The discussion questions are:
Are there areas of hardness and coldness in my life?
What are the roots of these? Do I need to release someone who has hurt me in my past? Do I need to confess and release myself from the bondage of sinful patterns in my own life?What are some ways that I can turn the conversation around when other women begin to gripe and complain about their children?
Name some creative ways we can create warmer, more inviting
environments for our children.
Hmmmm....Whenever I watch "Leave It To Beaver," I
always so amazed at how
"perfect" June Cleaver is. She is everything I want to be..
She doesn't lose her temper.
She doesn't say things to her boys that she regrets.
She doesn't yell.
One of my favorite scripture passages is 1Peter 3:3-4
Wives, your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair
and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of
your inner self, the unfading beauty of a GENTLE and QUIET spirit, which is of
great worth in God's sight.
The Amplified says, "But let the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God."
Oh, how I want the hidden person of my heart to be gentle and sweet. How I want to be a Light shining the gentleness and love of Jesus.
One area where I struggle is having a critical spirit. I have high expectations for myself. I am "hard on myself." I tend to get mad at myself if I don't "perform" to my standards. I have struggled with feelings of being a failure when I don't do what I think I need to do.
So.....at times, I project that on my husband...and kids. When my husband is sick, for example, I will think, "when I AM sick, I keep going. Why can't he???"
And....I can be critical with my kids....put too high of expectations on them.
Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do
not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and
discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
This is something God has revealed to me (THANKFULLY!) and something (only through God) that I have improved upon tremendously. When I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me, I don't have to say the first thought that pops into my mind (like, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU......")
But not without consequences.
My 12 year old often will be critical of his younger siblings.
So, it is training in the counsel of the Lord. For both of us!
Washing ourselves in the Word transforms our thinking and our negative responses.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is
helping building others up (encouraging) according to THEIR needs, that it may
benefit those who listen. Ephesians 2:29
Clothe yourselves (this means I must make the choice- just as I
put on physical clothing, I must CLOTHE myself spiritually) with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other (I should bear
with my own children!) and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one
another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on
love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Above all things have an intense and unfailing love for one another, for love
covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
It is a "fine line" that we walk as parents. We must teach our children how to live blameless and pure, seeking God and His ways. I have to teach my children the difference between right and wrong. I must discipline them. There must be consequences for bad behavior.
But, one thing that God has whispered to me repeatedly, especially with Aly, my most sensitive child is "Be careful. Don't beat her up. Don't beat down her spirit."
I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit's guidance. And, when I make mistakes, I must go to my kids and apologize and ask for their forgiveness.
One of my favorite quotes is:
One of the best books I have read on PRACTICAL ideas of how to be motherly (and wifely and Godly!) is "A Woman After God's Own Heart." Elizabeth George gives practical ideas such as celebrating when your kids come home from school. This has such an impact on my kids when I make the time to do it! I have our fancy dishes out to give them a snack and sit down to talk about their day. It is a celebration that they are returning home. I loved this idea and they do as well!
I think the most important thing about being a motherly mother is being there for them....talking with them....sharing time and secrets with them....being THERE- mentally and physically. My kids love to watch movies together. But, they don't like if I am on the laptop when we are. They want my whole attention (even if we are giving our attention to the TV screen!). If we are in a conversation and the phone rings, I don't want them to think that the person on the phone is more important than them. I tell them I will call back.
God has blessed me with the most important ministry a person can ever have- being a mother. It is more important than speaking and writing. It is more important than teaching Sunday School. It is more important than leading a small group women's bible study. It is more important than volunteering in the community.
How I long to be that Proverbs 31 woman whose "children arise and call her blessed."
Please visit the Gathering at the Well for more motherly insight!