First born daughter was born with lots of dark hair and was well over eight pounds. Her birth was surprisingly easy. She slept through the night at two weeks old. She nursed easily, readily. She was an easy baby, and me in all of my twenty year old wisdom and arrogance thought, “I’m a good mom!”, and inwardly judged those with “unruly” babies.
Three years later her little sister was born. It was a traumatic emergency caesarian birth. She was 6 pound 6 ounces of blond, blue eyed energy. She cried non-stop. She painfully snacked, pulled away to look around, and came back for a few more sips every time I fed her. I once recorded in her baby book the day she was content for 45 minutes straight. She was, and at age 30 still is, a night owl. I agonized over what was wrong…was it her difficult birth, had I not bonded with her due to that?…didn’t I love her enough?… maybe I didn’t know how to be a good mom after all. My pride and arrogance came crashing down.
By God’s grace, one day I bought the book The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson. In it he explains that some children are born with a strong will, and that usually they are the ones that God has a unique purpose for, one that will take a strong willed person to fulfill. He writes practically, Biblically, how to deal with a strong willed child. That book changed my life, and my relationship with my second born. I began to pray for her in a whole new way. I began to speak aloud to her, every time she asserted her strong will to disobey, “God gave you a strong will to do something great for Him. Satan wants you to use it to disobey. You must choose to obey Jesus, and you learn that by obeying Mommy and Daddy.” These words became my mantra to her before she was old enough to understand…but I wanted them to sink into her spirit.
At age five, my second born announced that she was going to be a missionary to Africa. At age 16 she took her first trip to west Africa. At age 30, she has never wavered from what she believes to be God’s call on her life.
It’s been 33 years since that arrogant young mom held her first born and thought she had it all together as a mother. I had a third daughter, three years after my strong willed one was born. If possible, she was even more compliant than her oldest sister. But by this time I had come to realize that anything right I had done as a parent was pure grace and mercy from God.
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