“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which hare exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:11
Our weekly Christian devotional
It isn’t her birthday, or even mother’s day. But, after reading the above verse, I’m inspired to write a letter telling my mother just how thankful I am for her.
Pulling out some lined paper, I wonder if it’s possible to condense the scope of my emotions. How can any words contain a fraction of what I feel for her? In my little world, my mother is the epitome of unconditional love.
Sometimes, after closing my eyes it’s easier for me to tap into the spirit of what I’m aiming to communicate. So, with the windows of my eyes drawn tight, I try summoning an early and loving memory of her.
The scene that plays across my eyelids isn’t one I expected to see: My mother’s beautiful brown eyes are glassy with tears. She bites her lip, while tilting my face towards hers.
I feel the heat of shame travel across my cheeks, swirling between my freckles. I’m all too familiar with that look…
“Julia, why didn’t you just obey me? You know I must fulfill my promise…”
“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” Proverbs 22:15
The anticipation of her spanking caused my heart to flutter. It felt like a butterfly was trapped inside my chest. But seeing the pain etched in my mother’s brow was even more uncomfortable for me.
“He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:24
I find it rather odd that at the thought of my mother’s unconditional love, my heart recalls her bittersweet discipline.
But, deep down I know that her correction was her investment into my future. Her pain and sacrifice greatly benefited me.
As I look back, I see her self-less submission to the statues of God’s word as the deepest expression of her love. To love someone without any sacrifice is the most superficial kind of love. In fact, I wonder if that could even be considered as real love at all.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Philippians 2:4
Every time she heartbreakingly enforced the order of her promise, she was putting aside her own desires. Painfully, my mother continually followed the leading of the Lord. In this, she trusted that He would take care of us all.
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.” Psalms 32:8-9
Every time I had a punishment coming, I was quite aware of it. This was because my mother always clearly warned me about the cost of disobedience. In our household, rebellion in any form wasn’t tolerated.
“The rod and reproof give wisdom; but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” Proverbs 29:15
Whenever my actions resulted in punishment, my mother never used it as a means for venting her emotions or anger. If tempers got too heated, she always took her time and simmered down before implementing any discipline. As my young eyes witnessed this kind of control, I got a glimpse of what submitting to the Holy Spirit looked like in everyday life.
“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy should spare for his crying.” Proverbs 19:18
My mother’s obedience to God’s word was an act of faith; steeped in the hope that one day I would have a future shaped by character, not one that was bent by a hard road of rebellion.
Because she was so consistent in her governing, I always knew what to expect if I wasn’t obedient. And as much as I temporarily ‘suffered’ during those short moments of discipline, my mother always finished with a big hug and her unbridled assurance of her love for me. With tears in both of our eyes, I clearly remember the two of us suffering together from the pain of my rebellion.
Today, with a blank paper still in hand, I try to imagine how our relationship would be if my mother didn’t follow the Holy Spirit. Would I feel as loved and cared for today if she didn’t bother doing what she knew was right? I’m thankful that I only have to imagine what it would be…
“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.” Lamentations 3:27
In my formative years, my mom created a solid platform of stability and order for me. Because she remained true to her commitment of discipline, I not only learned how to conduct myself in the company of others, but also understood the value of respect, sharing with others and patiently waiting for my turn. Years later, on a daily basis, I continue to reap the benefits of her wise investment in my character development through her discipline.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
As I read Proverbs 22: 6, my heart sinks a bit. I can’t help but recall my young adult years without feeling sorrow and regret. During this time, I walked away from all that was right and good, choosing to live in outright rebellion. As every mother knows, this season didn’t reserve it’s negative effects for me alone; both my mother and I suffered dearly at the hands of my own bad choices.
“I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75
But, no matter what the circumstance looked like, my mother continued to persevere in her faith by praying for me. At this point, there wasn’t much else she could do! After years of faithfully laying down a firm foundation of consistent discipline, it was now time for her to wait on God’s fulfillment of the promises in His word. But as anyone who has ever waited for a miracle can tell you, sometimes that ‘waiting’ is the most difficult task of all…
“And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
After years of wandering in rebellion, I finally grew weary of living only for myself. I began to crave the comfort and security that only came with the presence of my heavenly Father. It had been years since had communed with Him, but the impact of His presence in my youth never left me. It was time for me to come home. At the age of thirty-three, this prodigal daughter returned to her senses. When I think about the grace of God, these verses ring true to my personal experiences:
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you, as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastard, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of sprits, and live?” Hebrews 12:6,7
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statues.” Psalm 119:71
“Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept thy word.” Psalm 119:67
Today, I desperately desire to honor my Heavenly Father. After all He has brought me through, how could I possibly settle for anything less? I also feel a deep compulsion to honor the mother who lived simply to please Him. Will I ever be able to make up for the years of distress I put her through? God only knows. But, He is also the only one who can enable me to be a delight to her. And by His might, I’m determined to do just that.
“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” Proverbs 29:17
“Dear Heavenly Father,
You have given the hardest job in the world to parents. For they have the power to form the future.
Lord, help every parent to see their high calling. Each one of them is a steward of the hearts and minds of the next generation.
Give them the wisdom to partake in true discipline. Help them to develop a self-less kind of love that will see the needs of their children before the gratification of their own.
Let this gift of discipline be passed on, and passed on to all the future generations. With it comes your blessing and favor.
Lord, your heart shines upon those who honor righteousness. Let holiness and purity be qualities that we treasure and run to. For with them, your children are sheltered under the shadow of your Almighty wings.
Turn the hearts of mothers and fathers towards you, Lord. Let each parent love you more than anything or anyone. This will give them the balanced kind of love that will always keep you and your ways first.
In Jesus’ name, bless our families and our future to serve you in all we do. Amen.”
I dedicate this to my mom, Colleen. You are my delight. You have always been my living example of self-less sacrifice; the fabric of true love. I love you; not only for who you are, but for all you have done and all that you currently do in the name of love. Mom, you aren’t a woman of words, but of action. One day, I hope that your legacy of love is also seen in me.
* A special thank you to Mary Andrews and Pat Fabrizio for scripture references and inspiration.
Thank you for reading our weekly Christian devotional on verses: Hebrews 12:11, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 29:15, Psalms 32:8-9, Psalms 32:8-9, Proverbs 19:18, Philippians 2:4,Lamentations 3:27, Proverbs 22:6, Psalm 119:75, Hebrews 12:6,7 Psalm 119:67, Psalm 119:71, Galatians 6:9,Psalm 119:67, Proverbs 29:17
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Author: Julia Shalom Jordan