Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mercy Me, My 'Mometer's Rising!

I know they say all kids do, but my boys really do the darndest things. Really. Think along the lines of Dennis the Menace, and we'll be in the ballpark. For example, my two year old has this thing about making up these "concoctions." He'll get a cup and put the weirdest combinations of things in it; then he'll stir it, pour it around, and try to drink it. He'll probably grow up to be a brilliant chemist, but right now, my kitchen table and my kitchen floor are keeping Bounty in business (which is probably a good thing during these tough economic times). Still that's just one of the many examples during the day. Do you know how hard it is to pack for a trip when a 10-month old (albeit an adorable one) is pulling everything out of the suitcase that you're putting in, and the two year old is wading up the neatly folded piles of clothes and stuffing them in the underwear compartment? Then the other day I found a screw pounded crookedly into the bathroom wall by four-year old hammer-bearing hands. Sometimes I feel like I am completely going to blow my top. Many times I actually do. I think it is especially hard to stay cool with little whirlwinds underfoot when I am trying really hard to get something done in my house so it does not look like it could receive an emergency disaster declaration.

If you've ever felt this way, too, I am so grateful that God's mercy is there to help us in our time of need. While anger in and of itself is not a sin, I do sin when I react in anger by yelling at my children and treating them harshly. Anger is not a fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, patience, kindness, and gentleness are (among others, I know). As James 3:2 states,

"We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."

While the struggle with our words and reactions is natural, here's what God's mercy and grace are teaching me about remaining calm, loving and gentle in my spirit when I instead feel like I'm about to measure a 9 on the Richter scale:

  • First, breathe. Deeply. Slowly. Sounds silly, but the extra oxygen helps your brain think more clearly (and calmly).

  • Pray (usually for me, quickly!). Just a short and sweet prayer to ask for God's divine help in the situation.
  • Deliberately choose to surrender my tense spirit to the Holy Spirit, knowing that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. As a mortal mom, I could not break the pattern of responding to my challenges by becoming mean-spirited at times, but the Holy Spirit supplies what is lacking and allows me to handle the situation as I should.
  • Here's a biggie: Lower my voice. The softer I speak, the calmer I feel. One mom said she never yelled at her children (really never?!), because she purposed not to. It's a conscious decision, and we are strengthened to be able to master it because of God's grace and help--His mercy.

Growing perfect in love is a process, one not fully complete until we're in Christ's physical prescence. I will try to do better each day. But at the end of each day, may we take comfort remembering our struggles are part of the process of developing perserverance.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

--James 1:2-5


  1. Good advice.

    I tell my wife though, don't expect to be someone you are not. God has given you a particular set of personality traits, and I frankly love hers. It would be way too difficult to live in a house with a woman who "needs" to have everything spotless all the time. That would probably be a bit tiring.

  2. Thank you for this post! I checked out your blog for meal plan monday and saw this post on the side which looked as if it was just for me. I too have 3 extremely energetic boys that make it impossible for me to hold everything together with perfection and I'm not supposed to or expected to. I needed this reminder today and I thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.