I put them on separate couches in the living room and asked them not to talk for a few minutes. I told them I was frustrated with them and I needed a few minutes to calm down. I went to the laundry room to throw clothes in the washer with great force and release some of the tension. I plotted all the things I would say. Things like, "You will LIVE in your room for the rest of the day...no...the rest of your life!" and "You will never play with that toy you are fighting over again. In fact, it's going to Goodwill!" Then I took a few deep breaths and felt my shoulders begin to relax. There had to be a better way to handle this.
I decided to ask God what to do. My ideas were obviously not filled with much compassion so I asked Him to give me some direction. I sat quietly and felt a small quiet voice telling me to pray with them. Really? Pray with them? It seemd incredibly awkward. I didn't even know how to begin. But if I have learned anything in this walk of faith, it's that you have to obey. Good things happen when you do what He says even if it doesn't really make much sense. I decided to give it a shot.
"Luke, why are you so upset with Drew?" I began. He proceeded to explain how his brother kept screaming and crying about "everything" and it was driving him crazy. I asked Drew the same question and he said that he was tired of Luke yelling at him. "It sounds like you both have things to work on. Drew, you can work on using your words to explain why you are mad instead of screaming. Luke, you can work on speaking kindly to Drew." I took a deep breath and tried the next part. "I think we should ask God to help you guys with that. Come here to hold my hand."
I closed my eyes and opened my mouth to begin the prayer. Then something amazing happened. My three year old began the prayer. "Dear God, please help me to use my words and not scream. It's so hard, God! Will you help me?" My oldest picked up where he had left off. "And God, help me to stop yelling at Drew. I don't want to hurt his feelings anymore. Amen!"
I felt tears welling up in my eyes. These kids are normally very defensive and accusing when we have these conversations. It is always the other one's fault. But as they prayed, they were so very real with God about their struggles. They didn't blame anyone else - They recognized their own faults and asked God to help them overcome them. And guess what? They didn't fight for days after that prayer. Truly amazing.
I wonder sometimes if I am that real with God. Do I openly admit where I am failing and ask him to help or do I complain about all the bad circumstances in my life? Do I spend my prayer life blaming or admitting and asking forgiveness? My kids reminded me that God is an amazing friend that will never judge me. He will always be there to help me overcome.
What can God help you to overcome today? Get real with Him today and watch the amazing things that happen.