Monday, October 13, 2008

The Law of Kindness

"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." Proverbs 31:26

This weekend, I took my daughters to the Christian Heritage Mother Daughter Tea. Deborah Brown, wife of Scott Brown was the speaker. We had a lovely time, visiting with dear friends, and talking with some aquaintances, and meeting some new ladies. Mrs. Brown's talks were very encouraging (because my daughters are still young!), but also very convicting. She talked about raising our daughters to be Proverbs 31 women, and of course to do that, we must be Proverbs 31 women as well.

I decided to share this this morning because while she was speaking primarily about raising daughters, being a wife is an integral part of that, and I have really been struggling in the Proverbs 31 department lately. In talking with some others, they have also been struggling and so I decided it might not just be limited to a few of us. It seems that fall is always a time of struggle around here (as well as other parts of the year!); I don't know if it's because through the summer things have been more relaxed and then when fall hits, not only are we doing school, but football season is in full swing and we are on the go *a lot*. When we are not home, we don't have any real sort of schedule, and it is more difficult to catch the "foxes" of misbehavior/bad attitudes, and discipline suffers, and Mama's attitude suffers (I've also noticed now that we have adult and nearly adult children that their attitude tanks somewhat as well).

I have been thinking for at least a month (probably longer), that I need to be in the Word more, that I need to be thinking on the Scriptures throughout the day because I am not the wife and mama I need to be, let alone want to be. Then came Saturday. As Mrs. Brown read through Proverbs 31, I was... not crushed ~ God doesn't do that, but I was certainly wounded as I listened to those words of wisdom and realized how far off the mark I am. In the physical things, surely. My home is in disarray ~ while I do have the "excuse" of c-sec. recovery, a baby and toddler (one of which is fairly demanding of my time), and just flat out being out-numbered, in the end, that's all those are: excuses. I have allowed my lazy nature to grab ahold of those things and my household has suffered. My younger children have not been trained well because I had older children to do some of these things and it was easier to let that happen than to train the younger. Only now, my older children have jobs outside the home and they are playing sports, and they are not home to help very much, and I am left with children that really only know how to make messes and not clean up very well.

Worse than that however, is how far off the mark I am with my attitude. The verse I started this post with was particularly convicting. NKJV, phrases it, "She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." Prov. 31:26 Ouch!

I have allowed the state of my heart to resemble the state of my home. It is disheveled and disorderly. I am short, impatient and far too often, unkind words proceed from my mouth. Not to my Beloved so much, but certainly, too often. However, my children are with me day in and day out and they bear the brunt of my sin. As I realize this and think about it, it makes my heart ache. I see it in their faces, and in how they then treat each other.

How thankful I am that in Christ there is no condemnation! Romans 8:1 tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." That doesn't mean we don't do wrong, that we aren't convicted of sin; what it means is that we are forgiven and we can start fresh! I am so glad that each morning we are presented with a new day, full of possibilities and the strength of the Lord. I have not been in God's Word as I should, which means that I am trying to be a godly wife and mother in my own strength ~ which doesn't work particularly well. Did you read that? I am trying to be a godly wife, without the help of God. On my own. How arrogant is that? How ridiculous?

So. Tonight, after we're home and things are quiet, I am going to go to my Beloved and apologize to him for not being the wife he needs me to be. I am going to talk to him about what changes need to happen around here. Then, in the morning, I am going to gather the children (some of whom are not really children anymore), and apologize to them for how sinful I have been lately. I am going to ask for their forgiveness, and then we are going to talk about how the law of kindness is going to be on *all* our tongues. For they too, have gotten to be terrible in this area, but I know that much of this is because of the broken example I have set.

I'll probably be mulling over some of the other points she made as the days go on, but this is the most immediate point in my mind right now. I am so thankful that God has the wonderful ability to convict and encourage us at the same time. That we serve a God of forgiveness, and that when I am convicted of sin I am not left in despair, but know that there is forgiveness and restoration. That each moment is full of it's own possibilities and I don't have to wait until tomorrow or next week, but now, in this moment, I can ask for forgiveness and change my course.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your words and blameless in Your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." Psalm 51:1-12

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