I took a Shakespeare class once upon a time. Most people thought I was crazy; I thought I was maybe smart, however, I think they must have been right!
Anyway–I loved the sound of the poetry, the syntax, and the obscure way Shakespeare presented a thought. Who knew being crazy could be so beautiful–I am looking at you, Ophelia. There was so much tragedy–so much humor–so much spoken between the lines that to grasp the depth one must attend.
My poor children received the sharp side of my tongue the other day. What I said was appropriate and right, but what I said between the lines was so very, very wrong. So wrong that I needed to apologize and seek forgiveness. It was one of those very sad mama days.
This tongue of mine–James 3:8 says that no human being can tame it and I would have to unequivocally agree! You know those folks who are great at thinking on their feet and have the best comebacks? I am not one of them, it usually takes at least 24 hours before one comes to me and then, of course, it is too late. *shrug* However, there have been those rare occasions that a snappy comeback flew out of my mouth that was neither witty nor amusing, but downright mean and calloused. It’s enough to make me want to crawl into a whole and never open my mouth again. I cannot tame my tongue.
There is this lovely verse in 2 Corinthians that encourages us to take every thought captive to obey Christ. The day my tongue let loose like a rain of fire? I was NOT taking my thoughts captive, in fact, I wasn’t even thinking about them in the first place. A mind submitted to Christ reaps a harvest of words committed to Christ, but even then….
Exhibit A: Four Children
Datestamp of said shrew-ness: Recently
Outcome: A Lesson in Humility and Forgiveness.
All is not lost when the tongue is a shrew. There is hope and forgiveness in Christ. There is power in the Holy Spirit. It is true that there is life and death in the tongue. Which will I yield to today? Which will I yield to tomorrow?
Let us bring healing with our words. Let our words be filled with gentleness and seasoned with wisdom. Let us endeavor to speak words of life into the hearts and minds of our people and also to ourselves.
I have been pondering growth a lot lately. It is probably due to this conference I have been asked to participate in that has me thinking about soil and seeds and water and nutrients.
I watched my babies grow and celebrated each milestone and worried over each delayed milestone. In parenting I have felt the pressure that all children should be experiencing this or that by a certain age even though it is common knowledge that not one child is like the other and therefore have different rates of growth and achievement.
At times that’s been difficult to remember.
I am at a point in my parenting where I am, at times, anxiously waiting for the seeds that I planted into my kids’ hearts to take root and grow. When they were young I amended their heart’s soil by adding in the nutrients of unconditional love, which did what was best for them and not necessarily what they wanted.
I planted the seeds of kindness, selflessness, respect, responsibility, repentance, and forgiveness. I hopefully gave them the right tools to tend to the garden of their souls.
I watered it with gentle responses (at times not so gentle and thank God for their forgiving hearts). I watered it with showing them kindness and respect. I watered it with humbling apologizing for my own parenting failures. I water it with prayer.
Now I wait. I continue to plant those seeds, but now I wait.
I wait for God to give the growth. I can walk my kids through the steps of what selflessness looks like. Maybe it’s seeing trash on the floor and instead of walking by it, we go together to pick it up and throw it away. Or maybe it’s doing a sibling’s chore. And sometimes it’s walking with them through the repentance and forgiveness process for something they did wrong.
But I wait for God to cause those seeds to grow in their hearts. I cannot make them grow. I cannot force them grow. I want to though.
Especially when it’s hard to wait on God.
This is part of my rest. This is part of my desperation for God. It’s the waiting on him. It’s the stilling of my mind and soul and emotions to be still in his presence and whisper, ‘God? Here I am. I am a jumbled mess. But here I am.’ and then be quiet.
Being quiet in God’s presence takes practice. It takes discipline. It takes moments of failure to train our minds to be quiet. To be quiet of worry, but to be loud in pondering the nature of God:
The goodness of Him.
The love of God, the love so overwhelming that it drives out all fear.
The power of God that causes those seeds to grow.
You are a seed planter. Plant your seeds and wait on God to water them and grow them.
This is the key to making it through those days when you get up out of bed and want to crawl back into bed, throw the covers over your head because there is a big, hairy, scary monster out there called ‘To-Do’ that just might chew you up and spit you out.
Oy. I love where God has placed me. It’s hard though. and this year is a stretch. I’ve got kids stretched out all over the emotional need spectrum. I have two teenage daughters–one half way through those teen years and the other just beginning. Then there is my son who seems to be on the cusp of pre-teen, I just wish someone would have told me my son would lose his brain at the age of ten…oh wait, someone did… I just didn’t believe them. And then there is the baby, who truly is in the middle of childhood. I wish I could go back and tell myself that those years when I had four children under the age of 10 were the easiest years yet. (I don’t think I would have believed myself either).
But God is faithful.
And full of wisdom.
This is the deal: when I abide, when I rest in him, when I rely on him for my strength, my joy, and my knowledge, I am truly carried through the turmoil of emotions that I don’t even know how to deal with within myself let alone guide my daughters through. I am given wisdom on how to relate to my son in such a way that lets him know that I value him. I am given times of joy when I take the time to laugh with my 8 year old.
When I abide, I am able to be in the moment with my loved ones. I am able to embrace exactly where I am at while also recognizing the reality that I am stretched to what feels my limits in regards to time management, home organization, and being what my husband and kids need at any given moment.
Abiding. It reminds me of rest.
A virtual rest in a very real, very busy life. A perspective shift. Instead of searching for solutions to the busyness, I choose to abide in the Lord in the midst of the busy life.
If I remain in him, he will remain in me. John 15:4.
There is peace there.
There is rest there.
There is hope there.
So much love.
Love greater than our greatest need or biggest fear.
Abide in him and watch how perspectives shift.
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I write to encourage you that you can experience a vibrant, transformative relationship with God even if your past or your shame tells you otherwise. God invites you upward and onward, will you join me? You'll receive weekly devotionals straight to your inbox. By subscribing you'll receive my 7-Day Devotional, Kicking Perfect, as a thank-you gift from me!