Yesterday was a fun filled wonderful day. I prepared all morning to see some of my dearest friends from college. As we crammed 5 girls and 13, yes 13 children, 4 of which are new babies, into my little home, life was good. We ate and talked and played with each others babies and picked up right where we left off, just like always. It was a great time, but at the end of the day, I was feeling pretty exhausted. Lance and I had spent the weekend finishing a huge project that had been brewing for almost a year, our picket fence. I had painted over 150 fence pickets and my body was feeling it. The day before was spent with another group of dear friends from church, shopping, eating, and celebrating Sophie's birth. My heart was feeling full, but my body was feeling tired.
That night, Lance and I decided to get away for a bit after dinner. Our "getting away" includes our 4 small children. So we drove by, picked up some yogurt, and headed to the church playground for a change of scenery. We ate our yogurt at the kiddie picnic table and realized the sprinklers at church were going. This called for a triple dog dare to run through those sprinklers, I couldn't pass that up. So, I watched the boys run through sprinklers, laughing and soaking their clothes through. Being 6 and 3 means laughter will quickly preceed tears as their little soaked bodies are freezing with cold. So we stripped off the wet clothes and loaded everyone in the van to head home. My little 3 year old wasn't handling the cold well. He was crying, actually wailing, as we headed for the LONG 15 minute drive home. I was so tired and thought, why is he crying? He's dry, he's in a warm car, we're headed home. But, he continued to cry. Lance and I both continued to grow impatient. I wanted to snap at him and tell him to hush. But, by God's grace, I remembered something. A word. Gentleness.
Over the past several weeks, God has been etching this in my mind. I've read and remembered how gently Jesus treated his disciples, even when they didn't deserve it. I know He was tired, exhausted, weary. But, he continued to model gentleness with them. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls". Matthew 11:29. Isn't that interesting? We crave rest and our Lord will give us rest and gently lead us as we lead our children with gentleness. So, through gritted teeth, I approached my son with gentleness. I talked with him about that warm bubble bath that awaited him at home, while I spoke in a soothing voice. And, I saw something remarkable. He began to calm, his tears stopped, his body relaxed, and he started to become excited about that bath. The wailing child had calmed down, not from a snappy mom, but a gentle one. I learned something huge from my little boy about gentleness. I will pray for more of this and by God's grace, display it to my children, because it's awesome and amazing.
"Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3: 3-4