Monday, June 3, 2013

Parenting From the Overflow - Day 8 - Overflowing Gentleness

Overflowing Gentleness

My Thoughts:

I could relate so well to Terri Lynne's journal entry.  I shared with you a week or two ago about how bedtimes often are a struggle for me.  When we were just getting settled in Oregon, Sunday mornings were hellish.  I had a very emotional 4-year old who was having a hard time adjusting to a new environment and a missing our old church, and a potty-training 2-year old who inevitably messed 2-3 outfits before I could get her to church.  The pastor started threatening to pull my husband out of ministry and leadership if I continued to show up to church late.  I was a mess.  I really just needed a hug.  Unfortunately it turned Sunday mornings before church into the most ungodly hour of our week.  Gentleness, patience, compassion - all went out the window for the sake of appeasing the pastor and getting my toddlers and I to church on time.

Thankfully those days are long gone, and I have since repented and sought forgiveness.  Thankfully Sunday mornings are now full of ministering to our family in a sweet (usually) peaceful environment, before we head off to corporate worship together.  Thankfully I now understand that how I treat my daughters before church has a greater impact on them than what time I get them there.

But, oh how I still need to grow in gentleness!  Especially with three girls!  And especially because I want to teach them to have a gentle and quiet spirit as seen in I Peter 3:4 as a mark of a godly woman - a woman that is valuable to God!  How can I do that if I, myself, am not gentle?

What does scripture have to say about gentleness?...
Philip. 4:5 - It's something that should be evident to all - an obvious, marked character.
I Peter 3:3-4 - It should transcend any physical or surface beauty.  It is truly a mark of inner beauty and something that blesses God's heart.
Col. 3:12 - It is a mark of God's elect, and an active characteristic.

We are called to cultivate this gentleness— this meekness of spirit, grace of soul, strength of character— in our own hearts and lives. And then, as it grows in us, allow gentleness to overflow onto those around us, especially in our homes.¹

I loved the words Terri Lynne used to define gentleness - "meekness of spirit, grace of soul, strength of character."  I cultivate these things in my life by continually considering my attitudes, and lining them up with the truth of God's Word.  By choosing to respond the way Christ responded.  -- And with daughters!! Oh, this gentleness in our responses is SO crucial!

"...gentleness requires the total depletion of self to be refilled with the fulness of Christ."²

It's true.  It's hard!  Too often I hold on to little bits of "me."  My self gets in the way of what God's trying to do.  I don't really want to  be depleted of my self.  That would mean no more excuses!  But oh, what I am missing out on by not partaking of the fulness of Christ!!  I cannot experience the fulness of Christ when I am determined to be full of my self - my pride, my rights, my blame.  Why do I want to hold on to these things!? Someone remind me!  Oh yeah - because letting them go is HARD!


When has gentleness been hard for you? What are some specific struggles you have faced in this area?³
Particularly, right before and after we moved to Oregon.  The whole experience was so trying and I felt completely out of control  I'm not proud of the way I handled my self through the journey.  I tend to get hard and negative when things get the way they were.  I didn't like the person that I was when fear took over.
As I shared before also, I was just this year confronted about my critical spirit toward my brother.  It's hard for me to be gentle toward him sometimes, but I'm working on that.

"We need to sow seeds of gentleness in a thousand little ways 
in order to reap the harvest of overflowing gentleness in our homes."⁴

How do you practice gentleness? In what ways have you seen the seeds of gentleness reap a harvest in your home?⁵
In the way that I speak, and handle my children, being careful not to be harsh, insensitive, or taking my frustrations out on them.  I have seen them harvested as I see the ways my daughters deal with each other in a kinder, more long-suffering and more patient way, particularly my eldest daughter.

Is it hard or easy for you to surrender? Why?⁶
Usually it's hard for me.  I've found it's very often hard to get to the heart of a matter in myself.  I'm not honest with myself the way I should be.  But when I am I can usually see how it is affecting the way I deal with my daughters.  It is then that surrender comes easily.  But I have to get to the heart of the matter.

How will you join me in practicing gentleness?⁷
I will make a conscious effort to listen to what they have to say - making sure they feel heard and validated.  I am also going to take the challenge to consistently speak words of life and encouragement as opposed to criticism or condemnation.

Commit these verses to memory... and don't forget that you are dearly beloved!

Just for Moms:⁸

In what ways is it difficult for you to practice gentleness?       
It's difficult for me to practice gentleness when I am lacking grace for myself.  I realize that I tend to put too much pressure on my daughters at times.

Call the person you have asked to pray with you and share these issues. Ask for her encouragement and prayer as you seek to develop this attribute. 
I'm going to message her tonight.

Determine to stop and count to ten before speaking. Sometimes simply slowing down and pausing can help us to be gentle with our words and responses. Do this for 24 hours and evaluate how it helped you be clothed with gentleness.
Ok... 24 hours of pausing for gentleness, starting now!

Dear Lord, help me, and these precious mamas grow in the area of gentleness.  Help us to first be that example of that gentle and quiet spirit that you regard as a treasure.  Give us grace toward our daughters, and gentleness toward them as we train them up.  Help us to remember that you aren't finished with us yet, and that you are just beginning to shape and mold them.  Let us be a useful tool in your hand as you create these girls to be lovely, godly young women. - Amen.

1. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
2. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
3. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 45).  . Kindle Edition.
4. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
5. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
6. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
7. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (p. 46).  . Kindle Edition.
8. Underwood, Teri Lynne (2012-10-05). Parenting from the Overflow (pp. 47-48).  . 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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