I have nothing profound or spiritual to say this month. I have spent the last few weeks trying to think of the perfect posts to write. Pouring over sermons stored up in my heart seemed like a good idea until I just couldn’t get those thoughts onto my screen. I kept feeling like I was shouting from a soap box, and that’s not necessarily what I want to put into this space. I want to give encouragement. I want to encourage you to speak life.
This week marked my self-imposed deadline to potty train my oldest because he starts his three-year-old class in September. I’m sure a lot of you mommas know that this week has just been blissful and calm. Of course, that’s just in my head: the place I escape to while my oldest screams and refuses to use the potty, and then my one-year-old climbs places I had no clue he could reach, and then I find him eating leftover tapioca pudding.
Stressful doesn’t even begin to describe it.
And the very thing I prayed that I would avoid eventually happened; I started yelling at my son. My son was scared by this new prospect of no diapers and a potty: fearful of new sensations, crying in pain and frustration. And I yelled at him. I even came close to threatening the loss of his favorite things if he refused the potty. Super mom fail. I was supposed to be his champion and cheerleader, his teacher, his trusted comfort. But I let my own frustration and self-doubt creep in and take over.
My husband, bless him and his encouragement, thanked me for all my hard work, and he reminded me that “success” in this week in no way reflects on my parenting. But he also reminded me how well our son was doing and reminded me to just hug him and cheer for him and stay calm for him. I had my sister-in-law sending me positive texts with encouraging words and tips to keep myself sane and how to keep my son feeling safe in this new, big-kid venture. What I learned from her the most was that my job is to speak live-giving words into my kids, especially in their most vulnerable moments, such as this week has been.
“Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2 NLT
“Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4 NLT)
“Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” Proverbs 29:11 NLT
“Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24 NLT)
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted , forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 NLT)
Scripture gives us so many examples of the life that is given in kind words and the harm in harsh ones.
So I spent a particularly sleepless night just asking God for patience and a calm nature for the rest of the week. I asked forgiveness for my harsh words, and I hugged my baby so tight the next morning and told him that no matter what, I’m so proud of what a sweet, silly, and smart big kid he’s becoming.
Sisters, be encouragers. Be bold speakers of not only truth, but of life. We hold so much power to lead by example to our loved ones and the community around us, and that starts with life-giving words.
With love and hope,