I woke up with a song already playing in my head, “How You Forgive Me”. It’s on the Enter the Worship Circle: Third Circle album. I searched Youtube for the song, but could only find the cover. 

My friend,  Rebecca, and I were talking about  our thoughts about raising our children. I have been taking a class called cooperative problem solving for the past couple of months. It’s specifically geared toward the explosive child. I’ve heard of this class for years, but couldn’t ever figure out a good time to do it. I think that was God’s timing. If I would’ve taken it a couple years ago I would’ve just thought, “Really? Parents lead, children obey immediately. No need to talk about it.” That doesn’t sound bad, does it? I’m pretty much in the camp of: do this wrong thing suffer this consequence- it was your choice, after all. Or at least I was in that camp. But guess what? I’ve had my 3 adopted kids for 5 years now and I’m realizing that my conservative Christian cling to the law sort of way is not working.

You know what else I learned? I learned that up until about 8 months ago I looked to God as my judge; the One ready to condemn me for whatever sin I was about to commit. Part of me had even stopped trying to repent, because I wondered what the point was. Why? I was just gonna sin again and again and again. Eventually everyone was going to figure out that I’m just a big faker. I could tell you that condemnation does not come from God, but conviction does. I could tell you many of the right thinking, but I didn’t believe it. Oh, and that verse about how earthly fathers having compassion so how much more should our heavenly Father have? Yeah, I didn’t really relate to that one.

One day in November my thinking began to change. Everything began to change. I was talking with an older man, a papa bear sort of man when he asked me what the attributes of God are. I said He was holy, just, righteous, he’s a judge, and maybe a few other things. He had been telling me how God is my Daddy and how He delights in me. How much He loves me, but I couldn’t really believe that very much. I mean, I know God is love and all, but it’s a hard thing for me to grasp. Exodus 34:6 says, “And the Lord passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…'” Gracious? Merciful? Some versions use the word compassion. The theme of this verse is repeated over and over again in the entire Bible.

Compassion. I never saw that before. I see it now and I see how much of it I am lacking.

Your kindness Lord, leads me to repentance.

The woman at the well. Jesus did not judge her. He loved her. The woman about to be stoned. Did He condemn her? No. Why did so many women follow Him even to His graveside? Was it because He punished them for their sin? Or is it because He loved them where they were, forgave them, and taught them a better way?

I want my children to choose the right thing out of their love for me, others, and Jesus, not out of fear of being punished. Besides that, you’re only punished if you really mess up and get caught, right. Oh, there are consequences to our actions, to be sure.

I’m not about to just let my kids be little hellions and rule the house, by the way. My heart is to love them and to create a home where healing is fostered instead of hindered.

That’s my hope for all who enter my home.