Ever have a crappy, horrible, why did I get out of bed kinda day? Tuesday was mine. It started with lower back spasms and muscle relaxers. Then it turned into this:
“Mom, I have a headache.”
“Do you need me to come get you?”
“No, it’s okay. We’re on lockdown anyway.”
“Apparently there are kids with guns on campus.”
Meanwhile, my phone rings. It’s about the middle child in middle school:
“Your child is suspended from riding the bus for three days… “
And then when I picked up the youngest from Private Christian School, the teacher told me this:
“He can be such a good, loving child, but if I could’ve paddled him today I would have.”
So how’s that whole Parenting According to Amos thing going for me? I won’t even ask you, because most likely your children are close to perfection and you’ve just humored me in reading what I think God is saying to parents through the prophet Amos. Most likely your children get all greens or smiley faces on their agendas. Most likely your children live up to every single responsibility you ask of them. Most likely your children get all A’s on their report card (not even one ‘F’, not even one). Most likely you just pity me, looking down on me with a pierced mouthed smile, trying to let me know through your eyes that someday, I will be a better mother and everything will be okay.
But in the meantime I take this to heart–like God is telling me to straighten it up, to tighten the reins on my little family:
“Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you…against the whole family…”Amos 3:1
Oh and it doesn’t stop there either, because verse 11 says this:
“An Adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”
God was speaking of the Assyrians at the time, but now, I consider my adversary Satan himself. And yes, he is sapping my strength and yes, he is plundering my palace. My child was held in a classroom for 2 hours yesterday so the 10 police cars full of officers could search students class by class. (There were kids peeing in bottles in the corners of rooms–no kidding. I have photographic evidence, but I’ll spare you.) My boys are forgetting their manners, and what obedience is, and how important honesty is to our family, and to God.
But I am reminded that the Adversary is the real enemy, from the beginning of my life to the end of my children’s. I must discipline my kids, I must teach them a better way of life. I must teach them to fight from a place of Victory in Christ, because if I don’t stop the disobedience now–if we don’t teach our kids honesty, responsibility, respect–then one of our kids could be the one at school with a gun.
When God speaks of disciplining his chosen people of Israel in the book of Amos it’s because he knows the possibility of the outcome if he didn’t. We can’t ignore the possible outcomes in our own kids lives.
What are some ways you need to stand firm against the ADVERSARY and not allow him to sap your strength?
What is your worst day ever with your kids?
Share with me!
“For three sins…even four, I will not turn back my wrath.”
My husband can be quite the funny guy. Sometimes, when the kids come home from school he will tell one of them that he got a call from the teacher and wants to know what happened. Whichever child he chooses to pick on gets a deer-in-the-headlight- look, obviously combing every memory of the day gone by to see if there is anything they possibly could have done to warrant a phone call. After a few moments the poor victim of the practical joke finally realize they’ve done nothing and everyone starts laughing. Except this one time, when my middle child was in second grade, he confessed to pushing a girl at recess. Even now, six years later, we all laugh about how what was intended for a joke turned out to be a time of confession.
We always have those moments with our kids when we really have to call them out on their behavior. To me, it’s the most dreaded time of parenting. In the first chapters of Amos we see God calling out the Nations of Israel sin by sin. Their sins boiled down to absence of worship of God and absence of justice. But the sins were many: violence, sending friends into exile, broken promises, lack of mercy, extensive anger, greed, disrespect, disobedience, stealing, mistreatment of the poor and sexual immorality. My guess if you really looked at this list, your family struggles with much of the same. Siblings hitting each other, friends being mistreated, anger issues among the youngest, disrespect toward parents and flat out disobedience of what you’ve asked to be done.
Most parents make excuses for their kids: they’re tired, they’ve had a rough day, they didn’t really mean it. We don’t want to see our kids suffer and most of the time it takes a commitment from us to follow through with discipline. Anyone who has ever grounded a child knows that it’s more punishment for ourselves than it is for the child. Who wants to deal with that?
But God dealt very seriously with his people when it came to their behavior. Time and again we see God deliver his message through Amos:
“I will not turn away its punishment”
God called them out on their sin, and explained specifically how he was going to handle it: I will send fire, I will cut off, I shall devour palaces, the strong shall not strengthen his power. God says, “I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
The word punishment has become taboo in the last decade. We should never punish a child, only discipline. Punishment has become a dirty word meaning violence and harshness. Discipline or punishment, whatever you want to call it, God was making himself very clear. He would not tolerate the Israelites behavior any longer. And it would require drastic actions to put his children back in their place.
Same is true for us. There are times we must be drastic in the way we discipline our children so that they really get the message and understand who is the authority. So many families, maybe even yours, are living out of balance because your children have too much power. What they want, what they say is what goes. This is what the Israelites thought, too.
God is clear with us, his children, that He is the authority and that he sets that standard. There is no grey area. And although God deals with us gently, he also deals with us with tremendous justice. We should desire to parent our children by His example to us.
Share with me:
Is God your authority and standard?
Where did you learn your parenting skills from?
Do your kids have too much say-so in your home?
What does the word discipline or punishment mean to you?
She’s finally driving. My daughter turned 15 nine months ago and I finally talked her into getting her permit. She has no intentions of using it, well not often anyway. I pretty much make her drive, or make it sound exciting enough that she wants to. Then she starts down the road, stresses at every light and turn and hates it…every minute of it. She is likely to have a heart attack by 17 if she continues at this pace.
I was emphasizing the importance of a turn signal and when to use it. “Yes, even if you are in a turn lane, you need to have your blinker on.” Followed by the question, “How exactly DID you get your permit?”
Answered with, “The questions were about towing vehicles. I’m not thinking I’m going to tow a vehicle with my car anytime soon. Anytime. Ever. And if I’m in a turn lane, then everyone should know I’m turning.”
Driving boils down to awareness. I need to be aware of what is happening around me, and I need to make people aware of what I’m doing and what my intentions are. Awareness is such an overused term these days. We have “awareness” (and ribbons) for every issue, every disease, every plight, every personal issue, every tick, every fingernail broken. We want everyone to be aware of everything.
All the while, Jesus wants us to be aware of him. Our relationship with him boils down to awareness. We need to be aware of what Jesus is doing around us, and we need to make people aware of what Jesus is doing with us and through us. Our ribbon is how we live our life. It’s pretty much that simple.
I love how when I’m teaching my daughter to drive (and I say that knowing you realize it’s more me screaming and gasping)…that Jesus is teaching me more about Him and His purpose for all humanity. It’s how He rolls.
Are you aware of Him today?
This is what the Lord says:
“The people of Judah have sinned again and again,
and I will not let them go unpunished!
They have rejected the instruction of the Lord,
refusing to obey his decrees.
They have been led astray by the same lies
that deceived their ancestors. Amos 2:4
Through the prophet Amos, Judah was in clear violation of following God’s laws. We have instructions given to us by God as well, and we must be willing to examine what standards we currently live by . The Israelites had a standard from God. The Ten Commandments, as were other laws, were set forth during the exile of the Israelites from the Egyptians and Moses set the bar high as he led God’s people:
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your souls and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Deuteronomy 10: 12-13
Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you. Deuteronomy 8:5
I am, on all levels, an every day ordinary girl. My nails always crack and my polish is always chipped. I love hitting the snooze button but hate bedtime. I leave drawers and cabinet doors ajar because I hate the sound of them closing, and it drives my very military husband insane. Sometimes I yell at my kids, and hide in the bathroom. I’m always late. Always.
I am ordinary. And so was Amos. Amos bred sheep–I breed sheep or kids, either one. Amos tended to the fruit of the sycamore tree. I tend to my little fruit loops and often am sick-of-more and more of their antics (ha ha, see what I did there). Amos was not from any priestly or noble decent. Even though at times I think I am some sort of princess, I’m just a girl from Texas. Amos was an everyday ordinary guy, and God used him. I like to think that God uses me.
During the time that God gave Amos a message to share, The Northern Kingdom of Israel was rockin’. They were in a place of economic prosperity. There was a sense of security and peace among the people and the nations. Times were good yet the people were smug about God’s favor. However, God was not happy because a midst their seemingly perfect world was a people dedicated to “moral decay and spiritual corruption.”
We all look at our families like that sometimes. Read More