I'm not a morning person. Ok, that is the biggest understatement of the century! I'm a get 2 cups of coffee in my system before I can carry on a conversation type of morning person. This morning however, though I didn't bound out of bed ready to tackle my day, I did wake up when my alarm clock went off and made some coffee and had some time in the Word. It was a beautiful and quiet time in my house with me, God, my Bible and a good cup of coffee.
I recently heard a speaker talking about how sometimes as moms we sometimes have a hard time getting the deep study of the Bible that we had before junior was tugging on our arms all day and night. Sometimes it gets discouraging. One of her suggestions was to pick one scripture a day to just really meditate on. It may not seem like much but in a year's time you will have meditated (chewed on, thought about) 365 scriptures. I'm wanting to spend more time in the Word this year. I actually couldn't tear my eyes away this morning and just kept reading and reveling in God's amazing mercy to Israel in Isaiah. I picked a part in Isaiah 41 to be what I was going to feed my soul throughout the day.
As almost nearly always happens when you get up early to spend time in the Word to start your day (or at least happens with me), my morning fell apart and my patience was tested! I woke my boys to get ready for school and they started in pretty good moods. Then all of a sudden they were picking on each other. My middle child was missing his belt, a dress code requirement at our school. In the midst of searching high and low for a belt, I found my voice with my kids getting sharper and sharper. I was so annoyed at the lack of listening, the fighting and the disrespect both to me and to each other.
I went downstairs in the laundry room hoping to find the belt that I swear I recently saw that came in a bag of hand me downs from a friend. I angrily threw laundry across the room muttering swear words under my breath. My kids were going to be late for school all for a stupid belt. I felt convicted and asked the Lord to give me patience and to help me to use self control with my own attitude. I did better for a few minutes but then was right back to muttering under my breath and being snarky with my kids. Finally we find the belt but by this time, mamma was OVER IT!
I hollered at the kids to hurry up and get to the car. I yelled at them when they didn't get in right away. I landed on the oldest when for no reason at all he elbowed his little brother while they were getting in the car. I yelled again when the fighting was keeping them from buckling up. I yelled that they were yelling at each other and not speaking to each other with kindness. Then I heard myself. Here I was yelling at my kids telling them to stop yelling at each other. Here I was unkindly telling them to talk to each other with kindness. The irony was not lost on me.
A different verse filled my heart. "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Prov 15:1 I was guilty of stirring up anger. I was just as much, if not more, to blame for the tense way the morning had gone. I told my kids that we had had a pretty rough start to the morning and I'd like a redo. Rather than starting our morning fighting, let's start over and start it right, with prayer. We prayed in the car. I confessed my sins of not practicing living in the fruits of the Spirit and asked the Lord to forgive me for using harsh words. I thanked God for His faithfulness to forgive us when we confess.
And when we were done praying, I took another serving of humble pie. I turned to my kids (we were at a stop light) and asked them to forgive me. I told them how sorry I was that I had not talked to them with the kindness and grace that I was asking them to show each other. I apologized for expecting something of them that I wasn't living myself.
The good news about eating humble pie? Though it definitely took me down a few notches in my pride, I started the morning with the forgiveness of the Lord and then the forgiveness of my children. The rest of the ride to school was filled with joy and laughter. I couldn't help but laugh when I got home and read my friend's Facebook status, "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Col 3:21"
Lord, thank you for reminding me that my children are watching me. Thank you for convicting me and giving me grace when I blow it. Help me to not embitter or discourage my children.