When the bottom falls out

Did I mention we have three boys? Count them…three. Lots of testosterone in this house. On ANY given day you are going to hear me say the following…”Shhh. Stop jumping on the couch. Leave him alone. Will you all just be loving? Don’t wake the baby. Must you walk so loud? Let’s think of each other above ourselves. Use your inside voices. If you hit him with that light saber one more time, it is going in the trash.” Whew. I mean it..any given day.

I will say this. Yes, we have boys, but they are pretty tame for the most part. Energetic, yes. Aggressive, no. There is a difference. But last night, oh boy. Did I ever see the fire in the soul of my six-year-old. Let me paint.

All evening long, Grant had his nose in a book. He carried around three Star Wars books and everywhere we went he had them in hand. Well, come bath time, Grant asked me if he could finish his book before bed. I said yes. Without asking any questions, I said yes.

So come 8:30, I said, “Grant let’s brush teeth and get in bed.”
“But you said I could finish my book.”
“Yes, well how much do you have left?”
“Two chapters”
“Oh buddy, I’m sorry. You don’t have time tonight to finish. You can finish it in the morning.”

Three. Two. One. Meltdown.

Tears. Sobs. “But you said I could finish.”

Now, most days Grant is very even. Very pleasant. Quick to obey – most days. But, when he gets mad, it is all out fury. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12 Grant’s hope was to finish that book. I deferred his hope. His heart was sick.

A common verse I use in a time like this is Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.” But you know, Grant was burned and honestly I was torn on what to do. This verse sounded a bit cliche in the moment. I don’t think Grant had any peace to muster. I did tell him he could finish. But it was late and it was undoubtedly time for bed. After a good 10 minutes of crying and Grant trying to convince us that he could finish quickly, his crying turned to fury and fury to rage. He then just threw a fit. A screaming, kicking, arm flailing fit.

Everything then changed. It wasn’t about the book anymore. It was about disrespect, dishonor and self-control.

Poor Grant. He is such our experiment. First born. Is anybody with me on this? I feel guilty in saying that, but it is just true.

I am totally telling on my bad parenting this morning.

An HOUR later, he was finally asleep. (He could have finished the book.) Once he was asleep, I was exasperated and I started to pray for him. I went to my Parenting Handbook and looked up Colossians 3:15 that I so commonly use. I am always reminding the boys that our home is a “house of peace”. Christ wants us to “live in peace.” To be of “one accord.” We should “promote peace.” But, in a moment like this, for Grant, peace is really hard to come by. Peace is a work of the Holy Spirit.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body we were called to peace. Colossians 3:15

The Greek work for peace is eirene which means, “Exemption from rage and havoc of war. Peace between individuals. Harmony, concord. Security, safety, prosperity, felicity. Peace makes and keeps things safe.”

The root word for Heart in this verse is Kardia (where we derive our word cardiovascular – neat) and it denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life. The vigour of physical life. The seat of spiritual life. The fountain and seat of the emotions, thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes and endeavors.

Letting the peace of Christ rule in our hearts is an act of the Holy Spirit. To be exempt from rage and havoc in the midst of anger is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is a choice. Living in the flesh or by the Spirit – A choice. It is my job as a parent to shepherd Grant’s heart (the seat of his emotions) towards Christ. To point him toward peace. To teach him when he chooses Christ, over his flesh, he will receive security, concord, harmony. He will be safe.

The trick in these “teachable” moments is for ME to be ruled by the Spirit, as well. For ME to have the peace of Christ ruling in my heart. How can I point him toward Christ, when I myself am boiling over with frustration. And honestly rage at times. I don’t handle “fits” well. They anger me.

I’m telling you, parenting will expose your stuff. All my sin comes to the surface. But, I am so glad. I want it exposed.

Oh, I know I am talking in circles. I am learning as I go. I am sorry. I am so thankful when the Lord allows the bottom to fall out. It reminds me how desperately I need him. How desperately Grant needs him. How desperately we need His peace.

Lord, I ask your forgiveness for my anger last night. I ask for your forgiveness for not choosing to walk in the Spirit. Forgive me for being ruled by my flesh and my emotions. I ask you for your Peace to rule in my heart today. I pray You would be throned on the seat of my emotions today. I pray for Peace to rule in my house today. I pray for peace between all three of my boys. (They are arguing even as I pray this). Thank you for teachable moments. Thank you for being in control. Even when the bottom falls out.

Be blessed.

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