“If you spill that juice you will get NOTHING else to drink for the rest of the day,” I bark at my two year old. He smiles and proceeds to tip the glass.
Time seems to stand still as I watch this sticky liquid roll over the table, down its legs and splash onto the floor and nearby walls. “That is it! NO MORE DRINKS FOR YOU TODAY,” I yell with my trademark scrunched eyebrows and clenched jaw.
His chocolate-brown eyes meet mine, and his bottom lip begins to tremble as he runs off with heartfelt sobs. This time something finally clicks in my sleep-deprived brain. God lovingly convicts me of my harsh reaction, and He gives me some insight into my behavior. How would I feel if that incident had been recorded, and I was forced to watch it? I tried to envision it and almost became ill.
I looked like a crazy woman! I crushed his little spirit over spilled juice. My son has a memory, and these are the events he’ll replay in his head. Do I want him to remember me always yelling, my face always displaying scrunched eyebrows? I tap him on the shoulder and his tear stained cheeks turn my way. In a very soft voice, I apologize and reaffirm my love for him.
Expecting his understandable rejection, I’m instead greeted by a huge smile, warm hug, and slobbery kiss. This is what I want him to remember; these are the memories I want him to reminisce about. I want be known as gentle and quiet – not loud, harsh and explosive. Some days it’s hard to choose gentle over harsh.
But you know what is amazing? I am blessed with the free will to make that choice. One of my favorite verses now sits where I can see it daily, and it reminds me of what God sees as precious.
“Instead, it 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 3:4 (NIV)
“Father, please forgive me for all the times I haven’t shown gentleness to my children. Help me be the woman from 1 Peter 3. I want you to look at me and consider me precious. Help me show my children the same patience and love that You show me on a daily basis, especially when…”