After my last blog post, a friend asked, “how did you get from there to here?” Meaning, how do you go from getting frustrated and angry quickly with what your little ones are doing to being patient and gentle with them.
Well, first, I definitely haven’t arrived! I’m entangled somewhere along the bumpy, winding, overgrown path from there to here. I take a lot of wrong turns and make U turns frequently! I’ll get there by heaven!
I’ll be honest. I’m a yeller. I could blame it on my aggressive, battle-ready German blood, or on the fact that my parents yelled, or on some circumstance in my life, but it really just comes down to my own sinful heart. Don’t we all want what we want right now? I’m impatient and when I don’t have control I yell.
But every once in a while, on this messy path, I catch a glimpse of sonlight. It peeks through the anger, frustration, yelling, and imperfection and shines brightly in my face. It’s that still, small voice that whispers in my heart, reminding me to pause, to think before I act, to not just react.
That sonlight and still small voice belong to the one and only Holy Spirit. If you know Jesus, you have his Spirit within you desiring to be your guide along this tangled mess of a journey. As I’ve been thinking about my friend’s question He has come to mind as the most influential person in my mothering.
Let me draw a picture for you. You are sitting in your living room, in your favorite spot, cozied up with a blanket and a cup of your favorite hot drink. You have a book on your lap opened and you’re engrossed in the story. The house is quiet because the little ones are napping and the bigger kids are watching a movie. You flip page after page as you eagerly anticipate what’s going to happen in the book. Suddenly, you find yourself not being able to concentrate on the words on the page, but find your mind wandering to all you should be doing. You get a little butterfly like twinge in your gut, maybe a quickening of breath, and you feel fidgety. No longer can you relax and engage in the book, because you just know your responsibilities are rising to the surface and you need to get off the couch and start the dryer and get supper in the oven or the rest of the evening will go downhill quickly.
That’s what it feels like when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. That’s the best I can describe it anyway. You’re in the midst of your frustration and anger with your child, and, if you’re willing to be aware of it, the Holy Spirit is causing your mind to think of something else, something better. Maybe He’s just saying, “pause, breathe” or maybe, “there’s a better way” or “will this develop the fruit you want in your child”. If you are in God’s Word regularly, guaranteed the Holy Spirit will use those Words you’ve read to help you and guide you in those moments.
Have you ever felt that twinge in your gut? I call it a “catch in your spirit”. It’s like there’s this little invisible tug, as if the cord that attaches my spirit to the Holy Spirit is being tugged on.
In that moment, when I feel that tug, I have a choice. I can stop and listen and breathe. I can choose to take a moment and consider how big of a deal it actually is. I can decide what’s best for my relationship with my child and what will actually bring about a heart change.
Or…I can choose to plow ahead on my own, giving in to my fleshly desires and sinful heart. I can choose to react harshly and push my child away. I can choose to forget about their heart and the consequences of my actions.
Sounds so easy in writing. Yet it’s so hard on real life. Why?
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19 ESV
We all have a war that wages within us between our flesh and the Spirit. And we all are imperfect. And we all want to hang on to our sinful ways because they appear to give us the results we want. But in reality, they are fake results without eternal change.
for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 ESV
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8 ESV
We will reap what we sow. What do I want to sow into my kids’ hearts and my heart?