Discipline isn't fun.
It's not fun to discipline our children. It's certainly not fun to be disciplined yourself. But when discipline is given IN love, it makes it a little easier to swallow. We discipline our children because we love them but its important to USE love when disciplining, not anger or frustration. I wish I could tell you I use this method all the time when I correct Ava, but, unfortunately, I haven't. I've been sleep deprived with a new baby. Nursing is a full time job. Period. But I don't want to make excuses for my lack of parenting in a godly way. I want to repent and seek the better way. Why? Because I have had such a great example of disciplining IN love, recently. I have been disciplined. Chastised. Corrected. In love. By my heavenly Father. What has He shown me lately that isn't pleasing Him? I want to share it with you. But please know this is what He's been revealing to ME. I am not sharing this to pass my convictions off on anyone else. I'm not condemning anyone. There is no condemnation in Christ. This all stems from habits that have slowly crept in on me and my amazing Daddy has ever so sweetly been revealing my errors, my flaws. I have them. I'm farrrrrr from perfect. FAR.FROM.IT.
The past 12 months of my life have been a combination of everything I dreamed of and nothing I expected at the same time. Our family has experienced one change after another and my S/I personality has been a little rocked by it all. I like structure and stability. I haven't seen much of that in these last 12 months from quitting a job at a company I'd been with for 15 years to becoming a mother of two, to my husband quitting his job for full time ministry. It's been a whirlwind. And honestly, since I became pregnant with Pierce, I have felt like my body was under a heavy spiritual attack, which has lasted up to the very present. Have I fallen back on every Biblical truth I know regarding the enemy's schemes and attacks? Have I lifted up my shield of faith daily? No. I have been utterly human and near sighted to my "problems" and what's been wrong with ME that I had slowly lost the joy and excitement I first experienced when God answered my prayers for quitting my job and becoming pregnant again.
I don't even want to list everything I have physically encountered because of the negative tone in which it would all be shared. This is where Correction #1 comes into play. I have been too negative. Complaining. I have not shown gratitude for all that God HAS done in these last 12 months. I have been so consumed with how I have been feeling that I haven't taken the time to praise Him for the blessings He has so graciously blessed my family with. Every single thing we prayed for, He has answered. What should we have to complain about?? Nothing. And tonight I repent. Forgive me Jesus. And I'm choosing to lift up a heart of thankfulness and praise.
Being at home all day, every day, has not been what I had expected. Honestly, how did our household run in any sort of order or efficiently when I worked full time??!! Maybe baby #2 and that whole process of being pregnant thwarted my intentions or expectations. I don't know. But I don't feel like I get much accomplished. The hours slip away much faster it seems than when I sat in an office 8 hours a day. There are more days than not when the house is a wreck, clothes aren't washed, dirty dishes are still in the sink and the bed's not made. New baby and nursing may account for much of that but still...
What God has been revealing to me is the amount of time I spend with my stupid phone in my face throughout the day. Every notification tone prompts me to pick up my phone to see what's going on. New emails. New Facebook comments. Oh, someone liked my picture on Instagram. Someone retweeted me. Scrolling through the Facebook timeline to see what's going on in the lives of everyone else. All while missing out on the life I'm living and the little lives right under my nose. Chastisement #2.
Do I neglect the needs of my children for the sake of keeping up with social media? No. Does Ava get my undivided attention every.single.solitary.moment.she's.talking? (That's a lot, by the way.) No. If I've said, "just one minute baby" one time, I've said it a thousand. Why? So I could finish scrolling through Facebook and catching up on everyone's posts. Does she need my undivided attention 100% of the time? No. But the Lord has been asking me what it must feel like to be her when she darts from her bedroom into the living room all dressed up in an outfit she's picked out herself, that doesn't match, and asks "mommy, do I look pretty?" and it takes me 10 seconds to finish glancing at my phone before I look up to notice her. I can only imagine that if she could really put it into words, she wouldn't feel like much of a priority. And that cuts at my heart. Deep.
And when Ava's at school during the day and it's just Pierce and me...He's nursing while I'm app hopping...Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Candy Crush. I'm stuck in a recliner with a baby in my lap. What else is there to do? Watch TV? Nothing good on and I don't get a lot of quiet so I like it better off. I softly caress the top of Pierce's head. I glance down at his sweet angelic face.
"You know he won't be this little forever, right?"
"Yes, I do."
"Then savor these moments My child. Five years from now you'll wonder where these moments went. Cherish them. Soak him in. Deeply."
And my heart is twisted like a pretzel. Filled with conviction. Filled with a touch of anger at myself. And at the enemy. Social media has the amazing ability to connect us with some great people - our families, friends, clients, potential clients, etc. But it has also had the deceptive ability to steal my time from what's most important. So, I really felt the Lord nudging me to eliminate my distractions. I turned off all of my social media notifications. No more chiming when there's new updates on my social media apps. No little red numbers rearing its ugly head at me when I look at my phone. No banners on my lock screen. My only notifications come from emails and text messages. So, if you need to get me in a more timely manner - text, email or call me. I'll only check social media sites when I'm available to check them...not when my little loves are in the room or when my hot hubby is home from work. I'd apologize for my lack of "liking" your photos or your posts or if I don't comment on a life event or situation that happened to you on any given day but in keeping up with your lives, I've been missing out on my own and that's the only thing I am sorry for.
Can I even express the amount of peace that such a simple thing like this has brought into my life within the last 24 hours??? OH.MY.WORD. You have no idea. Unless you try it. I dare ya. ;op
Yesterday Ava runs from her bedroom with such excitement and brings me a purple piece of paper that she has
written scribbled on and exclaims, "Mommy, I wrote a story!!! A real story!!!" And because I didn't have my phone in my face and my heart was focused on the right thing, I was able to connect with her, listen to her "story" and have one of the sweetest moments with her that I've ever had. I took her piece of paper, turned it over and asked her to "read" me her story while I wrote it down on the backside. I jotted down her name, how old she was and the date. Every writer has a first story. This was hers. And I wanted to have it. To save it. For that one day, years from now. Just in case she ever does become a real writer.
Her story began with "Ariel had a brilliant day" and ended with "Ariel loves her father very much." She told her story in a sing song fashion while she rocked from one foot to the other with her hands clasped together in front of her. Every now and then she threw in a little spin. Because that's what she does. :o) I can never have yesterday back. And I can't help but think how I could have missed her "story" if I had had my nose in my phone and just, nonchalantly, said, "yeah, Ava. That's great baby." She would have just grinned and ran back to her room to scribble some more. I would have missed the brilliance. I would have missed the love for a father. I would have missed the 4 other stories she "wrote" following that one. I would have missed so much more in her 1 life than the 25+ lives on Facebook. Her life matters so much more to me.
I'm excited to have more of these moments with my creative little bundle of girly-girl princess, ninja turtle loving daughter. I will cherish the full face grins of my little miracle boy while he nurses in my arms. I'll soak them all in. I'll engrave them on my heart. I'll feel my joy meter overflowing. And I can't help but think I can see my Savior smiling down on me and saying, "you have chosen the better thing My dear. Well done." He loves me. Because He loves me, He wants what's best for me. And it took His chastisement to lead me there. Oh how He loves.
I'm sure this won't be my last lesson learned through His loving discipline but until there's another one, there are stories to write and memories to be made. Joy to experience and love to be shared.