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Thursday, April 19, 2012

I don't want to let go!


Tommy and Alex are playing trains together around the corner and all is well. It's like being in a storybook, stirring a pot of Something Delicious for dinner, listening to the music of children laughing and "choo choo"ing, feeling the breeze through the kitchen window as it ruffles my apron.

Until those 3 angry words come out, "No! That's MINE!", followed by shrieking and stomping. Determined not to laugh at Tommy's tantrum, I grab the hand flailing a train around and ask him to look at Mommy. Once I have his eyes, I say, "Can you please choose self control?" in a sweet, storybook voice. I take a moment to appreciate the pretty apron brushing Tommy's shoes. Our eyes meet again, "Tommy, you may not snatch. That is a sin, called being selfish." I'm picturing the reenactment that we will do in a moment... Tommy saying "please" to Alex, Alex saying "wait, please" and moments later giving it to Tommy, or "here, Tommy" in sweet, storybook voices. As he calms down, my hand moves toward that train.


The choice I make here is important. To ask Tommy to give the train back to Alex or to take the train from Tommy and hand it to Alex?

Asking Tommy to give it back means a chance for him to disobey, leading to a second discipline session. And who knows how many discipline sessions it will take before he actually hands the train to Alex. It also means a chance of Tommy throwing it at Alex and having to hold Alex and care for him while disciplining Tommy for snatching, as well as throwing. There's my pretty apron again. Something Delicious needs to be stirred.

I take the train.

Tommy's feet are stomping. He's doing that weird quiet scream in his mouth. He's angry. He didn't want to let go and I forced him to. Now we still have 2 discipline sessions.

Something Delicious might be burning. I go take it off the stove and take Tommy and Alex to the bathroom to be disciplined (Tommy for being selfish by snatching, Alex for being selfish and using unloving words toward his brother). We go back to the playroom and do the reenactment. Of course, Tommy says "please", Alex says "wait" and I have to cut in after a few seconds to tell him that Tommy has waited long enough and Alex joyfully hands the train over and picks up one of the other 15 trains that are on the table.

What did I teach Tommy and Alex?

I taught Tommy that I am in control and that I am allowed to snatch. I taught Alex that the snatching must be dealt with before the closed-fist heart holding the train. Sure, I also taught that they were both being selfish. They were both sinning against each other, against me by disobeying, and against God. I did okay.

I also provoked Tommy to anger.

I sinned against God and Tommy.

Jesus died for that, too.

I glory in the cross now, days after this happened.


What if I had asked Tommy to hand the train back to Alex?

He would have hesitated. Would he get it back? It's important. Tommy needs to know he'll get it back. Or that he'll get something better. A lollipop. He'd trade up for a lollipop.

Would that be like God asking us to give Him everything? Does He force us to give Him things we want to hold onto? If we were able to willingly give all of our beloved problems, stuff, and sin patterns over to God, would our feet stomp? Perhaps at first. Would he give back our stuff, our situations minus the problems? The idols, no longer idolized, but enjoyed to the glory of God? Maybe.

Would he remove the fleshly desires and replace them with spirit-filled desires? Would He give us something better? Would He make us more like Christ? YES.

When I don't want to let go, do I receive a discipline session?
Does that thing I hold onto with my closed-fist of a heart tend to cause problems? Do I find that while I'm trying to enjoy it, something inside of me is ruining the joy? The Lord disciplines those He loves. How often does this happen before I finally let go?

When I'm being disciplined by God, do I have an angry, resentful heart? Or do I put my heart in the hands of God, who will mold it into something very much like Christ's heart?

Give God your train.




Trusting Him completely. And check your hands everyday to make sure your fist didn't close around something else.