She’s spirited and fierce, independent and strong-willed.
She’s an extreme extrovert who never wants to be alone.
She has a demeanor about her that commands attention.
She’s my daughter.
And she’s two.
Our second-born’s personality has been an unexpected delight and challenge. I love her enthusiasm and spirited nature, I love her determination and I admire her strong-will. However, I have spent many days fretting over how to raise and discipline my strong-willed child who seems to have no regard for authority or said discipline.
It’s often left me defaulting into my sin nature – using harsh words with her and losing my cool all too easily.
Much like an artist who chisels a statue out of stone, our parenting efforts can feel similar: tedious and exhausting.
God’s Word provides immense solace and comfort in our parenting journey. When I was at my wit’s end with my daughter, I happened to be reading through the book of Proverbs. On that particular day, Proverbs 17 was on the docket. I started reading and stopped at this verse:
“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” –Proverbs 17:27
Meditating on this verse as it related to parenting my daughter, it says I’ll use words with restraint if I’m knowledgeable. This begged the question, “What do I know about my daughter?” The scripture goes on to say that if I want to be even-tempered, I’ll be a person of understanding.
Once I considered these things, I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and on one side I wrote, “What I KNOW about my Toddler,” then on the other side I wrote, “What I UNDERSTAND about my Toddler.” Truth be told, beneath the “understand” section, I wanted to write NOTHING…ha! But I digress…
Here’s the picture of everything I wrote down:
This exercise was quite freeing for me – not because of what I did, but because of how scripture helped me better understand how I can interact with my toddler. It convicted me of my expectations that were unreasonable for a two-year-old while simultaneously reminding me of my need for scripture and how I can better demonstrate Christ’s love for my toddler.
Isn’t scripture beautiful how it can speak into every area of our lives?! Whether you’re a parent of a newborn, toddler, elementary-aged, tween, teen, college-aged or adult, scripture can help!
Whether in parenting or another situation – be it a job crises, difficult relationship, circumstances that seem daunting – I’d encourage you to sit down with this scripture and write out what you know about your situation and therefore what you understand about it. Once you have a firm grasp of those things, God can work in your heart to bring about the results that the scripture describes: words with restraint and being someone who is even-tempered.
Those results were demonstrated in my life with my toddler and I am grateful for a gracious God who meets us in our moments of anger, despair and heartache to gently correct and set us back on the right course.
I’d love for you to give it a try and share with me how God moves in your life!