When is the last time you received a good-loving spanking? When is the last time you had to face yourself: your motives, choices, beliefs, and core values? How about the last time you had to be accountable and accept responsibility, while fighting the urge to point your finger away from yourself?
I will venture to say that most of you may not remember the last time you had a spanking, and many of you may not relate at all to having to face yourselves or accept responsibility without a “But” and without playing the “blame game.” So it may shock you when I say that in my life, this year has been filled with all of the above. It may be even more startling when I say to you that this has been one of the best years of my adult life!
Today is December 31st, the 366th day of this Leap Year, and I am here! I am alive, energized, hopeful, strong, and reflective. I am thinking about 2016. As my mind races through the past 365 days, I am filled with the utmost gratitude! God has been GREAT to me this year! He has been amazingly gracious and merciful. He has been a patient Teacher. Most of all, He “has lavished me, drowned me even, in His LOVE! His Love for me has captivated me, and compelled me to draw nearer to Him. When I have felt alone, hurt, disappointed, afraid, or discouraged, Like a GREAT FATHER, He has welcomed me to sit on His lap, and be encouraged by His Truth. This year, His lap has been my favorite place to be. In HIS PRESENCE, where I have found His joy despite my circumstances or feelings. It is there that He has listened to me, corrected me, and encouraged me to just BE – unapologetically who He says that I am.
If I had to give 2016 a theme, I would say it was, “A Spanking and A Hug!” It was a year of great discipline and correction, but it was also a year that I developed an amazing sense of God’s unending love for me. This year more than ever, my time with God allowed me to transfer my acceptance of His love from my head to my heart, and that made the difference. It was a year that I had to literally look at myself with a magnifying glass, examining my words, actions, choices, beliefs, and values. In this way it was a Spanking.
I intentionally chose to use the word spanking instead of “whooping” because when I think of a whooping, I think of an angry parent who is so disappointed that they are attempting to punish a child because of their bad behavior. A whooping can be painful and it can also leave bruises or scares. However, when I think of a spanking, I think of a calm and loving parent, who is only interested in the child gaining an understanding of right and wrong. There is usually no true pain associated with a spanking, just hurt feelings, and the purpose of the spanking is not necessarily to punish, but more-so to teach. Spankings are more loving than angry.
HE DISCIPLINES THOSE HE LOVES …..
Thinking back to my childhood, my mother often tried to convince me that she whooped or punished me because she loved me. I am not sure I ever grasped that concept as a child. Now that I am an adult, I can see that her correction was an act of genuine love. She was literally trying to save me from destruction. Then I think, “How much more is my Heavenly Father’s love for me?” I have learned more this year than ever, that God chastens me because He LOVES me, not because He is angry with me. His desire is that I BECOME the woman He has always saw me to be, and this year that required a renovation in my thinking, doing, believing and saying. He wanted me to know in my core that HE IS FOR ME, and He has qualified me. Which means, HE has given me permission to be GREAT. He wanted me to know that His love for me is unending, and can’t be stopped. He wanted me to look in the mirror and speak well of myself, speaking only what He has said. My Father wanted me to believe Him. To know that nothing external, rather it be a police officer, President, or any other human entity can stop what He has started. Each time, my thoughts, actions, beliefs, and core values failed to line up with His expectations of me, He lovingly spanked me, and He guided me back on the path He has for me. Through His correction He has empowered me to pull down strongholds of low-level thinking, fear, and poverty, and He has invited me to embrace His Mind concerning what is possible in my life.
How about you? Do you believe the Bible when it says, The Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6)? Are you encouraged when It tells us, in Hebrews 12:5, not to be discouraged when we are rebuked by God? Do you need to dig deep and destroy all of the wrong thinking and self-inflicted limitation in your life? Or perhaps you are in the middle of being disciplined and lovingly corrected. I want you to know, the best thing you can do for your life is surrender fully to God’s process. The process to Becoming who God says you are will require a new level of thinking, doing, believing, and speaking. If you are bound by limit and stinking-thinking concerning your life or your future, He is inviting you into a new life, but it will require a new you.Your Heavenly Father wants you to be barely recognizable to yourself! This requires you letting go of the familiar. It requires you being uncomfortable, and you will have to take responsibility. You will not get to blame anyone else, you will have to sit in your decisions. I can say from experience, it is tough work, but it is worth it. After all, we all say we want to receive what God has for our lives right? Yet, you cannot receive the new-new holding on to the old. So empty your hands, and surrender. When you do, you will be better, you will be proud of the person that will emerge because you will be UNSTOPPABLE! Most importantly, your loving Father will be so proud of you because He has known the real you all along.
If I had to give the feeling I have today a name, it would be Shalom. I am experiencing full and hopeful peace. I am filled up with gratitude. I am grateful for the lessons, the testing, the molding and the maturing. I am thankful that I accepted God’s invitation to grow up! Maturity grants us the ability to reflect well. The more I reflect on this year, I realize a life without discipline is a life without love. Love is multifaceted, I cannot only want the hugs from God, I have to welcome the spankings too. When I stay in a child-like position before my Father, I realize my need for both. That revelation leads me to understanding that the Hugs and the Spankings are synonymous – one in the same. They are equal expressions of my Heavenly Father’s great love for me, and they reveal how much He values my life, and this makes the times that I sit in His lap much more valuable.
I hope you find yourself in God’s lap often in 2017, and I hope you embrace his unfailing love however it shows up in your life.