Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Last month, a wonderfully wise and kind older woman imparted wisdom to a room full of younger moms at our MOMS group at church on mothering in gentleness. Chris Sather is a mom of four grown children - a woman I would love to have over for a cup of tea and just have her pour all her years of wisdom and experience into my young mother's heart.
You can listen to her whole message here: BBC North MOMS, but I thought I'd touch on some of the highlights that I wrote down as I listened that morning.
- Life depletes our gentleness. It just does.
- Jack will probably have more to do with my sanctification than I will with his.
- A thermostat sets how warm or cool it will be, but a thermometer tells you what the temperature is. A temperature (like when you have a fever) tells us something isn't right. Strong feelings need to be a signal or a warning to us. Instead of having our feelings (anger, frustration, etc. toward my kids) dictate our behavior, we should use them as a gauge to realize something is wrong. Stop and think: Why do I feel this way? What lies under these feelings?
- Everything that comes our way (yes, even the spilled glass of milk at the breakfast table) is for our good and God's glory.
- Don't discount our feelings, but rein our feelings in to reflect God's truth - we need a Savior EVERY day.
- We have the SAME power that raised Jesus from the dead at our disposal to help us parent in gentleness!
- What's already inside of us comes out when circumstances squeeze us.
- If we remember how needy we are, our children's neediness won't (or shouldn't) bother us so much. Remember how gentle Jesus is with us when we have sinned - it will help you be gentle with the children he has given you.
- Our point of comparison is Jesus - not other people.
- As a mom, its in our job description to WILLINGLY bear burdens. (Galatians 6:1-5)
- Don't take your children's disobedience personally.
- Would you rather be RIGHT or KIND?
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 - "And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all." Our kids are given to us so we can really know them and lead them to Jesus. When they are idle, we are to warn them. When they are fainthearted, we are to encourage and comfort them. When they are weak (emotionally, physically, spiritually), we are to help them or support them aggressively. And we are ALWAYS to be patient with them.
I loved how she applied this passage from Galatians 6 to motherhood: "If any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor. For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults]."
Assuming we are filled with the Spirit, our job as a mom is to right, restore, reinstate our kids. God promises to give us the tools to do this. We're instructed to correct our children in gentleness and without an attitude of superiority - most of this passage is a warning to the one doing the correcting, not so much to the sinner. There's a temptation in all of our hearts to make ourselves superior, but truly, we are sinners just like our kids.
Moms - I would really encourage you to take the time to listen to this little message (its about 40 minutes if you fast forward through the table discussions) during nap time today. I needed the reminder to look to Jesus when Jackson rips a cover off a book with a defiant look in his eye and all I want to do is yell "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!!" I want to respond with gentleness, firmness and loving authority when he acts out.
This morning was an epic fail. I reacted to Jack with anger. It breaks my heart that I injured him with my harsh words.
So now I am going to walk in confidence that God's grace is enough for me (and Jack!) this afternoon and stop and think when my feelings are rising and my boy is the precipitant - "Be gentle. Jesus is gentle with you."
What are some great examples of mothering in gentleness? How can you apply them to your own life as a mother?