Mark 1:11 "And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." ..........Oh, had I not been so sleepy I would have said it. Instead, I smiled to myself and felt my heart melt and then fill up to overflowing at the same time. "Thank you Lord. What a gift you are to me. How close you have kept your hand on my life and disciplined me when I needed it. I have tried so hard to parent as you would. Oh, that they would see your heart in us and embrace your will for them!"
All of this happened a couple of nights ago when one of our children came in to our room, long after we had buried our faces deep into the pillow to sleep off the day's heat. Standing at the side of the bed we heard a statement any parent would long to hear. "Thank you". That got our attention. Even if our eyes were only half open, our ears were now surely and completely awake. "I don't know if you will remember this in the morning, but I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for putting up with some of the things I do and not putting up with other things I do. Thank you for saying yes to me about some things I ask and saying no to other things I think I want to do. I have seen other families and some of their problems and I just wanted to say thanks."
Oh, I wish I had been fully awake to jump up and hug and kiss and hug some more. To say you're welcome and I love you and I am so proud of you. To confirm to this precious one that living within God's boundaries is where His infinite blessing is. That the enemy makes stepping outside look so appealing but that true wisdom is looking beyond the momentary temptation and excitement to the very real consequences of pain and regret. To say that to accept His limits now lays a foundation of peace and true freedom................ Instead we mumbled something I hardly remember and that was that....But sleep didn't come either. Suddenly many of the times I chose "no" with my children even with the fear of upsetting them, came ticking through my thoughts. I mean the times I felt so anxious, wondering if this was the one final "no" that would end our loving relationship and we would settle for being barely parent and child. Ruler and resigned follower. Master and subject. That chasm that lands between a parent trying to be a parent rather than a friend, and a child that thinks he wants to live with some "cooler" family because there aren't as many rules. Trying so hard to guide and lead them and let out the rope some, without letting go completely until the proper time. Some days it feels like the rope is pulled taught in a battle of strength.
But then there are days like this, when the child is caught holding the rope of their family by choice and conviction. Perhaps because they believe in the values enough to tie the rope around their waist for a bit with a double knot, just to have that sense of security and family. In the days ahead, if all goes right they will begin to pull their rope free of our hands and we serve them well to let go. They will stand for a time holding both ends of the rope. If they spend too much time like that, they will likely do a lot of tripping over the lack of an anchored end. "Please Lord, that they would anchor that free end of the rope to you and to your word. That they would see the freedom you offer and the anchor that keeps us from drowning when we do stumble and fall in." How many times can I remember feeling swept under and realizing that gripping the rope anchored to my savior was my only rescue. Knowing that the hands that hand-over-hand, close the gap between us, are His, not mine. He is the only one with the strength. How many times will he rescue me? All of them. Of course, when he has reeled me back in, there will be the discipline. I wouldn't want it to be painless or I'd be bound to repeating that same jump again. Deuteronomy 8:5 says "You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child. ".....And how much more our Father in heaven loves us than we are even capable of loving our own children. But how sweet it is that because we are his, we can sense his speaking over us "I am well pleased".......That the I AM is well pleased. So on this particular sleepy night, I am grateful for my own loving heavenly father and the limits and discipline he has wisely loved me with. If even occasionally, my own children feel the same, "Bless them Lord and be pleased."