I want to just say, I am super excited that I get to share this very special post for you all. This was written by the most amazing woman I have ever known, my wife Tiffany. I know you all see me write quite a bit, but when Tiffany shared this story with me the other day, I told her she HAD to write it shown and share it with you all. It is yet again, a clear example of how God leaves His fingerprints for us and how He is intimately involved with every aspect of our lives. So here you go…
In the beginning everything was perfect. Adam and Eve were complete, lacking nothing. But after the fall of man it created a deficiency in us that only Christ could fill. Now, thanks to all God has done, we have Him living inside of us. The fruit of the Spirit amazingly, is not something that we can obtain. They are freely given to us, the fruit of the love relationship, the romance we get to have with our Father. When we choose the Spirit, we walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
As an oft worn out mommy of 4 I find myself searching for my joy, my patience, my kindness, etc. Often, when things get hectic around the house and when the kids are going crazy, I will respond to their misbehavior with—let’s admit it—something other than the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, the flesh, I think as Paul calls it.
But something hit me the other day.
When frustration comes to a head and I don’t live out of the Spirit who lives in me, and I react to their misbehavior with the flesh, what I am really doing is responding to their flesh, with my own flesh. I am addressing their flesh, in a way that appeases my own! Something’s not right with that picture.
So one night recently, Tim and I were talking about some things and some changes we wanted to make in our family dynamic, now that Caleb is more independent and that the kids are getting older. We got onto the subject in the Bible about sowing and reaping. It was in that conversation, something stirred deep within me. I knew God was speaking in my spirit. I was convicted in an instant.
What was God saying? When I sow impatience with my kids, I reap impatience. When I sow anger, I reap anger. Whatever I sow into my family, that is exactly what I will reap back. As God continues to speak into my heart, it was clear that He was encouraging me to make it a point to always sow things that are positive and beautiful. I felt like He was saying, “Just choose joy. Choose the fruit of the Spirit.”
I try so many times, I think, to choose the fruit of the Spirit out of my own efforts. I “try harder” to be patient, etc. And sometimes it feels hopeless. I have often thought to myself “I will never be this ideal mom that I have pictured in my mind for so long.”
But as God ministered to me as we talked about sowing and reaping, it hit me. I have the Spirit inside of me always. When my flesh is screaming, I don’t have to “try harder.” All I have to do is just love Jesus, and let Him love me. I can still choose the Spirit, even when my flesh is trying to get me to do otherwise. And when it comes to my kids, if I want to reap in my kids life, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control, then I have to first so it into them. I’ve often heard the old saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s what you do….” Or “It’s one thing to talk the talk, but it’s another to walk the walk.” I think that’s true. And for us as Christians, that simply means letting the love that we receive from Christ, come to us, and flow through us, to our children.
I know it is easier said than done sometimes. But it really is that simple. We do war against the flesh, but we serve a very victorious Christ who himself defeated the flesh, and he has promised us the same, as he lives his life in us.
So I went to sleep thinking about all these things and the next morning God woke me up at 5:30am. He does this sometimes when He wants me to spend some alone time with Him. So as I laid in bed, I began to pray, and cry, and pray…and cry. They were tears of release, of surrender. As I was thinking about everything from Tim and I’s conversation the previous night, I decided to check my email to see if my sweet sister and mentor June Price, had sent anything. She often sends comforting and encouraging emails to many of us younger ladies.
As I scanned my email I noticed that I had missed an email from her that she had sent 3 days ago. I thought, “That’s strange. I never miss an email from June.” I clicked the email and the tears began to flow again. The email was about…sowing and reaping. I knew that God had saved this email for just the right time to speak to me in a way I couldn’t miss. God wanted to confirm what He had been speaking to me the night before. And oh did I hear Him clearly. Yes Lord. Again fresh tears fell to my pillow and it was as if God was saying, “See Tiffany. Just choose joy today. Just choose Me.” The song and Psalm then came into my mind: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
I decided, I chose, for that song to be my song for the day. I sang it in bed. I sang it when I got up. I sang it throughout the day…and I sang it to my kids as we were getting ready to go to church. I explained to them the meaning of the words, and I sowed.
Right at the beginning of church service Connor, our youngest son, needed to go to the potty. As I was waiting for him in the restroom I was praising God to myself and thinking of all the things God had shown me, the things He had gently laid on my heart. Then as the chorus of God’s redeemed began to sing loudly in the auditorium next to me, I could hear the words of the song echo through the door, right into my heart: “This is the day…this is the day that the Lord has made…that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice …let us rejoice and be glad in it…and be glad in it.” All I could do was smile and thank Him again. Yet another fingerprint. A second confirmation of all God had shown me.
I want to encourage any mothers who may read this. If you are striving today out of your own efforts, remember the Spirit who lives within us as Christians. Remember that what we sow in others, especially our kids, is what we will eventually reap. Most important, just choose Truth. Just choose Him. Choose joy. Choose to praise. He will meet you in ways that you can’t misunderstand as being Him, if we let Him.
This was such a beautiful reminder for me as I finish out this crazy week, with these 4 crazy (amazing) kids of mine.