My sweet little 5 year old Ellie has been struggling lately with controlling her mouth. She will spout off the ugliest things to the people around her, including me. Today, after multiple corrections, and without a change of heart, I finally picked up our sad spoon and walked with her to our bedroom. She was asking me if I was going to spank her, and quite honestly I had no idea what I was going to say to her. I prayed for God to give me the words to say to help her understand.
When I sat down and met her eye to eye, the word fire came to mind. I was thinking about the verse in James that addresses taming the tongue and how it spreads fire. But the Lord guided me to explain to Ellie that when she says ugly things to people, its like burning them with fire in their hearts. We discussed how being burned with real fire hurts badly and that that is exactly how she makes people feel when she uses her words in a mean way. Then I asked her how she would feel if I handed her a small puppy. Her face lit up and we talked about how she would hug it and kiss it and that it would be soft and fuzzy, warm and cuddly. I explained to her that when she says kind things to people and uses her words to build others up, it's like giving them a puppy inside their hearts. And it makes them feel loved, like hugs and kisses do from a puppy. I held her little hands gently and encouraged her to give puppies and not fire!!!
And she understood.
What a moment for me. Last night I shared with my mentor how I struggle desperately to discipline my children in love. And she warned me that my barking orders and lack of love would create an attitude of rebellion. I could already see it happening. She encouraged me to 1)stop! and then 2)ask God for total and complete guidance and wisdom each and every time I respond to my children.
Today was day 1.
And I praise God for this moment with Ellie. Jesus was right next to me, telling me what to say, what to do, how to respond in love. I did what He said. And Ellie was trained in love. I was trained in love too.