Dear friends, I am now a #dogmom. Please, please look at this little baby and tell me you’ve seen something cuter in your life. YOU HAVEN’T.
I have had two babies and am now three days into a puppy. Yes, it’s like reverting back to a newborn… sort of. I did not carry this puppy in my body for nine months and go through surgery to bring him into the world. We paid another woman to raise him for the first nine weeks of his life, and then picked him up! So I can handle this little teddy bear.
I began wondering what, truly, made raising babies or puppies so tough. Yes, they are exhausting and you sacrifice sleep. Yes, they whine or cry and you’re not always sure what they want. But, honestly, I think the hardest part is learning how to teach them to become the type of people or dogs we want to be around for the rest of their lives. Keeping them alive isn’t the issue. Keeping them alive is exhausting for sure, but there’s so much more.
It is so wild to me that God is our Father. There is so much in the Bible that He teaches us through the idea of parenting that is so relatable.
“My child, don’t underestimate the value of the disciple and training He has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of His faithful love. And when He draws you to Himself, it proves you are His delightful child.” [Hebrews 12:5-6 TPT]
Let’s be real. What does this look like in our lives with God? Most of the time it looks like the word, “No.” If you’ve ever raised a baby or a puppy, you know this is something that you’ve had to teach them over and over. You aren’t stopping them from chewing on cords or going near the stairs to be a bully or a killjoy. You are keeping them from stepping into harm’s way. You are teaching them how to be wise. You are not giving them everything they always want so they grow to be well-rounded and grateful.
Our God is not a dictator and He’s not a mean Dad. I know… I know right now it feels like maybe He’s a little distant. Or maybe for you, it feels like He’s been breathing down your neck, slamming His fist down in punishment for all you’ve done wrong.
It feels like a lack of love, but it is the complete opposite.
“Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for He is doing what any loving Father does for His children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected? We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship.” [Hebrews 12:7-8 TPT]
Too often we breeze past the weight that is carried by our title: child of God. This verse is telling us that the discipline; the training that God gives us is in fact proof of His nearness. Children who grow up without any discipline often resent that part of their childhood; it never taught them how to truly be successful. The truth is that real discipline shows more love than anger. True correction shows care and intimacy. Boundaries, guidelines and restrictions from our Father are only ever out of love.
We are so much more like our children than we realize. Our little kids can’t understand why we say no, or why we ask them to do something that makes no sense to them in the moment. But we ask them to trust us, and hopefully, they do.
Your Father is asking the same of you. When you can’t see the outcome, or even the purpose in why He said no or why He drew that boundary for you – the question isn’t why. The question is: do you trust Him? This is always the question. Do you trust that He is for you even if it may look like He’s ignored you? Do you trust that His answer, whether seemingly negative or distant, is actually what’s best? You may have no trouble believing that His ways are higher and His thoughts are not like ours. But do you believe that His ways and His thoughts are consistently for your good?
The next time you question God’s motive or intention, ask yourself if you’ve ever asked a little child to trust you even when they couldn’t understand. God’s wisdom and love for us cannot even be compared with our wisdom and love for the little ones we are raising.
“If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your Heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask Him?” [Matthew 7:11 TPT]