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“I wish I was allowed to say swear words because I really want to call you the ‘F word’ right now!”

That’s my eldest, bright red in the face and screaming at me from her room while I stand in the kitchen taping up her little sister’s fingers. She was supposed to be in time out while I had a shower but she had come out and bent her sister’s finger right back. It looks swollen.

I go to her school bag and remove the $3 I’d given her for the school sausage sizzle.

“If you can’t behave yourself, you will lose things. Starting with this money.”

She pokes her head around the corner and throws a shoe at me.

“I hate you,” she screams. “Put my money back now!”

Who throws a shoe?

“Okay, now you’re losing your iPad too.”

She throws a hard rubber ball at me and screams. The smallest daughter is staring, wide eyed at her sister’s ridiculous tantrum.

She continues to rant and scream. She scrapes at me with her fingers. She storms back to her room then comes out and throws a basketball at me. I go into her room and take down the mini basketball hoop and put it up high in my walk-in robe. She follows me screaming, ranting and calling me an idiot.

She tells me that she’s not going to school. I tell her I think that’s a good idea. She loves school so she finishes getting ready.

She hits her sister with a hairbrush. I tell her that she won’t be going to basketball training this week.

“I hate you,” she screams again.

“And now you’re not going to youth group either.”

I sigh. I’ve managed to remain calm. Taking away basketball training wasn’t a good idea. She needs the outlet. Taking away youth group was stupid. She really needs Jesus.

“Can you brush my hair?” she says. She passes the brush behind her back. “But I’m not looking at you.”

I brush her hair as gently as I can, calling on every little bit of patience I have.

I quietly ask her, “do you wish you could stop… but you just can’t?”

Her shoulders begin to shake. She is crying.

“Yes,” she whispers.

“Do you want a cuddle?”

“Yes please.”

We sit on the couch for a long cuddle. I tell her that I love her, that I am proud of her, and that when she is kind, she is very kind.

I say a silent prayer over her.

We reset.

Minutes later she is hopping on her bike to leave for school. The three-year-old stands at the window and yells out to her, “hey, I love you!”

A little grin breaks outs. She puts her helmet on and rides away.

Love wins.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9