i would venture to say that the three most over-used words i say everyday would be,
"listen and obey."
it starts in the morning and doesn't really end until we're wrapping up the evening.
everyday before nap time, we go out back and play for about an hour.
a sample of this common phrase might go something like this:
me: listen and obey, please, miles. stay on the grass and do not run up the hill. you know the rules.
miles: continues up the hill.
me: miles, i said obey. mommy is fat and out of breath from walking to the edge of the patio, so i cannot chase you up the hill right now. please obey. stay on the grass or there will be a consequence.
miles: continues up the hill.
me: MILES. you did not obey. inside we go.
miles: screaming. flailing arms. full tantrum in force.
and so it goes.
there are times where he will "listen and obey" right away and i'll be so excited that my hard work is paying off. and then we have the times where it takes major consequences that exhaust me and make me feel like i'm failing at my job as a mother. i feel defeated. i feel confused. and a lot of days, i feel completely lost. i would say that learning how to discipline my child in a consistent way that is honoring to the Lord is probably the hardest thing i've ever done in my entire life.
you know what the crazy part about it is?
how many times a day does God ask me to listen and obey?
and how many [thousands] of times a day do i just keep walking up the hill pretending that i didn't hear him?
and then...how many times does he say, "look, there will be consequences for your actions...."
and how many times do i still walk up that hill?
and on top of that....how many times do i throw embarrassing adult tantrums because i didn't get my way?
you would think being that i'm almost 31 and about to give birth to my 2nd child, i may act a little more mature than my 20-month-son. but no....in a lot of ways, we are just the same.
i remember a few years back, i was doing a bible study at church about the cost of following Christ.
and one thing i learned right away that God makes no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
when he called his disciples to follow Him, he simply said, "come."
and they went.
they literally left everything to follow Jesus. they left their jobs, they left their wives. they left their kids.
one dude didn't even get to bury his dead dad.
he said, "follow me" and they followed.
you know what i would do if scooter left right now to follow someone like that?
i'd be on the phone in, like, 2.2 secs saying, "boyyyyyyy....you better get your little hiney back here and get your priorities straight. and if you don't come home with a mocha almond milkshake, you can count your dinner good as gone."
but these men....they just did it. they just followed him no matter what the cost.
they obeyed on the first time around.
i feel like as i learn how to parent more and discipline more, God is gently showing me areas that i need to work on as a child of Him. hard areas that i don't want to pay attention to. but i personally take such delight when miles obeys the first time around. my heart literally bursts with pride. and i know God just wants the same for me. so as i work on being a consistent mother that graciously asks my child to obey all day long, i am praying that i open my eyes more to the ways God longs for me to obey Him.
following Jesus is hard work.
(also. p.s. i would never talk to my husband like that. but i might withhold dinner if he refuses to bring me a milkshake.)