One of my many struggles.........a meek and quiet spirit. Neither, of which, comes naturally......obviously.
In my daily quiet time, I've prayed, begged, prayed more, and bartered with the Lord to just GIVE me a meek and quiet spirit. You know, I don't want to have to work at it or anything.....but all things earned are definitely much more appreciated. About a year ago, I realized I was too frazzled, too impatient, too frustrated, and too angry. Why did it take so long to figure that out? I dunno. I'm a slow learner. However, I have learned and grown in my quietness (some) and I recently read the book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell, which happened to find me at the appropriate time. Funny how the Lord arranges those sorts of meetings...
In every character building stage of our lives, there will always be challenges that bring about temptation and may or may not cause us to fail. Or at least take a couple of steps back. Tonight was one of those times...
Dinner time. Mom is trying to get everything on the table. At the same time trying to get everyONE to the table. Dad is late. One child is loudly singing a hymn. Another child is loudly humming a different hymn. Yet another child is whistling an unidentified piece of music. A three-year-old is banging a fork on the table. An eleven-month-old is crying. A lively daughter is doing pirouettes around her chair. Another three-year-old is whining. And the pouring rain in the background, for once, isn't soothing.
You want to know how I handled it all? I did what every stressed-out dinner-time mom would have done. I yelled. "WILL EVERYONE PLEASE BE QUIET!!!!!!" "For crying out loud, can we all just come to the table, sit down, and be STILL AND QUIET?!!!!!!"
For that one moment, all my hard work in meekness, or quietness........is just gone. I would love to tell you that this sort of thing rarely happens, but I'd be lying. It happens all too often. It did get quiet though....
The difference is, when I respond to my children with wrath and frustration, they become scared or frustrated themselves. When I respond in quietness and gentleness, and with a smile on my face, they respond in like manner. No one was doing anything wrong. Except maybe the whining. I'll never be able to handle that! But no one was being disobedient or sinful, they were merely being themselves, joyful, happy children, and I burst the joyful bubble. The atmosphere at the dinner table was completely different from what it was just a few moments before my outburst.
It's amazing how one little temper tantrum, or angry fit from a parent, can rob the room of joy. Thankfully, my children recover quickly, and thankfully, they always are ready and willing to accept my apologies.
"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:11
Maybe I don't want the whole earth, but I do want my children's hearts. And an abundance of peace. :)