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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My take on Philippians 4:5

My kids know that by about 8:00 pm I'm done.  Like, "stick a fork in me, I'm done."  Like, "I'm punching out now and you may call me Mrs. Inglee", done.

What usually happens is that I call for bedtime and roughly 45 minutes later, their pretty heads finally hit their pillows.  Or maybe it is those crazy hours between 4-7 pm {during the school year} and I'm managing far more than one person should ever be held responsible for.  Or maybe it is the early hours of the morning and someone has woken up on the wrong side of the bed and can't seem to find a happy heart to get ready for school and we are rushing to get out the door on time.

 Or better yet, when I get stressed and start giving orders to my people to get things done right now.  Because now means now and. not. in. ten. minutes!

You see, my voice starts off sounding sweet and kind and patient.  But by the time I'm finished and they have done what I have asked of them, I don't sound so nice.  As a matter of fact, someone usually asks, "Are you angry with us, Mom?"  {Oh, dear}

 If you asked me, I would say I consider myself a gentle person.  But, there is something about asking the same small people to do the same chores over and over and over again that wears on my last good nerve.  {And we all know that a mama without any good nerves left ain't a pretty sight! Amen??}  And my voice starts to slide down that slippery slope.

Long ago my mother-in-law told me that once you yell, you'll always have to yell.  Such a wise woman.  Somewhere in the back of my mind Philippians 4:5 begins to surface.  "Let your gentleness be evident to all".  And I start to feel terrible.  Terrible because this isn't how I want to remember this season of my life.  Terrible because this isn't how I want my children to remember me.

So what's a tired mama to do about all this??  Well, I meditate on the Scripture and preach a little sermon {very little} to myself.  The fact that the verse says 'your' means that, in fact, I do have gentleness in me.  It also means that I have a part to play, some responsibility to bear, in the solution to my problem.  As a believer, I am filled with the Holy Spirit and gentleness is in me - it is part of my spiritual inheritance.  I need only to claim it and live it!!

I remind myself that it is in the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  And when I choose to graciously overlook their faults, messes and accidents, I am teaching them to be patient and forgiving with the mistakes of others.

I remind myself that I am the thermostat for my home.  My tone and mood are very often reflected in the moods of my children and how they treat each other.  By the same token, I need to watch my response to the many moods in my home, deflect the pre-teen mood swings and the late afternoon grumpies, to be the constant and steady.

  In other words, don't get on the emotional ride with them.

Perhaps I need only look as far as Philippians 4:4 to truly see what I must do.  The final word in that verse is.... REJOICE!!!  I can rejoice that I have healthy and active children, even if that means a noisy, messy house.  I can rejoice that they each are developing and 'on track', even if that means they have their own opinions and preferences and don't hesitate to express them.   I can rejoice that I have a passel of them to corral into a van to get from point A to point B ... even if it is like herding cats to do so! :0)

My home is full of reasons to rejoice, and so rejoice I will!!


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