Everything was quiet when all of a sudden an emotional eruption occurred in the office. I heard chairs being shoved as the exchange of words escalated quickly. Being in the middle of something supposedly important at the time, I listened to see if the two participants would resolve the issue themselves. One seemed to have calmed but the other continued an onslaught upon the other.

Knowing there wasn't a resolve coming, I had to get involved. The child who was still very angry sounding was now sobbing uncontrollably, so I sent him to his room to calm down. He stomped up the stairs, screaming that no one loves him anymore. I let the words fly over my head, listening only to the attitude behind the words.

My own attitude began to change. I felt my head begin to ache. As I spoke calmly and rationally with the other child involved in the scuffle, I could still hear the one upstairs who was not calming down, but was now throwing things around his room. I ignored the bad behavior, assuming that it would stop as quickly as it began. 

One of the other kids inquired about what was going on and was given an earful by the child who was still downstairs. Suddenly the child upstairs screamed again that she was a big liar. "Oh great!" I thought, "Now he's going into name calling!" I yelled up the stairs for him to go sit on his bed until he could talk rationally. He responded by slamming his door.

Now, he's done it! I'm angry and ready for war. As I'm stomping my way over to the stairs, Ashley interrupts me with a hesitant, "Well, I'm going to work now."

I was able to change my attitude, smile at her, and say, "Have a good day, dear."

It was a Jekyl and Hyde moment. I turned from her, and again was filled with anger at the child behaving so...childish.

I stomped up the stairs as my body stiffened. My son had positioned himself behind the door, trying to prevent me from getting in. My anger continued exploding inside my body.

When I finally pushed my way through the door, I began getting into his face, yelling at him, "You cannot yell at people just because you're mad at them!" I illustrated quite well to him.

Trying to avoid what I knew was wrong, I began to look around hoping to calm myself. Then I saw the condition of the room, they had supposedly been cleaning. Their laundry bag was full, which didn't make any sense at all. I began to pull out folded clean clothes from the dirty clothes bag. Again, I began to feel my blood boiling. I yelled for the other boys to get upstairs RIGHT NOW!

When my back was turned, John ran and jumped onto his bed. Imagine my surprise when I told him to come to me, and his response was a defiant, "NO!"

Immediately I thought, "I don't want to do this! I don't want to discipline this child."

Defiance has certain consequences in our house. Bryan seemed to enjoy the prospect of his brother getting disciplined for defiance. His attitude of joyfulness at his brother's demise, caused me to check my own attitude. "Oh my goodness!" I thought. "I'm a horrible representative of Christ at this moment."

I looked into my son's eyes, who had finally emerged from his bed after knowing he was going to get into trouble. I could see that his heart was wounded. I saw that he had been feeling like no one loved him lately. And here I was in the position of bandaging his wounded heart, or driving the wound even deeper.

I chose a bandage. We sat on the edge of his bed as I administered healing balm to him. That balm was a mother seeking forgiveness for doing the very thing that he was being disciplined for doing. The balm was listening as he shared how lonely he had been feeling, and that he didn't think anyone cared about him anymore. The balm was that of a mother crying for her son, stroking his hair, and reminding him that even if "man" or "mom" will fail him, Jesus will never fail him and will always love him. I reminded him that sometimes we all get a bit too busy with the stuff of life, to stop and show one another love in a way that he needs it. We hugged, shared some tears, and discussed that he was still wrong even if I reacted wrongly as well.

I told him what he would have to do to make restitution for his actions.

I had to go to the post office and expected that he would complete his task while I was gone.

While I was gone to the post office, my cell phone rang. The oldest child in charge was on the other end of the phone. She said to me, "Mom, John ran away." The words ran deep to my soul as I cried out to Jesus.

"Just let him be." I said to her. "He'll come back when he's ready."

All the way home, the Lord ministered to me about my need to change the way I react to my children. Then he reminded me of the father in the Prodigal Son story and that I must be that father today if I was to truly bandage his wounded heart.

When I arrived home he was sitting in the chair. I went over to him, smiled, and said, "I love you!"

Tears began to fall from his eyes as he said, "I know!" We embraced and both knew that his wounded heart had been bandaged, and healed by the creator of the universe.

Listen to Terri's weekly broadcast for home schoolers at www.thepathhome.com. In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site at www.ignitethefire.com or e-mail her at terri@ignitethefire.com