“You may not hit.”
“Come to mommy.”
I spend all day saying stuff like this to my two-year-old son Hudson—simple sentences that rarely get above three words together. That’s why, when I brought up the topic of gospel-centered parenting back in October, I admitted that I can find it overwhelming at times.
You see, we’re just trying to survive around here. If I can keep Hudson out of the pantry, get my afternoon nap, and keep the highchair tray wiped clean, it’s a successful day. Because Hudson’s behavior demands my constant training and discipline, the thought of trying to deliver mini-sermons on the wonders of the cross is enough to send me back to bed.
That’s why I’m so grateful for my mom’s encouragement. (Another reminder to me of why God’s Word in Titus 2 instructs the older women to train the younger women—we need it!) She has been faithful to provide a freeing and biblical perspective to her exhausted and sometimes guilt-ridden daughter: if I am faithfully disciplining and training Hudson to obey—with the ultimate goal of preaching the gospel to him—then I AM practicing gospel-centered mothering.
As Mom reminds me: Obedience is the gateway to understanding the gospel. An obedient child is a receptive child, a child who is prepared and positioned to receive the good news of the gospel.
For although it’s not intended as an explicit promise, this maxim of Scripture does hold true: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).
My two and three word sentences aren’t an evidence of my mothering failure (although there are plenty of those!). My efforts to consistently train and discipline Hudson are preparing him to one day (soon, I pray!) understand the demands of God’s holiness, the depravity of his heart, and the astonishing mercy of God.