A Right Attitude – A Joyful Heart

I have noticed something new in our house lately: an almost-constant bad attitude in Kate. All day for the past few days, she continually disobeys, is mean to Caroline, and sulks or talks back when I give her instructions or correction. Usually, after a talk, a spanking, and a snuggle, she is cheerful and can more easily obey me immediately with a good attitude. This has not been the case recently, and instead it seems as if she almost immediately looks for ways to disobey or to do something spiteful to Caroline. Since I’ve noticed this, I’ve been praying with her more often, and I’ve been asking the Lord to show her her sin and her need for Christ. I want her to learn to be self-controlled instead of being controlled by her emotions or desires, but that alone is not enough. She needs a Savior! What a responsibility it is to point one so young to the Lord! I so clearly see her selfishness and her anger when she doesn’t get her way while playing with toys with Caroline. I see that she feels as if things are “not fair” or as if she’s not getting the good things that she deserves if I say she can’t have another cookie after supper. I can almost hear her saying, “I am so frustrated that I’m not getting all of the things that I want that I’m not going to pay attention to the other wonderful things I already have. I am so mad that Caroline wants to play with the same toys that I want to play with that I can’t enjoy actually having someone to play with instead of playing alone. I am so indignant that Mama would deny me another cookie that I’m not enjoying the cookie that I just finished, and I have almost forgotten that I ate it at all. The world is not fair, I am not getting what I deserve, and I don’t like it!”

I’ve realized, though, that I so often act the same way! I am so frustrated with the girls’ disobedience or arguing that I don’t enjoy or make good use of our time together each day. I get so angry that Bryan and I haven’t had enough time to spend alone that when we finally do have some time, I’m grumpy and distant and anything but warm and kind, and neither of us enjoy our time together. I do kind things for others out of obligation, and inside I begrudge some part of the time I gave or the money or effort I spent. I’ve heard from other moms that our children can really be gifts from God to help us in our own sanctification, and this is so true for me. Seeing my child’s inward disobedience (even at times when she is outwardly obeying), her selfishness, her discontentment, and her complaining has shown me even more clearly my own sin in each of these areas and so many others.

I have not only seen my sin mirrored in my children, but I have been confronted with it by my Heavenly Father. In the midst of an argument the other night, God stopped me in my tracks. I suddenly realized that I was arguing for my rights, for what I “deserve”, for what I want. I was suddenly aware of the anger built up inside of me and coming from my mouth. But God did something amazing. He stepped in when I wasn’t even wanting Him to. He changed my heart when I was selfishly wanting my own way. He filled me with love and compassion when a minute before I had been full of anger. He gave me joy when I had been living in discontentment, stress, and frustration. He reminded me the very thing I already know and have been trying to teach Kate: I can’t do this alone! I am so grateful for a God who does not leave me to wallow in my selfishness, pride, self-righteousness, and discontentment. I am so very thankful that He sent His Son to this world to die in my place and rise from the dead, triumphant. I am so thankful that he did not stop there, but that He constantly draws me closer to Himself and makes me new. Even when I pull back, He pulls me close again and reminds me of my need for Him. He shows me my sin and failure and gives me peace and joy because He has paid for it all! He is the one who can help me to “do everything without complaining or arguing” and to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:14, I Thes. 5:16-18) and who can help me teach my daughters to do the same. I can think of nothing else to say but, “Praise be to God!”

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 11:45 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is so profound and well written! Thank you Meggio!

  2. What a great testimony! What a great God!What a great Mom!

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