Our daughters are the very best of friends, they play make believe, jump all over the furniture and erect forts whenever and wherever possible. This past week was back-to-school, which meant separation from one another for most of the day. On Friday afternoon, they ran upstairs giggling and playing all along the way. I didn’t hear from them until an hour and a half later (when they were STARVING and needed a snack).
Fast-forward to Saturday morning…
Palmer and I were moving furniture out of the house when we heard Abby’s bloodcurdling scream from upstairs. After racing inside we found Abby holding her head and Lucy’s arm covered in fingernail marks.
Like I said, they’re the best of friends.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this parenting thing is not for the faint of heart.
God, how can we teach our children to handle conflict? You say to “turn the other cheek,” but I need you to break that down for me…how in the heat of the moment can I teach my children to not hurt each other with their words (or fingernails, or hands, or…teeth)?
Better yet, Lord, teach me not to retaliate when someone I love wounds me! Teach me to not let venom come from my mouth when my pride is trampled upon!
Waiting with Our Response
Choosing life instead of death demands an act of will that often contradicts our impulses. Our impulses want to take revenge, while our wills want to offer forgiveness. Our impulses push us to an immediate response: When someone hits us in the face, we impulsively want to hit back.
How then can we let our wills dominate our impulses? The key word is wait. Whatever happens, we must put some space between the hostile act directed toward us and our response. We must distance ourselves, take time to think, talk it over with friends, and wait until we are ready to respond in a life-giving way. Impulsive responses allow evil to master us, something we always will regret. But well thought through responses will hep us to “master evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Henri Nouwen Bread for the Journey
Friends, I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to bed with an ache in my heart, and woken up the next morning to read exactly what my heart needed to hear.
Yes, Lucy hurts Abby, and Abby hurts Lucy. But Hailey also hurts Palmer, and Palmer hurts Hailey. The only one not doing any hurting around here is Brady (the world’s greatest golden retriever).
Jesus, help me to teach my children to sit and wait in their anger, create space for us to respond in a life-giving way. Lord, reveal to me how I am hurting others, or harboring unforgiveness towards someone so that I can approach your throne of grace and make things right.