"Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
Today began ugly. I've been struggling with my eldest, and this morning was no different. On a good day, she and I merely butt heads. On a bad day, like today, I am often reduced to tears after I've lost it and screamed at her. It's a tough relationship, and this morning I questioned God's wisdom in giving me this child when I'm clearly not training her well or meeting her emotional needs.
Later, though, I listened to a CD on child training called "Starting Over." The message was clear -- I can't train my child unless I have a great relationship with her, and that won't happen unless I'm daily investing time with her and praising her. The speaker said that if I have 150 interactions with my child a day, 145 of them need to be lavish praise. Five of them can be correction, but they need to be blanketed in so much love that my child would want to please me by obeying. My praise-to-discipline ratio has been reversed lately.
The speaker also reminded me to find joy in my children, to laugh at their antics, to bring them alongside me during my day, and to be love their childishness. I was strongly convicted, because just an hour before I had barked at my kids to please leave me alone so I could have a few minutes of quiet while I wasted time on my computer. I'm hardly demonstrating love when I'm sending my children out of the room.
So tonight I'm claiming Nehemiah 8:10, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." I'm praying that he'll enable me to find joy in my children and to find joy in Him, so that all my parental weaknesses might become strengths. Here's hoping.