|Pierce enjoying Jada's swim meet|
That's not what I always get or for that matter, need.
Just this week we had an experience that sharpened my character in Christ and for all practical purposes ought to be recorded to encourage others.
I was putting the kids to bed after a long day. If you are a parent you know what I mean when I say the following: it was like a battle...no a war. They acted as though they had never been to bed in their lives and that sleep was an unknown commodity, foreign to their little minds. Jada was long asleep while the boys were getting put to bed. Jess and I found ourselves laying with exhaustion in bed and discussing the events of the day.
|Ollie wearing his new goggles everywhere|
Not ten minutes passed before we heard footsteps. Jess grabs my arm and says, "sweetie, please be gentle." I obliged with my eyes (but my heart was far from gentle) and went upstairs, hoping swift action might encourage them to stay in their beds. I spoke with sharpness but no yelling. Thinking to myself the whole time, "I'm holding it together and not getting 'mad.'"
Pierce claimed he had to use the restroom so I am waiting next to the kiddy toilet waiting for him to be done and Oliver is just hanging next to me. With a bit more force I say, "Ollie, GO TO YOUR BED." Still no yelling, just firm.
Ollie looks me in the eye and says, "I will dad, but I must pray for you first." Then, placing his hand on my back he says, "Oh God, you are the ONE true God, and your love is our love because you first loved us. Right now my daddy is being very stern with us. Do you remember how he used to be gentle, like at the Greenfield (name of the street we used to live on until March of this year)? Please help him to be like that again. Amen" Then he puts both hands on my shoulders and turns my face toward his and gets right up in my face, literally his nose was touching mine, and says, "Dad, did it help?"
My wife and my children are the greatest tools of refinement that the Lord uses in forming me into the image of His Son. Immediately I was reminded of Philippians 4:5, "Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand." Be encouraged that God uses the littlest of voices to get our attention and sharpen our character in Christ.