It was one of those days, and I was beginning to feel discouraged as a mommy. I had spent the morning redirecting, disciplining, revoking priveledges... and to no avail. There was no real repentence, and I had exhausted every child-correcting idea that I had in my toolbox. Every day, I ask the Lord to help me minister to our children in a way that brings Him glory. But, the enemy was whispering to me, lies about my failures as a mama and lies regarding the hearts of our children. On this particular day, I was talking to God (literally, outloud) and asking Him to give me an idea to train our second child in the area of problem solving without sinning. It was the Holy Spirit that prompted me to grab a puzzle.
"Bella, please put on your coat and shoes. We need to go outside."
"Why, mommy? Why do I need to go outside?"
"Come with me and I'll show you. I have a job for you."
I had the puzzle in one hand and I led Bella up to our mailbox. I dumped all the puzzle pieces on the ground. Bella looked baffled. Then I walked with Bella back to our house and I laid the empy puzzle board on the front steps.
"Bella, it is your job to finish this puzzle. But, you can only use your walking feet and you may only pick up one puzzle piece at a time. You need to walk to the mailbox, pick up one piece, walk to the front steps, and put the piece where it belongs in the puzzle. When you're all done, you may come back inside."
Bella began working on the puzzle as I watched from the window. I even managed to sneak in a few photos...
It took Bella about 10 minutes or so. She came inside, cold and a little irritated about the task I had given her. I sat on the rocking chair, put Bella up on my lap, and kissed the top of her head. I asked,
"Baby, did you like it when mommy told you that you had to do that puzzle outside in the cold, all by yourself, and you could only get one piece at a time?"
Bella shook her head no and scrunched up her eyebrows at me.
"I bet that wasn't much fun at all, huh? You could have been inside our nice warm home, sitting at our kitchen table, talking to Wubs, eating a snack and working on the puzzle. But instead, you were solving the puzzle the hard way- outside in the cold, one piece at a time."
I watched Bella's face soften as she listened intently.
"You know, just like that puzzle, when you solve your problems by pinching or using mad words or stomping your feet... you are solving your problems the hard way. It doesn't feel good to solve your problems like that, and you always always get a consequence, don't you? But guess what? God has another way for you to solve your problems, and His ways are the best! You can choose to sin or you can choose to obey God's words. Do you understand? You can choose the hard way or you can choose to give God glory."
*sniffle* Bella laid her head on my shoulder.
" I love you, baby! And guess what? I am very proud of you for working hard and finishing the job mommy gave you! You chose to obey!"
I was so grateful that God gave me the tool that I needed, just when I needed it! Every day, I am praying for creative ways to train our children; if you have any ideas to share, I would LOVE to hear them!
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."- Proverbs 22:6