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When Words Are Harsh

Always thankful when Brad shares his words here…

when-words-are-harsh-parenting




Since the day the Lord blessed us with four baby boys, I feel like I have been on a parenting crash course.  There is no class each year to prepare you for the next phase of parenting, you know?  Have you ever woke up one morning and said, “Wait a minute, this parenting thing isn’t going so well right now, what happened?”

A while back, Jen and I were noticing that our children were not speaking kindly to one another.  Sometimes, they were being flat out hateful in their speech and actions.  Angry words, kicks, slaps, and screaming ARE NOT fruits of the spirit last time I checked.  We would sit down with them and have long talks about how the Lord expected them to treat one another.

No matter how many times we shared this Bible verse with them, it didn’t seem to carry any lasting impact.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

So, I asked myself a few questions:
Am I demonstrating the things I am teaching?  Are the commands I am giving my children reasonable?  Am I treating them how I would want to be treated?  When you fly by the seat of your pants in parenting, you tend to react harshly rather than reasonably.

I suddenly realized that my own actions were probably at fault.  When I had asked them for the 5th time to do something, I was becoming irritated and spoke harshly to them.  Our God, in his infinite wisdom, was trying to give me the answer to our problem in the very verse I had been teaching my children.  Was it possible that my harsh words were stirring up the anger in our home?

The answer was yes.

I committed to keep a kind tone {“a soft answer“} when I rebuked my kids, and to actually lower my tone a bit to remind myself to maintain self-control.  I still disciplined and reproved them for their failure to obey, but I did so firmly in a kind and calm voice.  It’s amazing, they have been so much more sorry for their disobedience, and they reacted more often in sadness than anger to my rebukes. (Important: These results were not immediate, but after several days of practicing a softer tone.)

Sometimes doing this took great patience, and at times I have failed to maintain control.  The first few times, they continued to get angry at my rebukes. However, as I consistently remained calm, I saw a miraculous change in them.  They are calmer, kinder, and more willing to take a rebuke than ever.

We want to remember that our kids are human too, and while they MUST obey us as parents because the Lord says so, they are still primarily Gods children who are made in God’s likeness.  He has given them to us as a gift, but they are his children.  They deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.  Too often in the past I have treated them with such disdain in my speech.

Today is a new day, let us give our children every opportunity to please their Lord.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Colossians 3:20

Have you ever, like me, suddenly realized it was your own problem manifesting itself in your kids?  Tell us about it in the comments. ~Brad

 

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On Being Steadfast…

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Oh, Parenting.  You are a different bag of tricks than I had expected.  I’ve been searching for the quick fixes, and happily ever afters, and everyone wins, and they’re not to be found.

Instead it’s the daily race of being steadfast.  It’s being a constant, consistent, calm, steady, gentle, faithful, firm, continual, and grounded in truth.

It’s being quick to ask for forgiveness.  It’s crying over failures.  It’s starting over again and again and again. It’s not knowing the solution, but being determined not to give up, and stay the course (even when you want to run away and throw in the towel).  It’s asking God to help me when I miserably try to do it all on my own strength.

I know that everyone warns me about parenting teenagers with dread and eye rolls, but I think teenagers are made here. This is the groundwork. This is where it counts. Character is made in these everydays of life.

Yesterday our sermon from our dear friend Bryan was on being steadfast from I Corinthians 15:58,

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 

It doesn’t quit, it doesn’t even pause.  It’s a continuous work of love. It’s in our church, in our jobs, and in our homes.

It’s not in vain, My Friends.

In the hard, in the mess, in the fear, in the conflict, in the trenches - This is the LABOR that matters.

 

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the unknowns…

trusting-God-in-the-waiting-and-unknowns



I’m not sure if you’ve figured this out about me yet, but I’m a planner. 

I like to know what’s coming, and prepare for it accordingly. 

Patience isn’t my spiritual gift. 

I’m most comfortable with security in knowing what to expect, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way…

Last night the unknowns of this week ahead started to feel heavier as my head hit the pillow. (It’s when fear seems to always strike me. The ending moments of the day in the darkness.)

Will there be another surgery this week?  Will this week be the ending of  this long and difficult physical trial? How painful will tomorrow be? Will the boys be okay going through another uncertain week? How can I guard my heart? 

I was quickly reminded that there are so many hard things to wait for in this life, and so many much more difficult to bare than my own.

Waiting for results for a potential returning cancer, waiting to find out if the home you love will be taken, waiting to find out if a child’s marriage is going to end in divorce, waiting for excruciating pain to lessen, waiting to see if a loved one is going to turn the corner…

The brokenness of this world is so real around us. 

This morning I started my morning reading Psalms 27.  I’ve been reading A Shelter in the Time of Storm, which is a book written based upon the hope of this psalm for a broken world. It ends with “Wait for the Lord: be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” 

I think it’s no accident that David repeats, “Wait for the Lord”, twice in one breath. We need to be reminded every thought during the unknown days. It’s waiting with purpose. It’s not waiting that is filled with impatience or annoyance. It’s a waiting filled with strength and courage.

This waiting isn’t without reason, and neither is yours. It’s not time wasted or lost. God can use this time in our lives to mold and shape us, as we are all the more desperate for His grace.

Today I’m praying for courage and strength for my unknowns this week, and the uncertainties you may be facing in your own struggles.

 

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