The First Day of a New & Better Way

What Would Your Relationships Be Like If You…

  • Treated everyone, including yourself, as a person in process rather than as a machine that performs?
  • Showed in your words and actions that you valued relationships more than time?
  • Listened long enough to understand what another person was thinking and feeling?
  • Gave up harsh and condemning words and learned to speak softly?
  • Focused on finding solutions to problems rather than finding someone to blame?

From Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman

This is the book my Sunday school class is currently studying.  At the same time, as you know, the Ladies Bible Study I attend is studying the book of James.  Tuesday, because both studies asked me to, I wrote James 1:19 TWICE!  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Today, MasterWork, our Sunday school curriculum, took me to James 1:2-4.  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 

I am glad that the same God who holds the stars in place and created everything we know of (and things we cannot even imagine!) is ALSO the God who knows me better than I know myself and actually cares about how I interact with the people around me.  So, again, by grace, I say:

I hear you, Lord and I so want to be a doer of your word and not just a hearer. (James 1:22)  Even on days when the “job” of Mommy seems a little bit like a trial, I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I know that my Kiddos have taught me more in 8 short years than I have learned in the 30 before about being the person You want me to be.  The role of “Mommy” is the one I KNOW cannot do well without You.  It’s the one that motivates me more than any other to be better: more loving, more patient, more compassionate, kind and gentle, more self-controlled, more peaceful and more joyful… more like You.  Because more than anything, I want these Kiddos You’ve entrusted to me to see who You are when they watch who I am. 

It’s been said that when it comes to what we pass onto our children, more is “caught” than “taught”.  I want Caleb and Keppley to “catch” abundant life in Christ.  I want them to “catch” that His Word is living and active and makes a difference.  I want them to see that their Mom is different now than she was without Jesus and that it’s better this way.  So, even though my toes are feeling a little squished these days, I am thankful.  The God of the universe is meeting me where the rubber meets the road!  He’s challenging me to let His Word, which is planted in me, do a great work and grow into an oak of righteousness that will yield its fruit in season.  I am thankful because I don’t want my faith to just be something I “do” on Sunday mornings or slap onto my bumper or pull out when I’m in crisis.  Since this is the life [I] have chosen, the life of the Spirit, [I want to] make sure that [I] do not just hold to it as an idea in [my] head or a sentiment in [my] heart, but work out its implications in every detail of [my life].  (Galatians 5:25)

So, I wonder what my relationships with my two favorite Little Loveys would be like if I remembered that God’s not finished with us yet?  I wonder how different things would be if I showed them every day that my relationship with them is more important than my schedule; if I really listened when they talked, sought to understand their point of view and learned to speak softly?  I wonder what our relationships would be like if we stopped trying to figure out who’s to blame and started just loving on and being thankful for each other?  I’m not really sure.  But I can’t wait to find out!  Tomorrow morning when they forget their glasses, beg to snuggle with Daddy for just a few more minutes, REALLY dislike the shirt I picked out and suddenly hate Pop Tarts for breakfast, I am going to take a new approach.  I will remember that they are 5 and 8.  I will take one second to see how sweet they are with Kevin in the mornings and how good he is with them.  I will have a “back up” shirt ready to whip out and seek to understand their sudden boredom with toaster pastries.  And I will hustle them out of the house with a smile and a “still small voice”.  (No laughing!)  And so will begin the very first day of a new and better way.  For with God, all things are possible!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tara Griffin
    Jan 20, 2012 @ 05:12:01

    Joeli, I love this! It is so amazing that both of these posts are exactly what I have been struggling with lately! I enjoy reading them and Thank You for for your insight! Can’t wait to read your next one! Sometimes I feel like everything is just spinning out of control. This was just what I needed! Keep Smiling! 😉


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