Parenting


“Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Eph 4:26,27

Strong, but true words.

Josiah and I had a bit of a heated run in before bed time tonight.  We also had a beautiful time of reconciliation and these verses were flooding my mind.  I’m always amazed how the words of Scripture I am marinating on find ways of coming to life and incarnating themselves in my story.

Anger gives a foothold to the devil.  Wow, I’m sure tons has been written somewhere on this topic.  Think of what happens when you are angry.  For me, I start to create all sorts of false, over-exaggerated conclusions and judgments.  “He NEVER listens, We suck as parents, she is such a ****, I can’t stand him…” and so on and so on.  These thoughts may not last long, but they come and they whisper into our hearts and our minds.  Tell me those judgements and thoughts don’t give the devil a foothold to rob and divide.

Or what about our action in our anger.  “In your anger, do not sin”. What about the methods of control I try to use when I am angry, the manipulation or the unkind words.  Not only does that injure someone, giving the devil a foothold in their life for him to fester lies from the pain in their hearts,  but it also gives him a foothold in my life as I experience guilt and tell myself lies about my own personhood.

As Josiah and I sinned in our anger tonight we gave the devil an oppotunity to bring damage to our relationship and our souls.  I am thankful however, for the opportunity we had to reconcile, to forgive and to give our anger away before we shut our eyes on the day.  As we lay snuggling we each confessed our angry sins to one another and forgave each other.  I loved praying with my little boy for forgiveness and freedom from our sins.  I loved how sincere he was and how quickly and easily he wanted to re-connect with me.  What a picture of how quickly I should turn to God – desiring our connection to not be lost, and trusting his certain love for me.

I also love in these verses how it gives us something else to do with our mouths instead of sin in our anger.  Just as Tammy mentioned that these verses tell us instead of stealing, we should use our hands to make and give – they give an alternative to angry mouth sin as well.  Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them…Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

I just love how God doesn’t just say “Don’t” but how he also gives a replacement “Do“.

good. helpful. encouragment. kind. tenderhearted. forgiving.

It sucks to have heated moments with the loved ones in our lives, but it feels so good to love and be loved deeply enough to forgive one another, just as in fact we have been forgiven by God.

———————————-

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss



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My son spent most of the afternoon playing in this group of trees and bushes.  Yep, just him and the bushes.  There is so much nature at my mom and dad’s and the kids just get lost in it all day.  I notice this kind of play is different than the kind of play we have at home.  It is more creative and spontaneous and (the biggest difference) lasting.  They can play with sticks, rocks, grass and leaves for a very long time.  They are happy and sleep well.  They are learning about so many things and free to do so at their own pace.

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(An insect found by Liam and observed over an outside supper.)

I love it when my kids get a chance to really be free in God’s creation.  We try and get some nature time every day, but there is something so different about going for an hour to the pond by our house, or a nature sanctuary for an afternoon than this days at a time type experience.  I hope that these times, will help shape them into adults who love nature and want to take care of it because they are aware of how utterly amazing and soul restoring it is. 

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God’s gift of this kind of relaxation and restoration is one I am so thankful for.  So for now while it is available, we are going to soak it up.

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He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.  Psalm 23:2

It’s evening and I pull up to the house and see the lights on upstairs.  I am coming home from yoga, a brief retreat from the wonderful demands of stay at home motherhood.  I am feeling renewed and relaxed, having indulged an hour and a half to my body, mind and spirit.

Surprised, I see the garage door open and my husband standing there with our daughter, now 16 months.  I come up to the stairs and see the remains of tears cried in my absence on her cheeks.  I take her in my arms, kiss her soft cheek with great love.  She cried while you were gone he relays.  I tried everything, even feeding her ice cream but she just wouldn’t cheer up.  You didn’t take your cell phone, so I couldn’t call you.  (Yes that blasted cell phone we got solely for the purpose of me being gone from the kids and I left the house without it, thinking it unnecessary, as she loves being with her daddy so.)  My heart is breaking that she missed me and I wasn’t there, she is relieved to accept the comfort of my presence.  As a parent I try so hard to avoid this type of situation, preferring to let my kids grow into separation as they are ready, yet here I am, holding a baby girl who clearly felt forsaken by her mother.  I am thinking about verses read in this weeks bible study…

Isiah 49:14-15

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
       the Lord has forgotten me.” 

 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
       and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
       Though she may forget,
       I will not forget you!

As a mother, I feel such great love for my children, it is hard to imagine a more protective, nuturing love.  To think about forgetting my nursing baby and having no compassion for the children I have born at first seems incredulous.  Yet, upon reflection, I do so, in small and large ways all the time.  Such are my failings as a human.  The only way I can even begin to muster up enough compassion for my children is by being filled with the spirit.  As a parent, I need all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control I can get.  Thankfully, even when we fail those who love us and those we love fail us, we have a God who grants us forgiveness.  We have a God who just IS these things all the time and that despite our failings, we have a heavenly father, who always loves us and promises never to leave us!

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Father God

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus