This past week (in between caring for my poor husband who contracted a stomach virus) I’ve been intently focusing on the discipline of my three boys. It’s so easy for me to overlook or tolerate half-hearted obedience: children who comply (at least by the second command), but make it clear through a facial expression or body language that they don’t want to obey.
However, along with Brian, I am responsible to teach them to obey the first time and with a joyful heart. Because after all, this is the obedience our Heavenly Father requires.
So often my unstated goal in mothering is “peace and quiet” for me. (Although, I’m not sure why I think that’s likely with three boys!) But God has called me to a higher purpose in mothering—to train my boys to obey their parents so they will receive the blessing and favor of the Lord and so their hearts will be tender and open to the gospel.
Recently my mom pointed me to this quote a friend shared about Elizabeth Prentiss—author of one of my favorite books, Stepping Heavenward. This powerful description of this godly mother is worthy of posting on my refrigerator:
“With her children she was a model disciplinarian, exceedingly strict, a wise lawmaker; nevertheless a most tender, devoted, self-sacrificing mother. I have never seen such exact obedience required and given, or a more idolized mother. ‘Mamma’s’ word was indeed law, but—O happy combination!—it was also gospel.”
I pray that God will help me to be a faithful and “wise lawmaker,” but that my word would not just be law, but gospel too!