This past week has been like the Plains of Abraham as my boys have been learning to fight. My 2 year-old is discovering vocabulary as though words were Fruit Loops dropped beside the cereal bowl. With his increased lexicon has come increased power to battle his older brother - a very proficiant talker. And so the stage has been set for some rather heated "discussions" where the occasional battlecry causes mommy's hair to stand on end. Although I know that their tendencies to battle are partly found in their maleness, I am also keenly aware of the increasing boldness of their sinful natures. As such, we have been working on "negotiating", "sharing", "kindness", "patience", "turning the other cheek", etc. I thank Lou Priolo for his fabulous book Teach Them Diligently, which has been so helpful in addressing my boys' behavior in light of scripture and the real issue at hand: SIN.
Well, in the midst of all the skirmishes I was growing more and more discouraged. I would mentally berate myself for not being loving enough, gentle enough, patient enough, etc. and blaming myself for their poor learning in "loving our brother as ourselves". In the middle of the week, our bible study met to study John 5 and I was gripped by verse 19, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." Jesus was saying that He copies His Father. This confirmed my greatest fears - my boys are learning all my bad habits. I've known this all along and this is one of the strongest motivations for me to pursue godliness. The power of a living example is enormous. Yet, I am a redeemed sinner, still facing the reality of battling my natural person, while on this planet. And so I remember that God is in control. It will be His miracle to save these 2 boys and to sanctify them and have them truly "love their brother".
As a piece of encouragement to all you moms, battling to be the example we need to be, realizing the necessity of God's power to accomplish that, listen to what happened in my home. So in the midst of supper prep, the boys seemed to have disappeared upstairs to play. I could hear the Lego clicking, as well as some murmuring. As I approached the stairs to investigate I heard my 2 year-old say, "I'm so sorry." To which my 5 year-old responded, "I forgive you". They resumed a pleasant playtime and I felt humbled. Thank you God for opening their eyes to the lesson. Thank you for letting me hear the conversation. Thank you for stepping into a home where mom struggles to lead but longs to honor you. Thank you for the lesson for me.