I am honored to welcome my friend Nikki from Simply Striving today. Her words are always an encouragement to my heart. I know you will be blessed by her today as well.
The lower, even tone of my voice makes him aware. His bottom lip quivers as he blinks the hurt of regret away. And it takes all I have to persist through the pain my own heart feels. This tough love stuff is hard.
The questions start pouring in now as I have learned to expect. His 4 year-old curiosity astounds me as he nearly manages to leave me without words. Every. Single. Time. The striking blow this day:
“So, Mom, are you disciplining me or teaching me discipline?”
I look deep into those bright blues, trying to see where these questions come from.
“I’m not sure there’s a difference, bud.” I reply softly.
“Sure there is, mom. One of them makes me cry.”
Friends, there’s so much more I want to tell him. Oh if only he could see where this road of discipline leads. If only I could figure out a way to show him what a little discipline can do…how far obedience can bring you.
Don’t worry. I heard myself. My mind floods with suggestions:
- I could eat right. Unselfishly.
- I could discipline myself to stick to an exercising schedule.
- I could take care of the things He has blessed me with. With joy.
- I could not complain about anything but in everything give thanks.
- I could become less. So He could fill more.
- I could accept the consequences of my own actions and appreciate the discipline He brings. Even when it hurts.
Later that night when the moon flooded the house with silence, I read this:
“Discipline is the other side of discipleship. The practice of a spiritual discipline makes us more sensitive to the small, gentle voice of God.” ~ Henri Nouwen, Making All Things New
I read it repeatedly until it sunk in to the place He intended for it to linger. This makes me want to throw my list of disciplines away and focus on only one:
Because if there is anything. One thing I want to teach my boy it’s to hear the small, gentle voice of God.
The new dawn rose and so did I for I don’t like to be rushed with my morning prayer time. A while later, my boy skips down the hall to join me in my quiet place — a routine I’ve grown to expect. Only this morning, I didn’t rush into the next thing on the to-do list.
“Do you know what I was doing just now, bud?”
“Um, waiting for me?”
My smile cracks open as I see the satisfaction on his face. “Well, while I was waiting for you, I was talking to God. I like Him to be the first person I talk to each day. We talk about what today has in store, what I’ve thought about lately, we talk about you…” I let myself trail intentionally for I see his wheels spinning.
“Mom, what does He say about me?”
Oh yes. This is certainly the best discipline I can teach him. And what a gift my Redeemer brings me this day as I get to share how much God loves my boy. How much He has planned for him. How proud He is to call him child.
We decide right then and there to add prayer time as the first thing he does each day, too. And who knows. Maybe those other disciplines will reveal themselves naturally if I continue to focus on this one, most important thing. Because I’ve learned to expect: The closer we are to Him, the more everything else falls into place.
How about you, friend? How do you show your children the art of spiritual discipline? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for sharing your time with me.
Nikki is a loved wife, blessed mom, mere child saved by grace who strives daily to live like she deserves it.
She journals her thoughts on a blog titled Simplystriving. There you will find her journey of seeking joy in the everyday while simply striving to become all that God has made her to be. Because we’re all striving, stretching, sometimes struggling. Why not encourage each other along the way?