Before kids, I used to get so annoyed whenever someone with kids would say, "I've learned so much about God through parenting." It really was SO annoying, because I felt like it inferred that I would never learn that aspect of God without going through that same life experience. I was like... WHAT IF I NEVER HAVE KIDS?! Am I just going to miss out on better understanding that aspect of God? I also hated it when people said that about marriage... I felt left out and excluded. Anyways... sorry for the rant BUT my point is, I'm going to be one of those people today & I'm sorry it really chafes your bum. I get it. I understand. But I am not trying to leave you out or exclude you. I do not believe that God can only reveal this portion of himself through parenting... so please don't assume that's what I mean. But I can tell you this... the Lord is definitely using children in my life to show me His love for me as a kind father. He can reveal that part of His character in any way he sees fit, but to me, He's doing it right now through parenting.
I'll be watching the girls play together and I'm just overwhelmed with love and adoration, and the Lord brings Scripture to mind, "Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him" (Psalm 103:13).
Then, my heart breaks when my girls get mad at me when I'm simply not allowing them to eat poison, chew on cords, play with sharp objects, or simply tell them no. Really... it's quite dramatic when things are taken away from them. But then I hear myself say aloud, "It's for your good, my child. It's for YOUR good." And I'm reminded of His love and how often he's had to say no or take things away for my good, even though I didn't understand it. He whispers to me, "This is you. You wanted ______, but I knew it would be harmful to you. I didn't take it away because of spite, but out of love. For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights" (Prov. 3:12).
And then I see His kindness when I'm giving one child medicine and not the other. It's really funny. The girls love most medicines. They LOVE it. Like seriously adore it. So when I give one child tylenol and not the other... World War 3 commences and we have a stage 5 temper tantrum. It sounds horrible, but it's really quite funny. And as much as I try to rationalize with my 13 month old... she doesn't really care that she doesn't have a fever... she wants the dang drugs. And again, I see them and I hear myself whining to God, "You're giving them THIS and you're withholding from me?!" and He whispers, "I am the good Shepherd and I know my sheep (John 10:3), and I am the Lord God who is a sun and shield; I will give grace and glory; no good thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly (Psalm 84:11)." And I am reminded that the Good Shepherd knows His sheep, and He knows me and what I need and don't need, and He will NOT withhold good things from those who walk with Him.
I knew all these things before having children, but the Lord has made these things REAL for me as I'm acting them out. As I leverage my life for my girls, I am reminded of the ultimate Father who did more than just leverage His life for His children... He gave it away. When I delight in my children's smiles and giggles, I am reminded that I have a heavenly Father who delights in my joy as well. As I'm starting to discipline the girls, I'm gently shown that the Lord disciplines those that He loves, and it's out of care and kindness, not a rule-based system for kicks and giggles.
These things and so much more are truths that I'm being reminded of via parenting. And I am so thankful for it. I pray that if you are a child of God, you are encouraged by these verses listed above, because believer you are loved... you are so very loved. Yall have a great Tuesday!