shepherd His lambs! God has given you good stuff to raise these kids!

First: This busy noisy stage will pass. You know this. You also know to count your blessings, instead of enumerating the troubles.

Second: The circumstances in which you find yourself are never as disagreeable as your reactions to them.

A parental “reign of terror” may quell childish rebellion, but it will not establish righteousness. When your little one gives up his or her winsome ways, when your children fuss and fight among themselves, remember yelling and spanking are not magic solutions. An angry, scolding mom can compound a toddler’s tantrums or a youngster’s rowdiness. Harsh words do not accomplish God’s righteousness! (James 1:20)

In the heat of any battle, make time now to recover your poise. Then figure out what discipline will get your dear ones’ attention. God will show you and give you the grace to lovingly and firmly enforce the training.

Enforcement is time-consuming and may be stressful. And on a given day, enforcing may be all you may do. If you had to salvage a crop from drought or blight, you would literally work your hindquarters off. So, never give up the duties to which God called you. (Review Deuteronomy 6, please.)

Third: Remember to keep your perspective! Some moms write to their children in prison, some have buried their little ones, and some simply don’t know where their sons or daughters are. If you can hear the racket, if you can physically impose a discipline, and if you still can point your kids to the Savior, be grateful!

Today, if your little lambs are unruly, and if your rod and staff have battle fatigue, go to the Shepherd. His word will minister to your heart and revive your strength – which is the joy of the Lord.

You may have read many good child-rearing books, filled with helpful insights. Now you must apply them as you work under the Lord’s direction to teach your child and train their character. “The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.” (Eccl 12:11 )

The psalmist knew how ornery sheep, even cute little lambs, were. He know only ONE shepherd could guide each one; that is our confidence as their moms: “From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands. (Ps 78:71-72) For it is the Good Shepherd who is always on duty! (Psalm 121) David’s heart’s cry was like ours: “Save my dear children and bless Thine inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.” (Ps 28:9)

Our hope when the little ones are rocking the house is that the Lord Jesus is in our midst, as the good shepherd: “Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isa 40:11) For the Good Shepherd is the Lamb, who is worthy and who comforts us in all our troubles. (Rev 7:17 )

Love in Christ,
Barbara Smith


© Barbara W. Smith 1999, all rights reserved
Permission is given to reprint any of Barbara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and Web site address.

Please send a copy of the publication to:
Third Floor Publishing
PO Box 827
Arnold, MD 21012

We hope our thoughts encourage you in the Lord Jesus Christ who has enabled us to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined -- please let us know what YOU think. E-mail us at workbook@toad.net. (Please don't forget to include your e-mail address with in the body of the message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient e-mail addresses.)




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