Friday, January 8, 2010

Harsh Words

When my oldest child was 5 months old, the United States Air Force, by the authority of God, sent me on an all-expense-paid one-year trip to South Korea. Although it was the hardest year of my life, it was also the absolute greatest spiritual growth with Christ I had ever experienced.
Even though I was separated from my family, that was not the case with all Americans stationed there. Families were everywhere! I began my journey somewhat disgruntled seeing all the mom's with their babies, knowing my baby was thousands of miles away being cared for by her daddy and many others to compensate for his crazy work schedule and his 2-month deployment to Spain. One day, I distinctly recall walking past a woman who had 3-4 children. They were all very small, and she was scolding one of them very harshly. My heart broke into what felt like a million pieces as I discussed this scenario with my heavenly Father. I told Him how cruel that woman was being; she should simply be thankful to have her children with her to love, hold, cuddle, snuggle, hug and kiss all over them! Then I said it...those words I should have known better than to say, but I said them anyway...when I get back home, I will NEVER yell at my child!! WHEW, 7 years and 5 more children later I cannot tell you how many times I have EATEN those words!!! And, no kidding, every time I eat them, I am reminded of that day when I vowed to never yell at my child(ren).
I have been relying on my own strength to bring that vow to fruition, rather than studying and being absorbed in God's word, where He says, "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" Proverbs 15:1.
Lisa Whelchel explains the phenomenon of this verse, "It's amazing how potent a quiet response can be. Our motherly instincts tell us to talk louder and over our children to make sure we're heard...But the truth is, by simple physiology, a person has to listen more carefully to words spoken softly than to words that are shouted" (The Busy Mom's Guide to Wisdom, 2006, p. 47).
Please do not misunderstand, just as our (heavenly) Father must discipline us, we must discipline our children, but in the way He describes, not by acting more like a child than our children! I still fail at this, but am determined that God's word will have precedence in my life over the memories of regret. Take time to memorize His word, apply it and etch it into your heart so His word is first come to mind, not what nasty words can be said to gain your child's attention.

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