As part of the marriage seminar our church recently had Brad and Ashleigh McClain spoke about communication. At one point Brad said something that struck me… “Your words can be RAZOR BLADES or RAYS OF LIFE.” I took those words to heart (thanks Brad). A statement like that can be applied to so many situations in our lives.
One of my main prayers right now it that I will have more patience with my children and that my reactions will show kindness even if I’m frustrated. I want to be that soft place where they can fall and comfort them with my words and snuggles. I want to bring peace and calm to those not so peaceful sibling disagreements. I’ve realized that as a stay at home homeschool mom, who’s with my children 24/7, that isn’t always easy. Honestly, it’s a real struggle for me right now. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children and staying home with them. I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, in the crazy busyness of our lives I find myself having less patience and self-control with small things – a spilled drink, a torn page in a school book, a forgotten lego lying on the floor (found by my toe), or having to explain the same division problem 10 different times to no avail. None of these things truly matter, and yet what spills out of me when they happen lately is a long sigh, a roll of my eyes, a stern warning to be more careful or pay better attention, and while I hate to admit it, an occasional yell that I have to apologize for later. I have to remind myself that my kids are people to. They’re allowed to have bad days and be a little grumpy. They’re allowed to accidentally spill drinks, tear pages, forget legos on the floor, or not understand a math problem. Why not? I have bad days, I spill things, tear pages, leave stuff lying around, and I flunked Algebra and had to retake an entire semester! I need grace in my life and so do my children.
Galatians 5:22-25 says “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
It seems as though I need more of the Spirit in my life. When I feel squeezed by my daily life I want things like patience, kindness, and gentleness to seep out. I want my words to speak life and my immediate reactions to show love and self- control. This can only happen if I’ve been soaking up God’s truth everyday. I read a something in a devotional recently that stated something like this: While my feelings may be indicators they don’t have to be dictators. That’s good stuff! I always have a choice as to how I’m going to act and react and what words I’m going to speak. I may not always make the best choice because I’m not perfect, but
I’m striving to be better and learn more everyday. Some days I may have to apologize – A LOT – and pray that my children do as I say and not as I have done that day. I hear parents speak in absolutes about themselves far too often. They say things like “I always …” or I never …” Give yourself a break. Every now and then you’re going to fail miserably as a parent. At other times you need a special star-shaped sticker to wear proudly on your chest to proclaim to all just how amazing of a parent you really are. Both will happen, and both are okay.
We all want to be good parents. We all want our children to grow up happy and healthy, and to be men and women that love God and shine for Him everyday. So are our words and actions building them up or tearing them down? Are we filling up on God’s word and praying daily that we’ll act out the Fruits of the Spirit in front of them? Again, we always have a choice – choose wisely. God is in our corner and His word is full of encouragement for our daily parenting journey. Let’s rely on Him to help us be Rays of Life.
Below are some scriptures that I’ve been focusing on lately:
Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death.”
Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
2 Peter 3:15 “Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation.”
Proverbs 19:11 “ A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.”
Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”
1 Peter 3:4 “Rather, it should be your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are a honeycomb; sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Colossians 3:12 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”
1 Corinthians 13: 4a “Love is patient and kind…”