I was working on memorizing my verses for Bible study while in the nursery at church during Sunday School. I didn't think it would hurt for the little one-year olds to hear the verses out loud and the songs that I know that go with those verses are ones that I learned in Sunday school or with my kids. But as I studied some words jumped out at me, "Let your gentleness be evident to all." Conviction came as I remembered my morning as we were getting ready to leave for church.
We were late and I was reminding everyone without yelling that we needed to hurry and I need to be in nursery and we're having company and we don't want to have to do a lot of things when we get home. I wasn't yelling but I wasn't being gentle at all.
Does the gentleness being evident apply to our children? Do they really count as part of "all"??? If this is true, I fail often in this regard. Yes, I need to draw lines with them and keep those boundaries, but I'm sure there are ways to do that gently and I've gotten beyond that. I'm either ignoring what they are doing, reminding a lot or I'm jumping down their throats as it were to knock it off and start their work. Not consistent by any stretch.
So in order to be gentle, what can I do to make this work? First, as a mom, I must be vigilant. I don't go off-duty, except when everyone is in bed and even then I'm on-call. Yes, we can have some time where we carve out time for ourselves with the Lord. But if I am aware of what's happening and keeping track of what ultimatims I have laid down, I will be more consistent. I need to be slow to speak, as it says in James. If I'm quick to tell them a command, then I must be able or willing to follow through. So I need to be careful what I say. Slow to wrath - if I'm careful about what I say and keeping up with what I've said, then I will be slow to anger.
These things may be a bit difficult with seven children, but all the more reason they are necessary. I can't have my kids growing up where their mother is always growling about this or that. So if I can be patient at work and gentle with the people that I work with, then what about at home? Why not?
My perspective needs to change. If kool-aid is spilt on the floor, after I just mopped it, how will it help if I stand there and get frustrated with the child for five minutes? How about if I just helped him get a cloth and got down and helped him clean up, especially if he wasn't being careless. Or as is our usual policy, we don't get mad but they are responsible for clean-up. Even a two-year old can clean up his spilt milk. Not perfectly, but if perfection is what we are looking for then our perspective needs to change.
That's my thoughts for today.