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Time To Grow Up

When the female leopard with two teenagers in tow becomes pregnant she has a difficult duty ahead of her. With just a brief window of three months gestation she has to eradicate her older cubs from the household to make way for the newborns. Like most teenagers, they are stubborn and self assured. Strong-willed and fiercely independent. But not independent enough to want to fend for themselves. They like the benefits of being at home, but are not willing to face the responsibility of adult life. So mum has to get serious about tossing them out. And that might get nasty.

Watching this scene unfold before my eyes in a documentary, the female leopard’s aggressive behavior towards her two-year-old cubs seemed harsh, almost cruel. But for the protection of the soon to be birthed cubs and for the growth of these teenage cubs, they needed to go and do life for themselves.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Sometimes we have to administer tough love on those closest to us. Perhaps for our own well-being, and often for their own good. There was a time when as parents, we had two sons living at home. One was 23 the other was 20. Both had work, their own means of transport and were studying part time. Both had lived out of home but found the attraction and convenience of living under the shelter of our roof more appealing. So, they returned. However, there came a time when they needed to move out permanently and begin their own lives without the constant assistance and supervision of mum and dad. Would they go? There was much outcry and resistance, not unlike the teenage leopards in the documentary. They were reticent to budge and because our home was far to expansive and expensive for my husband and I alone, we decided to sell.

Did we abandon our sons by pushing them on? No, in hindsight I don’t think so, though at the time I struggled with this. We have never abandoned our sons; we have never turned our back on them or left them to fend for themselves. But we did show tough love. And discipline in a loving and caring way for their own good is a crucial part of tough love.

Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

At the time of listing our home on the market and the realization that our sons would have to find a place of their own, I’m not sure that they were ecstatic with our decision. But in hindsight they did not despise the chastening, though uncomfortable and inconvenient at the time. Not one of God’s children are happy when the LORD, through circumstances, brings His correction. But He always does it for our good. Always. Our dear Father has the most excellent of intentions in mind for our welfare. Though we may grow weary of His reproof, because we fail over and over again, He still delights in us and will continue to shape us into the image of His Son. Because we are loved by the LORD, we will continue to be corrected by the LORD.

When the teenage leopard cubs were given warning to go, they rebelled. They despised the correction of their mother and her endeavors to upset the status quo. Although the instruction of God will require chastisement, His correction is never intended to harm or cause us anger. But chastisement is difficult, isn’t it? It requires understanding and patience, and an appreciation that God has our very best in mind. We ought not to rebel against what is a necessary part of our spiritual maturity. The wise, maturing child of God will appreciate that for the sake of reprimand God is at work doing something beautiful in their lives, and helping us to grow up in all things.

Dear LORD, I know in my heart that You work all things out for my good, even though I struggle with being chastised and corrected. Help me to surrender to Your ways. Give me a willing and quiet spirit that will contentedly yield to what you are teaching me. I ask this in the name of Your dear Son, Jesus. Amen.”

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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2 comments

  1. Aww…that’s sad about the baby Leopards, but obviously part of nature and the way the LORD intended it to be. Great segue into another fabulously written and meaningful article. Thank you Jennifer!

    God Bless~

  2. great article

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