living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!

Cultivating Kindess

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I used to read all the time. I still love to read; it’s just finding the time to do it! I usually try to read a little before drifting off to sleep. So with that being said, it goes pretty much without saying that it takes me quite a while to get through a book! 🙂

But I finally finished a book entitled,” Feminine Appeal – Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother” by: Carolyn Mahaney. Such a helpful and insightful and encouraging book for women. I would encourage you to read it. As I was reading, I came across a portion that speaks about our Hindrances to Kindness. She had been talking about “kindness” and how the working definition of kindness is, “a sincere desire for our husband’s and children’s happiness”. This is where she then talks about three sins that often obstruct the godly desire and they are anger, bitterness and judging. The analogy she used about the hindrance of anger was such a good picture that I wanted to share it with you. She writes:

“If we hold a soaking wet sponge and squeeze it, what will happen? Water will fall on the floor. We may look at the puddle and think it was caused by the squeeze. However, the squeeze only revealed what was already in the sponge. You could sqeeze a dry sponge, but no water would come out.
What’s the point?
As with a sponge, what is in our heart will spill out of us when the squeeze is on. In other words, difficult intereaction or trying experiences (the squeeze perpetrators) are not the cause of our angry reactions; rather they serve to reveal the sin that was there all along. Matthew 15:18 says, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart.”

Expressions of anger reveal sinful desires in our hearts, cravings that are not being satisfied. So what is it that you are not getting? Are you craving peace and quiet, convenience and ease, a clean and orderly house, appreciation and recognition? Or do you long to get even, be right, win the argument? Whatever it is, we need to recognize that “wanting my way” is really the driving force the propels our anger.

You may think that these desires don’t sound all that bad. they may seem entirely reasonable. But as Dr. Prowlison articulates: “The evil in our desires often lies not in what we want but that we want it too much.” My problem was that I wanted these desires satisfied more than I wanted to glorify God by being kind.

Scriptures Solution to Anger:
As in James 4, we must humble ourselves and submit to God. When we are tempted to sinful anger, we must ask the Holy Spirit to open our spiritual eyes to perceive the sinfulness of our cravings.
It is helpful to ask the question: “What do I want more than I want to please God?” Then we must confess and repent from these evil desires. This requires humility, but we have God’s pledge that He will give grace to the humble. (James 4:6) He will help us turn from anger and cultivate kindness.”

When I had one child, everything was great as far as my attitude, my patience and things of that sort. It probably was a huge help that she had such a mild temperament and was very calm and pretty much did anything you told her, the first time. Hardly ever had to raise my voice… you know, just a great start. Well, then came my son. I love him to pieces, but he is a different work of art. Good? Yes. Ornery? For sure! Tests Mommy’s patience? Most definitely!!!! I know in the back of my head and in my heart that it’s just going to take a little more time and a little more diligence on my end to be consistent with him during these crucial training years. I have realized that it has taken a lot out of me. I have realized too that I may not be quite the patient person that I thought I was. 🙂 I think that one of the reasons the Lord has put my dear son in my life to show me areas in which I need to work on and areas in which I need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in my actions and reactions instead of “self” getting in the way. I know that this is something that I MUST work on. Instead of getting so frustrated because I have repeated myself 100 times that day, I need to be reminded of the truth God requires humility at those moments and to take God at his Word and ask Him to be my help in those moments in order to cultivate kindness to my children. I have to. I don’t want negative memories to encompass my child’s memories. I want my children to “rise up and call me blessed.”

If we devote our life to advancing our family’s happiness, the rewards will far exceed the sacrifices. It may be a while yet before we receive many of our rewards, but being kind and doing good today will yield sweet fruit in the latter years of our lives. Marriage will become more precious. Motherhood will grow more dear. The rewards will start coming – with bigger and bigger returns.

So my thought for today is to stop and focus on being intentional about being “kind” to your children. Especially during the stressful moments when the Lord is probably trying to grow us in a certain area and to allow Him to cultivate our hearts to yield the kindness and love that is expected of us as mothers and wives. Just another reminder that we need the Lord every moment of every day!

Love,
Jenn

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