These precious babies come out of the same womb, children of the same two parents, yet they are so often completely and totally opposite personalities.
Can I get an "Amen" from the Mommas of the world?!
I have one who came out of the womb (after 18 HOURS of BRUTAL labor - at home - no drugs), and as tired as I was, I couldn't WAIT to hold and nurse this little gift of mine.
So the midwife put the child on my chest, and DADGUM if the little brat didn't cry like stuck pig until Super Dad swept in, swaddled, and cooed the little toot into a state of bliss!
I have another, also born at home with no pain aides except for 2 ounces of Castor Oil, whose labor was a breeze and who couldn't wait to be buried deep in my arms as soon as possible, nursing like it was the best thing on earth.
From the moment one of my two arrived, I just "got" them. We're so much alike in so many ways, that it's scary sometimes. This is the kid whose sin I can see a mile away, because I've committed the same ones myself so many times.
This is also the kid to whom I speak and hear my own mother's words coming out of my mouth to them.
This one has the same life motto I did for so many years, "Go Big, or Go Home!"
(Oh, how I pray age and time in the Word has matured me in that!)
This child of mine will SIN RIGHT TO MY FACE...and then fight to the death to defend it.
UNTIL....and this is SUCH a big until. UNTIL I send them to their room and tell them to hit their knees and then get into the Word, and not to come back to me until they have.
Without fail, when they return there are tears of TRUE repentance spilling down their cheeks and they humbly apologize and ask for forgiveness. We hug. We pray. We deal with whatever discipline is needed, and then we start afresh.
But my other child is different.
So, so different.
I spent a full year of this child's life begging God to help me understand them. I loved them..no question on that, but I certainly didn't "get" them, and I remember feeling so certain that this little baby didn't even LIKE me.
I entreated The Lord to PLEASE knit our hearts together, and He so graciously answered that prayer. We are now super close and have a very precious relationship.
Yet this child is still so much different than my other one, and much different than me in many ways.
They sin covertly. They are not quick to repent. They are not easily convicted by time in the Word.
So a few weeks ago, right in the midst of me battling major adrenal burnout and a tough, tough time with MS brought on by unbelievable grief and stress, this child decided to lie to me.
A day earlier they had tried to manipulate me in front of other people by saying, "My friend wants to know if they can..."
My response, "Oh, really? Well, your friend is standing here too. So since this issue obviously doesn't pertain to you, since it's only your friend who wants this, why don't you just let your friend do the talking?"
I was madder than a hornet! My kid was covertly lying to me!
I hate being lied to, and I hate being manipulated. I got my fill of both as a kid, and mastered both arts myself before I became a Believer.
So here we find ourselves the very next day, and this child I love has lied to me (covertly, they thought) again...and is busted because I saw it so clearly.
I talked with them. I prayed with them. I tried to drill down to the root with them, and while I definitely saw remorse, there was no true repentance.
So I got up and left the room and cried out to God, asking Him to show me what to do to make my child understand the severity of their sin.
I called to them from the laundry room and when they came in I said, "Go get a wooden spoon."
I truly can't remember the last time I spanked one of my kids.
#1, With the effects MS has had on my right hand, it hurts me more than it does them.
#2, They're just past the spanking age, in my opinion...at least for most things.
But that day I KNEW...a spanking had to occur.
This child is a Believer, and I feel pretty certain their spiritual gift is mercy.
I kept asking God, "WHAT discipline will get through to my mercy driven child?"
So we went into the library and talked some more, and I held and hugged them and told them how much I loved them. We talked about Hebrews and how it tells us that God disciplines those whom He loves. We discussed how discipline is training in righteousness.
And then I told them to lean over the couch.
Oh, that took some doing!
The tears started flowing, and the up and down again movements to solidify in their mind that this was really about to happen took a good 30 seconds.
I said, "The more you prolong this, the more I will view it as disobedience, and the more swats will be required. So you should just resolve yourself to it and lean over."
FINALLY they did.
They just about gripped the green chenille right off of the loveseat...face buried deep into the cushion,
Then I lifted that spoon high in the air, and with all of my might I slammed it right onto MY leg.
It startled my child, and they looked up at me in total disbelief.
I lifted it again and slammed my left leg two more times as hard as I could.
The tears started flowing from my sweet child of mercy. "Momma, stop! Please stop!"
I lifted it again and moved to the right leg...three slams of that hard wooden spoon on my thigh.
"Momma, why are you doing this?! You didn't do anything wrong!"
Six swats later; six swelled areas on my thighs; a sore hand, and MS irritated nerve endings that felt like they were on fire....and tears, by now from both of us.
I took my dear child's face into my hands and I said, "Sin COSTS! What I just took for you PALES in comparison to what Jesus endured on the cross for your lying and manipulating!"
We both wept as we talked about the HIGH PRICE of grace, and mercy...and that we are NEVER to forget what Jesus did to reconcile us to God when He sacrificed His own life for us, that we might have life eternal instead of the curse of death.
My guess is that some of you will read this, and will consider me a fool.
That will be sad for you if that's what you choose to take from this story.
What my dear child finally learned that day is what TRUE repentance is. I am confident that they will never forget that day, and what their Momma took that they deserved.
A person with the gift of mercy was heartbroken over their sin, all because they saw tangibly how it affected someone they love.
Spiritual mission accomplished! "Thank You Lord, for giving me that insight!"
I've no doubt that before they consider lying, or trying to manipulate again, they will first be reminded by the Holy Spirit of the high price Momma paid that day...but even more so, of the unbelievable price Jesus paid for their sin over 2,000 years ago.