When I Throw My Toys at Jesus OR How Would Jesus Parent?

I wish Jesus would have gotten married and had kids.

You have no idea how many times that thought has run through my head. As the mother of a preschooler, I find myself perpetually thinking and re-thinking my son’s needs for achievement, boundaries, acknowledgement, guidance, and unconditional love. I read, talk, pray… look for answers anywhere I can find them.

I reject corporal punishment for many reasons. Here are a couple biggies:

1. I don’t trust myself to keep my emotions stable while doling out a spanking/hand slap, etc. In fact, sadly, I’ve proven to myself that I’m not able to… at least right now.

2. Can you imagine what would happen if I used my feet to spank out in public? Goodbye motherhood.

So that leaves me in uncharted waters, as spankings are what I’m familiar with. I can’t trust what feels natural, because what feels natural for me is at odds with what feels right. And finding what’s right for our family is my all-consuming goal.

So I say, “God, how do I do this? What do we need?” Do we need time-outs? Do we need “positive parenting”? Empathy or unwavering rules? I’m searching for the perfect formula, but how often does life make it that easy?

I get frustrated that I can’t flip open to the New Testament and see concrete examples of good parenting techniques. I can’t reference Jesus’ response to a child who hits or mouths off. How cruel for the Bible to be so quiet on such an important topic! Yes, there are verses here and there about the importance of discipline, not frustrating our children, etc., but I never could see those guides played out in an actual parent-child relationship. Heck, the “rod” we are cautioned from sparing could represent many things, from physical beating to nudging guidance.

So there I am, locked in a battle of the wills with my screeching four-year-old. Again. Too often, I hear my voice raise and feel my heart racing. Like an out of body experience, I hear myself and am horrified at my angry words and lack of self-control. When the conflict passes, my anger implodes back on myself. And it’s my turn to cry tears of frustration and confusion. There has to be a better way. GOD, WHY ARE YOU SO QUIET?!

But, what if He’s not?

What if the whole Bible, the story of God’s relationship with His children, is His message to us about good parenting? What if His guidance in my life is the template I should follow? This must be the answer. But what does that look like?

How does God respond when I throw fits and rebel? What does God do when I choose to stray from His will? Here and now, in this lifetime, how does He choose to guide me?

If I honestly answer that question, I admit it frightens me a little to consider emulating His parenting style.

If I throw a fit, He is there. He may be silent, but He doesn’t leave me. He doesn’t force me to do His will, but neither does He hold back the natural consequences of my decisions. At least, not all the time. He is just, but reserves the right to choose mercy over justice. He does not “rub my nose in it.” His wisdom is not screamed in my face, but whispered in my ear — He is always the still, small voice. He is not in the fire. Or the earthquake. Or the tornado.

He is the whisper.

I will probably forever be trying to decipher how to parent like God, but I feel I’m onto something, here.

Does God’s approach to parenting produce perfectly-behaved, always-compliant children? Definitely not. So am I bold enough to believe in love’s ability to guide and form us? Can I entrust my children to that same love? God, I believe. Help my unbelief.

3 thoughts on “When I Throw My Toys at Jesus OR How Would Jesus Parent?

  1. Dear Sarah, I am reading your book “In Capable Arms” and want to thank you for teaching the world how beautiful it is, no matter what we can or cannot do. Your book is so well written. It’s like a piece of art. Do you sign copies and send them to supporters? I am an avid reader and book reviewer. I was given the opportunity to read your book through Net Galley. It is my desire to own a signed copy. It is also my desire to purchase one of your books (signed, if possible) to give to a very dear friend of mine. We are all abled and not so abled. I had to go on emergency disability retirement after 34 years of service with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Morphine helps me with the pain. Reading and reviewing books helps me escape and realize that, no matter what I am dealing with, life is precious. Do you have any bookmarks? If so, would you please send me some? I hand them out to people. I tell everyone I know about the books I read and hand them a bookmark (when possible) so that they can go order a copy. My reviews are from the heart. It is not unusual for my review at Amazon to help sell a copy within an hour of posting. Several authors are giving me the honor and privilege of helping them get their names out there and their books sold. I am helping Nancy Naigle, Diane Kelly, Allison Leotta, Karen Hawkins, Jeannie Lin and others. They send me signed copies of their books and I spread the word. I write about all the books I read in my blog (judylovestoread.blogspot.com) and have readers all over the world. I go to Goodreads and post the books I am reading so that others can see what is out there. I would be honored if you would send me a signed copy of your book. At the same time, I would like to purchase one signed copy for my dear friend Pat Tobin. She’s been my dear friend for a VERY long time. She’s with me in good times and bad. Life is challenging. Life is amazing. Please give me the opportunity to help you. Please. Please sign one to me (Judy) and the other to Pat. Also, please date it. Let me know how much to send you. You are a gift. Your life is a gift. Each of us is a gift. It’s when we see and appreciate that that we truly take each moment with grace. Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon. I will be posting my review of your book at Amazon, talk more about it in my blog and go to Goodreads sometime today. I’m almost done reading. I hate to finish it but know I will read it again someday. Someday when I have a copy sitting on my shelf calling out to me. My best to you. Judy Peterson judylovestoread.blogspot.com

  2. You hit the nail on the head with this post! I never really thought about how God is always there whispering in our ear even when we are throwing a fit or having a pity party. I too struggle with disciplining my own children and daily pray for wisdom when challenged. This entry really opened my eyes to some insights I never really had seen before. Those insights will make me a better parent by taking a closer look at God’s examples of guidance with his children. Thank you for your words of insight.

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