Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taming of the Shrew

A couple of months ago a single evening event changed my thoughts towards another person. I was very disappointed and found myself in a newly formed relationship with them. The mold that was there had been broken and we started to build a new one. One that was foreign to both of us, I felt like my role had changed. And the one area that I was condemning them on, infected me and became my own nemesis. The most powerful sword of destruction, the tongue.
My tongue has really been my master lately. And it seems like once that gate has been opened, the harder it is to lasso that slimy creature back in. I have always had a quick silver tongue. Most times it is all in fun and wit, and other times it is for saying the perfect comeback at the perfect time only for me to live with the regret of my quickness for the rest of my life.


Wyatt is not saying anything yet, still just making baby grunts and precious babbling. And I'm OK with that. I know the pain of spending your life trying to get that seemingly little muscle to work for good and not evil. To not slander, gossip, talk excessively, lie, flatter, abuse, hurt.

My love language is words. I can live for weeks on a simple compliment. I talk to myself all day long. I get high on the praise and then mull over comments and wonder if there was a hidden agenda. I wonder why someone said something the "way" they said it. I can also hold onto the sting from a negative comment for years. I am just a words person. And because of that, it is easy for me to encourage others with words just the same. They truly can be such a beautiful gift.

Yet out of my same mouth can come this spill of yuck. I can be my own Medusa. And who catches the brunt of my nastiness? Who do I snap at when I'm stressed or just worn? Not that friend that stops by unexpected that interrupts the schedule, after all that is a welcomed break. I sit and chat and laugh and feel fulfilled. Instead the negative flows out to land on my little blessings. These little gifts. The very young women I'm instructed to mentor. The little husbands in training, learning how to speak to their wives.

Makensie is a words person too. She loves me to tell her all the things I love about her. She eats it up when I read from the journal I've written to her. In the early morning, the smell of coffee, the sun rising, the birds singing, having spent time at His feet, the sound of a baby starting to yawn and stretch, the to do list made, hope for a blessed day, all else still. It feels as if life is just where it suppose to be, calm, quiet, beautiful.

I try to hold onto this, yet it feels as almost daily I fail at some point and lose my self-control and snap without thinking. Is it really that hard to say for the 100th time "Brian, use your inside voice, please." and take time out to train, correct and discipline when needed vs "BRIAN! USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE!" No wonder the kids yell when they get frustrated. No wonder Makensie talks back or speaks sarcastically to me at times. Those are the times when I just want to get sick or throw up my hands in defeat. What am I doing?! What have I taught them? What did God see in me to trust me with 4 kids? I'm sure people have stopped by to hear me yelling upstairs rather than just walking up to talk to them or calling them down. It just seems that I often choose to speak roughly to them the first time lately...bossing them around...rather than talking with them. Isn't this what caused the downfall in my relationship to begin with? Why is it easier to judge someone else for the same flaws I have myself?

One of the things I've changed in the last 3 weeks is going back to the listed chore charts for the kids. I lay them out each morning, they are printing and kept in a cover sheet for crossing off tasks with the dry erase marker. And as the Bible says, if you don't work, you don't eat. So since I don't want to start in with the yelling from having to remind them to feed the pig or put away their laundry 10o times and then having to discipline them when I'm upset; the chores have to be completed by lunch or they don't eat. This has too been difficult for me, I always hate to seem them hungry, but I've found hunger to be a better motivator than fear of getting into trouble. Two of the kids have missed lunch, several times, one of them has the chores completed 1st thing so they are free the rest of the day. This has helped my sanity immensely.

Now to retrain my strongest muscle to always speak gently first. I would never speak to my friends with the tone I have with my kids sometimes just because "it's been a bad day, I'm tired, I'm grumpy" or speak to them in a make to make sure they knew I was annoyed with them. Where did I ever get it in my head that it is OK to act that way with my own flesh and blood? Where did I get it in my heart that my own personal interests are more important and warrant not being interrupted? A lot of noise, squabbling and disorder can quickly raise my blood pressure. And guess what happens when you have kids, 4 young kids? Noise, squabbling and disorder. Yesterday I took the baby outside and walked around a couple of times, just being outside in the fresh air seems to give a better perspective. At least for the first 30 seconds before all the others come searching for me, "what are you doing, mom?" "are you going somewhere" "can you get me some tea?" "Brian came in my room without asking".

I look forward to the construction going on in the back yard being completely shortly so that we can all be outside in the beautiful weather more. I look forward to being a woman of grace and gentleness of words. I know that what is in my heart will be developed to be a blessing to HIM.

Psalm 141:3-Lord guard my mouth and help me to shut up.
Eph 4:29-32-Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,...Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Lord forgive me. Thank you for shedding light on my sins. Thank you for convicting my heart. Thank you for accountability angels in the form of friends. Please Lord, Protect my children from my tongue and allow them to find comfort in you when I fail them. I pray that I will direct them to the only one who will ever fill all their needs, and never fail them or hurt their little hearts out of selfishness, weakness or frustration. Lord grow in me a new heart today, one that will desire your approval above all others. Grow in me a new spirit today that will be ultra sensitive to my tone and words. Grow in me wisdom today to sense when to hide away in prayer before saying something I cannot ever take back from the ears of babes.

2 comments:

WendyJanelle said...

Oh, Suzanne,
You so often write just what I need to hear. You seem to always know what I'm going through. I think God uses you much more often than you can even imagine.

"I would never speak to my friends with the tone I have with my kids sometimes just because "it's been a bad day, I'm tired, I'm grumpy" or speak to them in a way to make sure they knew I was annoyed with them."

Yes, this was me tonight. I got grumpy b/c of the bickering. Trevor did this, Trevor did that. Trevor is a hyperactive 3-year old, so what do I really expect? Was he TRYING to be naughty? No. He was just being himself. Would I speak to you, my friend, the way I spoke to my husband tonight? I hang my head in shame.
I'm here with you sister. Maybe we can hold each other up, and climb out of this pit together.
And, for what it's worth, you do use your tongue for A LOT of good. You are a tremendous encouragement to others. And you should hear the way your kids speak about you when you are not around (ALL GOOD!!)
Love you.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with WendyJanelle. You are good to share your weaknesses, as well as blessings in your life. I love reading your blog because you remind me that I am not the only "flawed" person. I am not saying you are flawed in a negative way by any means- only that there are others out there that struggle with very similar issues as myself. I have soulmates out there I would have never found had I not started my blog. The tongue is a deadly thing, and although I try to guard it, it seemingly gets away from me often with a harsh word here and there. Praying that both of us learn the wisdom in keeping our tongues in check, so that blessings pour from our mouths rather than curses...

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