Today I’m welcoming a new-found writer friend, Julie Dibble. You can read more about Julie at the end, but trust me when I say her heart for the Lord is clear… and it informs everything she does, especially her parenting. I hope you’re blessed by this story of Intentional Parenting like I was.
Have you ever wondered if your children are listening? I mean truly digesting all the half-lectures, devotionals and parental sermons?
Our youngest son is a pistol. His feet pushed my belly out on all sides. He danced in the womb instead of sleeping. If you haven’t already guessed, our little Jackson is also a strong-willed child. I find myself often thinking, His determination will serve him well in his adult endeavors.
Our house runs much differently today than it did a short three years ago. I am into my third year of intentionally learning, praising, and following our Lord. Prior to this, the word forgiveness was not in my vocabulary. My focus was to hold all rule-breakers accountable, so you can imagine how many consequences our feisty Jackson received in his young life.
Fast forward to now. Jesus is Lord of our home. He came to save all of us, who are sinners. For Jackson, this news hasn’t settled in quite yet. Sometimes muttering out of his freckled nosed face is the age-old sibling rivalry cry, “But Braedon never gets in trouble.”
Braedon is twelve, academically gifted, and obedient as the day is long. Jackson is ten, athletically gifted and finds it hard to submit to authority.
Slowly, in evening devotions, we have expanded the meaning of sin. Anytime we choose not to follow or trust God, we sin. Therefore, Braedon often has to ask for forgiveness for worrying and not trusting God. My husband and I ask for forgiveness for things like jealousy and judging others. Jackson struggles to say the words, and we help him understand Jesus will forgive as long as we ask.
Honestly, sometimes during devotions, Jackson is goofing off. Patience wears thin, and there we are as a family of four, frustrated and not honoring our time set for the Lord. As the night’s ornery behavior follows into the next day, you might see huffing and protesting and stomping of feet.
Is it sinking in? I wonder.
One day, after resisting his discipline, he took time by himself. After a few minutes, he came directly to me, wrapped his short arm around my growing waist, and said, “Mom, will you forgive me?” Hugging him tightly, my heart leapt.
Preparing this post led me to repent. Who was not trusting our Lord this time?
Sometimes when I arrive home after the boys are already in bed, I stand in the hallway and say a Bedroom Door Prayer:
Thank you for Jackson. Thank you for trusting me with his care. Please help guide him with Your wisdom. Please help Jackson stay on your path, Lord, to grow a desire to follow you out of love instead of avoiding consequence.
In Your Name,
For if we sinfully think it is our eyes alone watching our children grow and mature, we must repent. God is all powerful in every moment of time, and He knows our children’s entire hearts and souls.
As parents, prayer itself is an invitation to involve God in our children’s lives. When God sees our honest efforts at teaching things like forgiveness and grace, He will bless our families.
Thank you, Jesus, for loving us, helping us, and reminding us as parents we are not alone.
Carole here. It’s like I said, isn’t it? Julie encourages all of us by example. If this story touches you, let her know in the comments below. You can also share this post on Twitter!
Julie Dibble, MA is a Christian speaker and author who has a passion for truth and faith. Julie and her husband, Jason, live in Central PA with their sons, Braedon and Jackson. She writes weekly at her blog: www(dot)juliedibblewrites(dot)wordpress(dot)com. Julie commits to offering any of her blog posts as topics for speaking events.
You may connect with Julie on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Facebook.