I have been on the hunt for a biblical passage I could call my own– one that instructs and encourages me on how to live out all areas of my life. It was not a coincidence when about a month ago I stumbled across Joshua 1:9 which says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I needed this slap in the face (er, reminder) in nearly every area of my life. Lately I have faced discouragement in my parenting, for example. I beat myself up for not leading by example and teaching my kids how to offer grace to one another. I need to walk in the grace offered to me so my kids can experience what that is life. My self-deprecation isn’t the example they need… they need to know I have to go to God with my worries, just as they can do on their own.
The other night we had some friends over while a babysitter watched the kids in the basement. The babysitter mentioned that one of my children had used an inappropriate word and had told another child to “get the hell out of [my] room.” I was horrified. I am not a user of the word “hell,” but my first reaction was to scold her and tell her never to say that again. After a day passed, I wondered again about the scenario. I wish I had asked her how she thought he felt when she said that to him, or perhaps asked her what the word “hell” means to her. I wish I had suggested she offer an apology and ask for forgiveness from him.
The fact of the matter is that it’s never too late. All of these conversations and action steps can still take place. Ultimately, it’s the change of heart I yearn for from my God, and I want the same for my children. If I can model that process, the process of empathy, repentance, and forgiveness, I think I’d be helping my kids so much more than just telling them to watch their mouths. This parenting gig requires us to be strong and courageous and Jesus reminds us God is with us wherever we go.