Gentleness. Speaking gentle words to my children is not something that often comes easily to me and that is not an easy thing for me to admit. I want to be the perfect mom. Calm and patient. Loving and kind. Gentle and soft with my words. Too often I am hurried by the stress of life, too much of a control freak, and too tired from either taking on too much or procrastinating until the last minute with my responsibilities. All of this adds up to an unhappy, impatient Mommy. I don't think I'm always harsh with my words - or at least I didn't until a comment Gabrielle made to me just before Christmas.
"Mommy, I wish you could be happier more."
Ouch! At the time I sort of laughed it off. I believe we were rushing around trying to get ready and out the door for some sort of Christmas celebration and when I'm trying to get everyone ready and out the door I'm probably at my worst. But that comment has lingered with me ever since and really bothers me.
I want my children to know I love them all the time. I want my children to really know being their Mom makes me the happiest person alive and I could not even fathom to begin to imagine a life without them. So when I came across this Gentleness Challenge on Women Living Well, one of the blogs I regularly read, I quickly and without hesitation accepted the challenge.
Has it been easy? Boy, I wish. I wish I could say that while reading the blog post this morning I didn't snap at Gabrielle when she came in to ask me for something. I wish I could say I didn't, once again, raise my voice trying to get everyone out the door this morning to get Gabrielle to school. But who said challenges were supposed to be easy. I guess they wouldn't really be called challenges if they were easy, huh?
I have, however, been able to stop myself midway when I find myself raising my voice, using a harsh tone, or about to say something hurtful to my children. And I pray that throughout this weekly challenge I will find new ways to replace my harsh words and tones with more words of love and gentleness. Children need structure and they need discipline and there is a time for firm words and actions - but taking out my stress and feelings of being overwhelmed on my children when they have done absolutely nothing wrong is not okay.
Hopefully Gabrielle will soon be able to say to me "You are a really happy Mommy!"
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here!"
2 Corinthians 5:17
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."