I had a child tonight whose antics were irritating me immensely.
Again and again I went upstairs to correct and rebuke
and finally shut his door and turned off the lights
because he kept getting up and keeping his brother up.
Within five minutes I heard more action, and prayed for wisdom and gentleness.
Gentleness is not mine by nature.
And parenting makes me feel bankrupt of wisdom often.
Oh, how I need His help.
I climbed the stairs wearily at 11 pm, saw the lights back on, and the doors open.
I went into the sinner's room and said quietly,
"This is outright rebellion. You are in complete defiance of what I asked of you."
He began to cry.
I sat down on his bed.
He apologized for it, but excused it because he was scared.
I told him it was wrong to obey fear and disobey his mom.
I asked him what he was thinking about.
At first it was 'I don't know,' but after a few minutes
he admitted he was thinking about scary things -- monsters and stuff.
And I think the Lord gave me wisdom.
I opened his Bible and turned to Philippians chapter 4.
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true,
whatever things are honest,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report;
if there is any virtue,
and if there is any praise,
think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:
and the God of peace will be with you."
And then I talked to him about practicing those thoughts.
We began with thinking of and saying out loud things that were good -- 'God bringing Seth into my life'.
Lovely? -- 'looking out the window of an airplane and seeing the clouds brush the wings'.
Then I taught him the ABC game.
Naming something about God's character for every letter of the alphabet.
It's just an exercise in taking your thoughts captive. It gives you a framework for meditation.
You might even argue that David did it if you are a reader of Hebrew.
The Psalms several times use alphabetical acrostics.
My son's eyes lit up as he racked his brain for each word. We took turns.
'D' stumped him. I offered him a suggestion: Daddy.
He looked puzzled. "He's our daddy?"
I nodded, smiling. "The Bible says that the Holy Spirit puts it into our hearts to call Him 'Abba, Father'.
'Abba' means 'Daddy.'"
We read more of Philippians 4 together, and it ministered to me, too.
I wish I always seized an opportunity, instead of getting mad.
Maybe that's what redeeming the time is --
grabbing back the cause of anger or irritation or anxiety, and turning it into the right path.
I came downstairs at 11:30 edified and reminded to put my mind on things above,
and the God of peace will be with me.