I was recently reading about Michelle Duggar, in her book Twenty and Counting, and I was struck once again by how cheerful she seems to be. She has 19 children! Life cannot be perfect all the time, right? Yet she seems to have peace and joy in the midst of whatever life throws at her.
She tells the story of one time, when she only had five children, all under the age of five, and she was just exhausted. She was up at 1 a.m. folding laundry, tears of frustration streaming down her face. God brought Scripture to her mind to remind her to praise Him in the hard times, as well as in the bad times.
At another time, when her sons made a terrible mess in their garage, God brought a Bible verse to her mind to remind her that a soft answer turns away wrath. She learned to lower her voice when she was angry, rather than raise it — and it worked!
I decided to list some Scripture verses that I could meditate on, to help me in those days when I don’t feel very pleasant in my child training endeavors.
Pleasant Words Promote Instruction
“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction” (Proverbs 16:21).
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24).
I sincerely want to make it my goal to only let pleasant words out of my mouth, especially in my home where it’s the most difficult. The Bible tells me that pleasant words will promote instruction, and that they are sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Isn’t this exactly what I want for my children?
Yet why is it so difficult to have pleasant words? Jesus got to the root of my problem when He said,
“How can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him” (Matthew 12:34-35).
My mouth can only speak from the overflow of my heart. When I dwell on pleasant thoughts all day, my mouth will be pleasant. When I am critical and impatient in my thoughts, my mouth will reflect this as well.
“The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words” (Proverbs 15:26, KJV).
So how do I get a pure heart?
“How can a young [mother] keep [her] way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11).
Only the word of God is pure, and as I meditate on His Word and His thoughts through my day, not straying from His commands, and living according to His word, I will have a pure heart and pleasant words.
Children Beside Me
Just because I have chosen to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom doesn’t mean that I am physically or mentally present with my children. When they play with their siblings or neighbors all day, and hardly ever with me, they will pick up the character of their companions.
“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15).
Sometimes it isn’t very fun to keep my little ones right next to me, where “the rod and reproof” can feel like the only things I ever do. I’ve joked that if I had a parrot, its first words would be “No, no, don’t touch!”
However, this verse warns me that the consequences of leaving my children to themselves will be shame. It might not happen until someday down the road. It might make today easier on me. However, tomorrow will be full of tears and pain.
This verse reminds me of my priorities and my purpose as a mother. I have a job to do, and no one else can do it for me. My job is to be with my children, instructing them in wisdom.
Discussion All the Time
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
My mom always used to tell me that I could sure talk — a lot! So why I am so quiet at home sometimes?
Probably because I’m preoccupied with other things. Sometimes it’s because I’m like a sponge that is all wrung out, and I need to soak up God’s Word for myself so that I have something to squeeze out to others. At other times, I’m just worn out and need a good night’s sleep to get my “yackity” spirit back again.
Talking at home is a good thing!
Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby
Being authentic. It’s the secret, I’d bet. My kids shouldn’t have just sermons or regulations (although words and boundaries are both needed). They need to see Christ living out His life in mine, every single day.
I thought about the parents in the Bible, some of whom loved God with all their hearts — yet their kids turned away from God completely. Other people had lousy parents, yet they obeyed and loved God in spite of their parents.
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Maybe it’s a combination of being real, and having God’s Word flood my life so that it changes me, and spending enough time with my children that they have a chance to “catch” some of God from my life and words.
What do you think?