With four sons in the house, I find I am negotiating with a child every 37 minutes.
Why can’t I…
I know what you said, but…
Are you sure I can’t…
Why do I have to…, plus 1000 other questions I’ve already answered!
I love having a house full of boys, and I secretly enjoy the constant horseplay, banter, and even the healthy amount of “smack talk” between them. But I certainly wouldn’t be upset (even if for only one day) to experience all four of them choosing the path of least resistance and simply answering me, “Okay, Mom. I trust your decision.”
I’m not the only one of us who fantasizes about unconditionally obedient and compliant children. I’ve talked to enough of you to know this is high on our wish list for Christmas. But no, much of my conversation with my darling offspring seems to be debating relative truth. Why can’t they just accept my word as the final, lock-it-in, don’t-need-to-phone-a-friend truth? I am the mother, after all. Surely that counts for something.
At this point in my parenting, I’ve resorted to a three-word response when my guys practice the fine art of “negotiating.” I’ll answer them once, and the second time they ask I’ll simply reply, “Asked, and answered.” Accepting my answer will make their life easier.
What makes my children ask the same question over and over? Perhaps they don’t believe I’m telling the truth. Maybe they think I’ve changed my mind—in the short time since they last asked. They persist in trying to chip away at my resolve and don’t seem to trust my answers.
Moms, do we treat God the same way? Do we come to Him and ask the same questions over and over, begging Him to change His mind—or maybe testing Him to see if He has a new position on an ancient truth? I have. Haven’t you? It leaves me as tired and frustrated as a 17-year-old fighting for a later curfew.
In the seasons of life when I think God has forgotten me, I ask Him:
Father, are you there? Have you overlooked and abandoned me? He answers, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
And I plead with Him again because I can’t feel Him, and maybe—just maybe—He changed His mind. Are you sure, God? Because a lot of bad stuff is happening to me.
He replies, “Asked, and answered.” So I chose to trust what I can’t see or feel at the moment.
When my flesh wants to go the way or the world, I negotiate with Him:
Father, I want to do life my own way but still experience Your blessing. Is that possible?
He answers, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) And I berate Him again, because I am stubborn. But Lord, you don’t understand!
He replies, “Asked, and answered.” So I must chose to trust His ways are perfect.
How often do we come to the Father in child-like ways and ask for answers to questions He has already answered with authority? As our faith in Him increases, we will question Him less—not because we have lost the will to fight but because we trust His will is best.
Is Jesus the only way? He answers us, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) And we cross-examine Him again to be sure the cost is worth it. Father, do You promise? He whispers, “Asked, and answered.”
There is only One whose Word never fails. Will you trust His Word for your life today?
About Kim Heinecke
Kim Heinecke wants to live in a world where children listen to the advice of their mothers without question. As a former single mom she’s been encouraging women using her life experiences in parenting, growing in the Word of God and everything in between. When she’s not negotiating with a teenager or wrestling a pre-schooler, you can find her camping in the family RV or pretending to understand sports with her husband and four sons. Read more from Kim at www.TheMomExperiment.com.