Friday, October 9, 2009

Tough Love Sprinkled With Grace

The last time I babysat for the my little buddies was different than previous visits in that the boys, being in the year between 2-3 are learning and growing and blossoming by leaps and bounds! Big sister is also developing that incredible little brain of hers - she's just not as "out there" as the boys. She's quieter and you can almost see the gears turning in her head behind those beautiful blue eyes:-)

Sister didn't want to go to bed. I told her if she settled down and helped the boys settle down during a short video, she could stay up a few minutes later than the "babies." For 30 minutes I had to remind and redirect her as she continually engaged the boys in "dancing" and running around during the video.

I made the mistake of yielding to her request, even though she ignored my previous repeated instructions to settle down, sit down, and not get brothers riled up so they would go to bed easily. (They did anyway, thankfully.)

Sister and I worked a puzzle (twice) and she clearly grasped the "hints" I had given her on the first go-round about edge pieces and matching up pieces with the same colors in the them. But then it was bed time. She didn't want to go to bed (by this time she was overly tired). She didn't want me to leave her without reading several books (we had already agreed that if I let her stay up, she would go straight to bed without the usual routine because it was so late).

She was having none of it! She was not a happy camper. I am, however, a "seasoned" parent and pretty much a no-nonsense person when it comes to establishing who is in charge (kids vs. adults). Eventually, she wore herself out and fell asleep.

Where am I going with this? Well, big sister reminds me a great deal of myself when God doesn't "comply with my wishes." I can become pretty hard-headed and complain, then start to get upset, then yell and rail at God until I ultimately just relent and let Him "win."

I held up my end of the deal, big sister did not. We both knew the rules going in, but big sister didn't like the rules, once it was time to abide by them. Even though I felt sorry for sister, after she had worked herself up into a pretty big fit, I continued to remind her of our agreement.

I went up to her room several times to assure her I was still hearing her (hard not to!:-) and she carried on with a great deal of histrionics, that I knew were only making her more upset. But I had to abide by my end of the deal--I had to stick by my guns or the next time she would push the limits even more and act up/act out to a far greater degree. I felt sorry for her, but I love her too much to have yielded.

I'm sure God feels as I did that evening: sad that I am unhappy, even knowing He is being just. God always keeps "His end of the agreement." I'm the one who protests, fails to cooperate, and ultimately work myself into a fit when He doesn't yield!

I'm so glad He is a just and unyielding God! The world needs that kind of unwavering justice and love. I need that kind of fairness and certainty that I will receive His love even when I haven't earned it and especially when I don't deserve it.

I'm glad God loves me enough to always exercise "tough love" sprinkled with mercy and grace.

"Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD" (Psalm 34:11 NIV).

"what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children," (Psalm 78:3-5 NIV)


  1. WOW...GOD just used you to stomp all over my feet...well..entire body. I can definitely relate to little sister, too.

    LOVE YOU, andrea

  2. Mary,

    What a timeless post that we can all use a dose of God's knowledge in what is best for us at times is not necessarily what we want, but like you said, it's easier to manage if we yield to His will. We can never go wrong.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat