The Power of Prayer

As I look back over the years when our children were growing up, for me, Discipline was probably the hardest part of parenting.  I remember during my own childhood when my mother would punish my brother or me, sometimes she would say ‘this hurts me as much as it hurts you’.   I didn’t believe that for a minute – until I became a mother myself.  Our two children are complete opposites when it comes to temperament.  One is easy going, flexible, content in most any situation. The other extremely strong willed, opinionated, and vocal. Because they are so disparate, we soon learned that how we needed to discipline each one was also very different.  What worked with one usually did not work with the other and trying to figure out what was effective was hard, exhausting.  It was especially difficult for me when dealing with the strong willed child.  I remember the day I reached a turning point.  Our oldest, the strong willed one, was 4 years old, the youngest 1.  It had been one of those days where nothing suited the oldest.  I felt as if I constantly had to punish, correct her.  She was becoming angrier and defiant while I was feeling frustrated, growing more impatient with her.   By the end of the day, she was in her room screaming and crying while I was in mine – crying and on my knees.  That was the first of many times I turned to God asking him to help me know how to love and ‘Train [my] child in the way [he/she] should go…’[Prov. 22:6]  I didn’t always remember to stop and pray – I’m sorry to say that many times I just reacted to a situation.  Still, God used those times to teach me something about patience, being slow to anger, and grace.  If anything, praying for wisdom and guidance in disciplining our children was probably the one thing I did right.  Also, something I found helpful was talking with my mother-in-law about my struggles, a quiet woman who lives her faith rather than talking about it.  Her wisdom and insight were helpful in more ways than I can count.  She was also a source of encouragement and helpfulness, a real blessing to me at times when I was feeling like such a failure.

I made some mistakes in disciplining our children and there were times when I had to ask them for forgiveness.  But I loved them with all that was in me, made certain that I told them ‘I love you no matter what’ and trusted God to work things out despite my failures.


Sandra Bilbro


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