From the beginning of our relationship, God used my marriage and three children to convict and speak truth to my heart. Believing that some of those lessons might encourage you, I asked for (and received) permission from my family to write a series of posts featuring a few of those lessons. I offer them (not in chronological order but as the Lord leads) in the hope that God’s loving faithfulness will speak encouragement to your hearts.
Conviction: the act or process of finding a person guilty of a crime especially in a court of law; the act of convincing a person of error or of compelling the admission of a truth; the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth.*
It took me a while to learn that: when God’s Spirit works conviction in a Believers heart, His intent is blessing. Jesus confirmed this as He spoke about the role of the Holy Spirit before He was arrested:
“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you.”
John 16:13, 14
Once we have repented of our sins and embraced Jesus as Lord and Savior,
God’s Spirit convicts our hearts to free us from the plague of sin that pulls us down.
God does not “guilt” His kids into submission,
but convicts to free us to serve Him well.
It had been a rough couple of years. I did everything I could to roadblock our 15-year-old firstborn’s penchant for excitement, ever fearful of the lasting harm that it could bring on her. My husband, then a pilot for the US military, seemed to be away more than he was home. Much of the time I felt as if I was a single mom. My lifetime dream of being a mother had become a nightmare as fear and resentment grew in my heart.
Then one day it happened: I became convicted that I had lost sight of loving my daughter. I realized that I was so busy roadblocking her every move that I had forgotten to lean on God for the wisdom and perspective I lacked. I was horrified as I wondered, how I had fallen into such a trap? Part of me was tempted to start beating myself up over it. Instead, I opened up my Bible to 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. Intent on making things right with God’s help, I read each piece of instruction aloud as I committed to apply it to my daughter:
“Love is patient” . . . “Yes Lord, I can be more patient with Kara.”
“Love is kind” . . . “Yes, Father, I certainly can be kinder than I’ve been lately.
“Love . . . is not proud . . . is not easily angered . . . keeps no record of wrongs . . . .” I responded without flinching, “Yes Lord, I am willing to do all of those things.”
I continued until I got to verses 7 and 8,
Love–“always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
I started to choke (literally!) and confessed in a panic, “But Lord, I CAN’T trust her right now . . . we have a track record . . . she’s 15!”
It was then that I heard what is referred to in the Bible as, “that still, small voice”, speak softly but firmly:
“But you CAN trust ME!”
It took a moment to process what had been spoken to my heart. Then suddenly, the burden I had carried far too long, rolled from my shoulders as I thought, “Yes Lord . . . YES! I can and DO trust You!”
Looking back it is still amazing how easy it was to love my daughter again. Once I handed that burden over to Him I was FREE! Oh, there were still challenges that came up, but when I responded with loving kindness and refused to keep that record of wrongs, I was freed to love and even enjoy my daughter.
After several months passed, a friend mentioned something Kara had done that I knew nothing about. I decided to mention it when she arrived home from school, not so much to accuse her, but to ask if she’d really done it? When she came in we chatted about school before I asked, “Kara, did you really . . . ?” (Don’t ask me what it was, I’ve totally forgotten.)
Kara stood quietly looking at me for several minutes before pounding her fist on the table, “Doggone it Mom–I give up! Every time I try to get away with anything, God totally rats on me. I give up!”
Stunned, I started laughing as Kara grinned back at me.
Lesson learned: Conviction by the Holy Spirit + Humble Repentance ->
Opportunity to go deeper in our relationship with Him
as we TRUST Him more
All to His Glory!
*Definition of conviction taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary at: merriam-webster.com