Oct 24, 2011

Rubber Bands, Whining & Salvation

What in the world can those three things ever have in common?  Well, I'm about to tell you a little story that will tie them all together perfectly.

It seems like we've been 'teaching' Chloe that whining and complaining is not an optimal behavior for a long, long time.  This lesson doesn't want to seem to sink in.  Sometimes I despair of her ever learning it.  It's that bad.  We've tried everything to stop it.  Some things appear to work for a bit, but then the whining returns.

Whining and complaining and pouting are just a form of manipulation and control.   It's an understandable  and common trait found amongst the babies of the family.  Even so, in our opinion, it doesn't justify the behavior.  We need to teach her a better way to communicate her frustration.    It would be an injustice to her to allow her to continue on in life thinking this was an okay way to deal with people and situations.

Then it hit me...by constantly focusing on the 'bad' behavior, we're not reaching her heart.  The problem lies in her heart condition.  It is a choice she makes that comes from an ungrateful heart.  But how can we teach her to have a thankful heart?  The answer is easy...by example.

We constantly focus on what we are thankful for in our house - especially when things aren't going our way.  It's super important that Chuck and I model this attitude of thankfulness so that the kids grow up seeing this as 'normal' and hopefully it will be their default attitude without much thought or effort.

The latest scheme we came up with to try to get the whining to stop was to place a rubber band on Chloe's wrist every time we heard her whine or complain or pout when she didn't like our response to a situation or didn't get her way.  She would have to wear them all day, every day, everywhere.  It would be a constant visual reminder.  The hope was that she wouldn't want to always see it and would stop and think before speaking.  The first few weeks it worked great.  She would start each week anew and see how little she complained by how few rubber bands were on her wrist.  But then she stopped caring.  Uh-oh...now what?

As we were cuddling in bed the other morning, God showed me exactly what to do.  I asked her if she could please put all her rubber bands on my wrist.  "Why?" she asked.  "Because I want to teach you about grace and about what Jesus did for you."

She placed them all on my wrist hesitantly (she had accumulated about 8 or 9 already).  I told her, "Honey, these represent your sin.  This is what Jesus did for you.  He took your sin and made it his own.  Then he took your punishment you deserved for that sin.  He did this for you because he loves you so much. By taking your rubber bands, I'm taking your sin.  When you see your sin on me, I want it to make you thankful that someone loves you so much they are willing to take your punishment.  I want it to make you think really hard before you speak.  Because if you sin again, I have to bear the punishment.  I know you love me and I know it would make you super sad to see me have to hurt because of your sin.  Think of mommy before you act.  Just like, when we accept Jesus' gift, we think of Him before we act and our actions constantly show him how thankful we are for gift he gave us that we didn't deserve."

She was sad.  She didn't want me to wear her rubber bands.  But I wanted to.  I wanted her to see Jesus and his grace every time she saw those on my arm.  I wanted her to have a visual of how he takes our sin away, even and especially, when we don't deserve it.  She reached over and gave me a huge hug and thanked me over and over.  She told me how much she loved me.

Jesus knew exactly what she needed.  He reached down and touched her heart.  He put a picture in her mind that she will never forget.  He's showing her who He is and how He can change her life.  I just love how He works.  So gentle, so kind, so perfect for each individual need.  It is my prayer that one day Chloe will open her heart up to Him completely.  Not to make me happy, not because she's been cajoled, not because everyone around her is, but because she couldn't imagine living her life without Him and she can trust Him completely for everything.

I bet on that day, there will be no more whining or pouting.  And we can finally throw those rubber bands away.
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1 comments:

thelifeofbrynn said...

That may be my favorite parenting story I've ever heard from you. Thank you for reaching your kids' hearts and pointing them to Jesus, and thank you for the reminder for me as well. :)

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