Monday, November 18, 2013

Sabbath Discipline(?)

I have a more serious post marinating in my notebook, but first, we shall open Monday with a question:

How do you discipline your kids on Sunday?

I ask because we encountered this parenting challenge yesterday, clearly right before church.  I'm wondering if I should just go ahead and blame myself because if I'd gotten Sophia to sing at the 8:25 am service like she was supposed to with her choir, the mischief would have been managed.

But I didn't and as a result, approximately 15 Barbies lost their hair and were tatted up with (washable) marker.  That and Sophia's church dress (and arms and legs) were extra colorful as well.  It wasn't actually her idea, although she could be recognized as a significant mischief maker in this house.  Actually it was Natalie, my TEN YEAR OLD'S IDEA.

Upon the initial interrogation questioning Nats said she didn't know it was wrong.  Just before her mother's head exploded, she did admit to knowing it was wrong, just not thinking before she did it.  Yes, I was irritated.  I wasn't in a rage, but significant lecturing happened.  Thankfully, the Lord has worked on me enough, so what happened last year wasn't repeated.  (Click here for that shameful rage fest.) As we watched Sophia sing for what should have been her 2nd time through, my spirit wondered,What Would Jesus Do about BarbieGate 2013?

I settled on banning all arts & crafts supplies from upstairs, so maybe that's equivalent to turning over the money changers tables. I felt the comforting pressure of guilt and shame cover my head and shoulders.  I feel that often as a mother.  I know it comes with the territory but does it have to?  (That's another post).  I know my Tyrannosaurs Rex-like behavior from last year isn't how to respond, but am I allowed to get annoyed at my kids right before church?

Am I allowed to lecture on the merits of thinking about things BEFORE you do them?  Is it too much to bust out Proverbs 3, 6 & 7?   Are there rules about disciplining your children on the Sabbath I need to be following?  It feels like it would be different on Sunday afternoon, after I'd gotten my praise on.  Should I postpone the hammer of judgement swinging till after lunch?  Also:

Should I be allowed to worship when I've fussed at my kids, and am still holding a grudge about the destruction of property? And,
Should I keep a a camel-hair shirt available for times like these? And finally,
Will my kids always commit their most illustrious crimes between the hours of 9-10:30 am on Sundays???

I found the answer I need during worship.  Not every one of my questions was addressed, but the most important one was.

In a series called, "Is Love Enough?" on the Book of Galatians, our pastor continues to discuss grace.  The answer to his question (and mine) is a resounding Yes - the love of Christ covers a multitude of sins.  That's an idea that permeates Scripture and leads me to declare that disciplining my kids on Sundays is ok.

Yelling and lecturing with personal attacks, not so much.  Holding a grudge, no bueno.  Bringing it up over and over and over again, expecting it to happen every Sunday is not the way to approach our pre-church time.  I can discipline and be angry without sinning.  I can react in a way that honors God AND teaches my kids about doing right vs wrong. 

It is going to take grace to do it.  In these challenge moments, it's going to a surge of the Holy Spirit.  It's going to take His love for people I have no love for (in the moment) to remember my kids are good kids; even 15 jacked up Barbies doesn't change that.

Certainly, getting there in time for Sunday School will help.

In case you have to deal with errant children on Sundays too, here is what I want to leave you with. If you yell, there is grace for that.  If you punish, there is grace for that.  Even if you spank, grace is enough.

God's grace will cover you as the imperfect parent you are and work through you next time.  Just ask for it.  You aren't scarring your kids, although they might have "funny" stories to tell about you later.  Grace will cover that too.

(And maybe you will feel slightly better when you hear about the time they yelled at their kids all the way to church.)

I'm sure I will have an opportunity soon to employ this grace in real-time.  That's what this life is about, after all - practicing grace.  Especially between the hours of 9-10:30 am on Sunday mornings.

1 comment:

Leo Lozano said...

I loved your honesty Amy, thanks for sharing with the world.
I recently oppened my blog at I hope I can learn from people like you to get better at this =p