“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Philippians 4:5 NIV
Gentleness. Eek. That word sometimes makes me cringe. My desire to be gentle with my sweet, little children is so real, but then something happens. One child smacks another or drops their entire plate of food on the floor or throws up. This is real life in a large family. And then it happens. Drill sergeant mom pops in. “Stop hitting! Where are the paper towels? Clean up after yourself!”
And then the Lord convicts me of my sin. I wonder, “Will I ever get this right?” Reality? Probably not. Not in this world at least. So what’s a mom to do? How can I practice being more gentle? Are there simple steps I can take to become a sweeter more gentle mother? Absolutely!
First, we must pray and confess our sin to the Lord.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV
Ask the one who made us and gave us these beautiful children to work on our sinful hearts. To change us from the inside out. I often pray this prayer.
“Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips.” Psalms 141:3 NLT
It’s a fantastic verse to memorize. Because we know that,
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIV
So getting in step with the Lord by confessing our sin and asking for His help is a key first step in developing a more gentle spirit.
Don’t get distracted. I believe distraction is one of the many weapons Satan uses against busy moms. We must stay present to be patient and gentle.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”Proverbs 4:25-27 NIV
But the temptations of this world are so real. How are we to stay focused on our tasks? Again we must pray.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV
Listen for the Lord’s prompts and he will gently remind you and help you resist your temptations. Whatever it is- constantly checking your phone or computer, Facebook, online support groups, shopping, curriculum worry, the list goes on and on.
But don’t quench Him. Don’t ignore His whispers.
“Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV
Now let’s consider another portion of the first verse…The Lord is near. If Jesus were in your home with your kids, what would He be doing? Let that picture in your head sit with you a bit. Would He be stressing? Or would He patiently clean up the vomit? How would He handle the squabbling children? Would He disciple and discipline them gently? Would He help the child clean up the spilled food? I think He would. Let’s envision Him being physically present in our homes.
The last part of the verse we need to consider is “to all”. How do we make our gentleness evident to all? We must be good models for our children. We must teach them how to be gentle.
“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” Titus 2:7-8 NIV
By modeling and teaching our children how to be gentle, patient and loving we will make our gentleness evident to all and pass on a legacy of gentleness to our children.
The struggle to be gentle is real! By confessing our sin and need for His help we can get in step with God. By resisting temptation and staying present in our homes we can be more patient and gentle. By envisioning Jesus in our homes we can better follow His example and model gentleness for our children. We will never get this perfect, but by encouraging one another and with the Lord’s help we can work towards conquering it and leaving the legacy we desire.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
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