The Principal's Office
Lysa TerKeurst

"…for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth." Psalm 26:3 (NIV)

Recently, one of my kids got called to the principal's office. On the very day I received an invitation to speak at a national parenting conference. Thank you very much.

Have you ever struggled with letting a circumstance that came your way suddenly define you?
This seems to be a lesson God lets me live over and over. He wants to be my only definition of who I am. I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved. I know this. I teach this. I believe this in the very depths of my soul.

Yet, it is so easy for me to slip into redefining myself when situations arise.

With my head, I was able to see the "principal's office" situation for what it was. My child is in a process of being shaped. My child is strong and while this will serve her well later in life, strength in an immature little person begs to be disciplined. She is a sweet child who made a not-so-sweet choice. All of this is part of the process of growing her up.

I could see all of that with my head.

However, with my heart, I felt like a failure. I wanted to decline the opportunity to speak at that conference and go crawl in a hole somewhere. A hole stocked with chips and salsa, brownies made from a box mix, and ice-cold diet soda.

A part of me felt like I'd been called to the principal's office as the voice of condemnation started haunting me, "You are a bad mom. You have a bad child. You have a bad home."

So, quietly, I slipped away with Jesus. And I did what I've done a hundred times before. I held those condemnations up to the Lord and asked him to help me see this situation the way He wants me to see it. Not the way others see it. Not the way my heart is tempted to see it. But the way He sees it.

And once again He reassured me.

I am not a bad mom.

My child is not a bad child.

My home is not a bad home.

This situation is a call to action. There is a character issue that needs to be addressed within the heart of my child. And kids are supposed to have character issues that need to be addressed.

That's why God gave them parents. That's why God gave me this specific child. God sees within me the ability to be the one He's perfectly designed to raise up this strong little person.

Today is a new day. A day where we can choose to only be defined by God's truth and grace as we navigate this wild wonder called parenthood.

Dear Lord, help me to realize that You have perfectly and purposefully planned my life. Today I am going to make the choice to see the good in each situation with my child. Please help me to be a parent that pleases You with my every thought, word and deed. I admit my dependence on You Lord, and ask for Your guidance. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog today where she’ll be giving away a copy of her book, The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained

What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa TerKeurst

The Bathtub is Overflowing but I Feel Drained by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
Spend intentional time in prayer this week for your children and their character development.
Spend intentional time in prayer for wisdom as a parent.

Reflections: How can I turn a seemingly stressful situation into a positive learning experience for my child?

Power Verses:
Psalm 25:5, "…guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (NIV)

Matthew 6:13, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (NIV)

Proverbs 16:20, "Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord." (NIV)

James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this devotion i have so many times let things with my children and job define who i am if something "bad" happened it always is the end of the world and i get shook to the foundation of my soul. I have a child who is 20 now and she is my special and troublesome child she is a little slower than most in finding her way but she has wonderful qualities and i forget about those when she runs up the cell phone or doesn't pass her college classes i feel like a failure as a mom and a person. she also is strong willed and knows what she believes and noone will shake her strong belief. She doesn't define herself by other peoples ideas and she stand strong for her self. I admired that i want acceptance so bad that i let people walk all over me. Thank you for reminding me my children are a gift and blessing and just maybe i am her mom for a reason. God knows what he is doing i just need to trust and believe.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iam there with you girl.I also let things and circumstances define who iam.I pray daily that God just help through this day.I will pray for you too.

Anonymous Cynthia A. said...

once again, the devotion is right on time...the thought that came into my heart is that the World will try to tell us when things have a bad child, you are a bad mom, you have a bad home...we have to say to what God's word says about these situations. Hope comes from the Word. We have the TRUTH on each situation in our lives! ty ty!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Is Good!!
It will never cease to amaze me how He places what we need in our lives when we need it!
I am trying to adjust to the changing seasons in my daughter's life. Yesterday she was my sweet little girl and today she is a beginner tween. Our entire relationship in being redefined in front of my eyes! So at risk for defining herself and our family by measures of this world.
As I read and prayed and cried about it this morning God placed Jeremiah 29:11 in my heart and reminded me that not only does he have a plan for me, but also for my children, who are truly His children and are here for His plan not mine! Thank you for reminding me that I was chosen to mother this child for reasons both known and unknown to me. By faith I know that I can help us to prepare for rain, but God has to send it.
Thank you for reinforcing!!

Anonymous Lynn said...

I am so there... This happened to me last year with my 12 year old son. On returning to the school with him, I was so un-settled that I totally didn't see the school bus that I wizzed past. After my meeting with his principal, I returned to my car only to find a police officer with a city citation violation ready for me...for not stopping for the bus! Ugh!...we live in a small town and every other mom was dropping their children off at the same time...then I had to go to work! The brownies and ice cream hole was all I really wanted! Needless to say...God gave me a huge lesson that I could then pass on to my son! Hebrews 12:11

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Lysa, I'm a new comer to your site. I've been reading your daily devotions for about 4 months now... via KKLA radio station in CA. Your site and devotions have been a real blessing to me especially in dealing with my 5 and 7 year old. Even though I have two older kids 21 and 16, I've never experienced the challenges that I face with the younger ones; And I'm suppose to be older and wiser now. Go figure! I love the daily devotions because they incorporate simple, practical ideas/ reminders to assist w/ our personal struggles and family. I look forward to the daily encouragement.. esp w/ kids that have issues at school. It's my on-going battle right now but I feel God speaking to me thru your message. I'm learning how to cope and laugh through it rather than feeling beaten down. Thanks so much for your ministry! It's meeting the need.

Anonymous Whitney Morton said...

What an excellent reminder to put everything into perspective - and not our own but God's! Glory to His name!

Blogger Unknown said...

For the first time I had to go to
speak to the counselor at school
and it was a hard thing to do.
I realized once I was there. That my visit was not because his cell phone had been taken away, but because my son has been struggling in two classes and did not bring it to our attention because he was ashamed. See we have been going through a very difficult time and he felt as if though he would be adding to it.
You can just imagine how good of a parent I felt.I chose not to beat myself up about it, and put it all in prayer for with God everything is possible.So thank you because I have been faithfully reading your daily devotions and I have got to say this one could not have come in a better time.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this honest devotional! I find myself constantly defining myself by my performances or failures. This was not only an encouragement for me, but I have also forwarded it to my husband! He is a youth pastor and has recently had several really poor evaluations. It's really discouraged him and he feels like a failure. I'm hoping this will remind him of God's grace and love and also that we are trying to plese God and not men. Thank you!

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