Friday, May 17, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow: Day 5

Overflowing Kindness

My Thoughts:

I was homeschooled from first to eighth grade.  My parents decided my education would best be served in the public school for high school, so at age 14 I entered high school, generally oblivious to the common world around me.  I ended up thriving in school, but let me tell you, that first week was the hardest.  I think I came home crying every day.  One day, a girl hit me in the back of the head because she didn't like blondes.  I was shocked.  I had no idea kids were so mean!
Kindness is hard to come by.  And it's becoming more and more rare.  How can it be common when the world continues to encourage the "watch out for number one" and "survival of the fittest" mentality.  It's a cut-throat world out there.

I hope you took the time to read the story of David and Mephibosheth.  It is a touching story, and a perfect Old Testament example of reaching out to "the least of these."  Mephibosheth, from a once great family of men, had basically been forgotten.  Can you imagine what that must have felt like to have been remembered.  Have you ever been remembered, when you thought everyone had forgotten you? It feels amazing.

I loved the truths that Terri Lynne pulled out of this story.  How often do we only show any degree of kindness toward people who we benefit from and with strings attached!  In general I think we keep our distance from anyone we do not seek to benefit from, when we do show kindnesses they are small and convenient, and very often we do have expectations.  I know I particularly struggle with the expectations part.  I am very often offended when someone is not grateful.

I also liked where she took it in the concept of mellowing out.  My mother recently told me that she felt I had always been harsh toward my brother.  I was shocked.  I had never looked at myself from the perspective she was presenting me with.  I realized it was true.  I was critical, disappointed, and lacking in grace toward him.  Was there an area of harshness that you realized needs some mellowing out?  We are called to be women of gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4) - it is a mark of inner beauty.  Being harsh  and austere is quite the opposite of that isn't it?  And it is ugly.  It made me step back and evaluate any areas or ways I am being harsh toward my girls as well.  I wish I could say that I have never been, but I can't.  But the whole point of all of this is that we've got learning and growing to do... we need God's grace to accomplish that gentle and quiet spirit that is so pleasing to God.

My prayer:  Lord, forgive me for this harsh spirit that dwells in me, particularly toward those who fail my expectations.  I so appreciate when people are gracious and kind toward me.  Help me to extend that also in great measure toward others, especially my daughters.  I pray that by Your Spirit you will help me to always be kind, encouraging, forgiving and supportive of my precious girls.  Help me to model that for them, so that they will grow up to be kind and gracious women.

Is kindness calling you?  Do you want to be that wise woman who controls her speech with kindness? I do!!!  I can't say that I've had an intentional mentor or have I intentionally mentored anyone.  It is certainly something I am going to be praying about.

"As we grow in wisdom and understanding of the Lord, kindness is one of the visible evidences. We need to be pursuing this trait. Memorizing this verse can help us remember the significance of growing in kindness, especially in our speech."¹

Just for Moms:  
Make a list of ways you can be kind to your children. Each day for the next week, be intentional about acting in kindness toward them.    
I am really going to work on the way that I speak when I respond to my girls.  I confess that there are times when the way that I say things, my tone, is not kind, it is harsh.  I am also going to make a conscious effort to be less critical.

Pray about how you can be a part of teaching others the fruit of kindness and be obedient to the Lord’s direction. What are some ideas you have? How can you put them into action?    
A certain young girl comes to mind.  I am going to pray about how I can spend more time with her and mentor her.

Check in with the person you asked to pray for you. Share with her your successes and your struggles.
I'm going to message her later today.

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 27).  . Kindle Edition. 

A few moms over at the Polishing Rubies Facebook Page are going through the book "Parenting From the Overflow."  Feel free to grab the book and jump in with us, or share your comments below.

<3 Johnna

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