Monday, December 5, 2011

Yelling for Grace

Here goes God being funny again.

Last week was very stressful.  Natalie broke her collarbone on Monday, with Sophia's scans on Tuesday.  It took us the remaining five days of the week to get over all the stress of the first two.  We bickered a lot - the girls with each other, me at them for bickering and me just generally being grouchy.

Yesterday, on the way to church (why does it always happen on the way to church!!!), I found these words coming out of my mouth, shortly after the girls started bickering for no reason.  My exact words where 
We are all sinners but we have been found by grace.  I would like us to act like it, ok?
If you read that out of context, that might sound like I was hosting a very teachable moment and I am a very wise mother.

But I was yelling it at the top of my lungs.

All credibility goes out the window when you are trying to teach your children grace by yelling at them.  

Turns out, lots of siblings have been bickering lately.  I don't know if it is the moon or getting back to school after a holiday or the press of Christmas.  But it seems a virus whose only symptom is argumentativeness is plaguing our neighborhood. 

So, in my search for a cure, for at least this house and in His holy sense of humor, a piece of advice I'd given a friend a week or so ago came floating to the top of my mind as I was confessing my lack of kindness towards my children this morning:
Instead of trying to nag them into grace, show it to them.

If you have read any other posts on this blog, you will know I am a woman of action (and a big Simpsons' fan).  I must be able to apply the truth of what God is telling me to make it stick for any length of time.  And true to form, The Lord didn't let me go for very long without giving me a verse to help me show my kids what grace looks like.

It's from 2 Timothy 2:25-26 and this is the version from The Message:

Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth.

Let's review what is happening in my house:

Infantile indulgence?  Check.
Immaturity?  Check.
Inane discussions?  Check.
Fights and arguments over inane things?  Check.
Refusing to obey?  Double Check.
God's servant (me, supposedly) loosing temper and entering the fray? Check.

If these are the symptoms of the argument virus I mentioned before, this verse holds the key to a way of life that brings a cure (or at least relief):

Step away from the bickering (if possible).
Join in prayer with others about it.
Listen without judgment.
Remember: our faith in God; we love each other and there is always a way to work it out.
Stay calm.
Stay firm.
Practice this as many times as it takes for all of us to get the point.

Why?  Because.....

You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth.

That's what I'm trying to achieve as a parent, right?  Yes, that's it.  I would like for them to successful, beautiful, loving, serving adults - but they won't get there unless their hearts are changed and turned to the truth.

I am so grateful for The Holy Spirit because He is going to have to do all the heavy lifting here.  He will help me remember (I hope) and He will give me the courage to practice this (I pray.)  At the very least, keeping calm will go a long way.

And check in with me next week - I'll let you know if we have been cured of the bickering virus!

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