But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 1 Thess. 2:7
This morning I found myself reprimanding my little girl for being harsh with her baby dolls. She does have five brothers and can be a little rough (so I'm glad that she likes to play with dolls at all!). "Cara, why are you hitting your baby? That is not nice! Why are you trying to hurt her? You love your baby! Don't speak to her in such an ugly voice! You don't want to yell at your baby!"
I realized as the words came out of my mouth that I was more guilty that she was in the way I treated my real babies! Could she possibly even be more influenced by her own mother than her brothers?? Ouch.
Over the past couple years and especially the past few months, I have really felt the Lord speaking to me about being a more gentle mother. It seems every time I open the bible I am convicted. I have been seeking Him more and more about this issue and two key words keep popping up--Gentleness and Grace. Tough words for someone whose natural bend is toward harshness and legalism. I know my shortcomings and I know God has better things in mind for me and my children.
I know my outbursts mainly stem from my own selfishness and struggles with anger and impatience, but I have noticed other triggers that only make things worse:
- when I don't get enough sleep
- when I don't care for my body through healthy food/drink choices and feel bad as a result
- when the house is overly messy/dirty
- when I haven't spent more time with my children than other things, like the tv, have!
- when I'm distracted from my calling to be a helpmeet, joyful mother, and keeper at home by other interests and my priorities are out of order
- and number 1--when I haven't spent enough time with the Lord
When those things are neglected, I am much more quick-tempered, so taking care of those things is a start.
I can do my part in that way and working on my own self-control, but ultimately, I CANNOT be a godly gentle mother on my own. No matter how I try and try I will fail. I think this is the main reason I am still struggling after all these years. Only through the power of God and His Spirit working in me, can I ever even begin to become the kind of mother God wants me to be. Prayer and constant dependence on Him is the only way.
So I am on a journey to be a more gentle mother. I am seeking Him to find out what this really means. I am asking Him to reveal His ways to me and enable me to follow those ways. I'm imploring Him to show me how to be gentle when I don't feel gentle, and how to show grace to my children--the way He shows grace to His.
Starting here: God's Word
And here: Give Them Grace