Wednesday, 9 November 2011

.:.Disciplining Kids.:.

This past summer after a week of kid's camp, a leader older than I, and parent himself, approached me and said, "Sarah, you're really gifted at disciplining kids."

Thank you, I think?

It got me thinking.... the point of discipline is restoration, not humiliation. Disciplining a child in the moment out of frustration you're experiencing, just because you need a few moment's peace is not the way to go.

That's reacting instead of responding.

When kids react poorly to a sitution, we often find ourselves asking why they are behaving that way. Perhaps they have forgotten who they are.

"We all have moments of spiritual amnesia where we forget we are sons/daughters of the King. It's not a matter of head knowledge but of the heart." -Michelle Anthony

If we're honest, our own poor life choices stem from insecurity, where we too have forgotten who we are, and our worth in the eyes of the King. And further honesty would admit that at one time, we were where those kids are.

Disciplining a child without providing a glimmer of hope about who they were created to be is pointless. Children know right from wrong - especially when they have been wronged.

The goal rather should be partnering with the work God is doing, helping each child see their potential and empowering them to make better and wiser decisions as they grow.

As a parent or children's ministry worker, you have a golden opportunity to facilitate and foster Biblical Discipline:
- a discipline that brings them closer to God rather than pushing them away;
- a discipline that embraces rather than shuns;
- a discipline that extends grace, over legalism.

"Grace understands that the only real solution for our children’s sin is the work of Christ on their behalf. . .  Legalism uses outside forces to help children maintain their moral walk. Their strength is based on the environment they live in. Grace, on the other hand, sees the strength of children by what is inside them—more specifically, Who is inside them." - Tim Kimmel

I've found the conscious parenting page on Facebook to be a great resource for similar daily reminders and some tips.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

By The Fruit

When I was younger, I used to think that God was up in heaven eating grapes while He watched our lives on a big screen TV. I figured that if He could see everything I was doing, and if He knew everything about me, then there must be cameras on me at all times. It then, somehow, stood to reason that for every good and bad thing I did, I got a check mark or an 'x' by my name on the whiteboard he held in front of Him. Where did I pick up these ideas?!

Over the years, I've come to realize that He is much more involved than I could have ever imagined. And He knows me more intimately than I know myself. Yet, when He invites me to dance with Him, I withdraw and protest, "But Lord, you don't really know who you're asking. I have stains and blemishes and I'll just embarrass you. You don't want to dance with me." As if He didn't know my faults. And He gently extends His arm to me and asks me to dance again, saying, "Sarah, I know those things, even better than you do, and I still want to dance with you."

This picture of an invitation to dance absolutely astounds me. How can He be so loving and gentle and pursue me with such patience? Especially if He knows how filthy and unworthy I am!
Why is it so hard to accept grace? For me, it's because I have to remove my pride, accept that I'm a sinner saved only by grace, and then accept that God is a bigger 'person' than me because I wouldn't have the love to do for others what He does for me. And that process is hard, because I'm a selfish, sinful person - I was born that way. (Reference to Lady Ga-Ga not intended.)

"The Lord works by the fruit of His Spirit." -Cal MacFarlane

And what are those fruit? They are found in Galations 5 starting at verse 22.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The Lord works by the Fruit of His Spirit. Therefore, what truly stands to reason, is that He is gentle and patient with us. There is no scoreboard, no cut-throat competition. He lovingly works through those characteristics and develops them in me.

By using the very traits themselves to work them in me, I experience what the fruit I'm bearing should look like in my life. I need to follow the Spirit's example. So whether I'm mentoring youth or teaching kids, I need to be participating in the work that God is already doing in their lives. I need to gently and lovingly come alongside in partnership with God. It is not my responsibility to make sure someone converts to my faith or my opinion of what they should be doing with their life. Instead, I need to bear the fruit of the Spirit, following the example of the Spirit's work in my life: patiently, gently and lovingly coming alongside and speaking truth.

God would rather dance with me than watch me from a distance. He would rather show kindness, goodness and self-control than their counterparts. My beloved works by His expectations.

Oh how He loves us so!

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.:.