Some how, some way all three of my boys are napping at the same time, two days in a row. So here I am sitting at my laptop enjoying the clicking sound of the keyboard and snacking on my children’s applesauce. 🙂 I love to write. Partly because it is enjoyable to organize my thoughts and feelings (believe me they are not organized in my head!) and partly because I am convinced that words have a great potential to stir souls and move hearts. Words are uniquely powerful…both written and spoken. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (Proverbs 18:21 ESV)” A lot of times we acknowledge and teach how dangerous words can be but forget that they can also bind wounds, nurture souls, and in the case of God–create something from nothing. The Lord could have brought the Universe into existence with the clap of his hands or wrinkle of the brow but he chose to use spoken word. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (Psalm 33:9)” We, of course, cannot speak things into existence but, our ability to speak and intelligently communicate with our mouth is a gift from the Lord that uniquely belongs to mankind. It is a power the Lord has bestowed upon us–a part of what it means to bear the image of God. Jesus tells a parable in the book of Matthew about a Master that before leaving on a journey, entrusts three servants with a sum of money. Two of them invest their talents and have a surplus to give their Master when he returns. The third, however, buries his money in the ground and does not seek to multiply that which has been given to him. The Master is very displeased and severely punishes him. While this story in and of itself has nothing to do with words, I do think there is an underlying principle to be learned. It is not enough to avoid doing evil. We are called to use what the Lord has given us for good. So, applying that to the topic at hand: we could simply make it our goal to avoid speaking evil but then we would essentially be burying our words in the ground. We must take it a step further and pursue speech that glorifies the Lord and lifts others up. While we cannot literally create life with our words, we can speak words of life to others. I am always telling my kids, “Use your words!” Which is ironic because that is exactly what I should be telling myself. As we go about our days as wives, moms, friends, sisters, and daughters, let us remember to be intentional to use our words for good.
Have you ever had one of those days where every time you try to accomplish something you are quickly interrupted? “Mommy, Mommy! Come here! I need you!” or “Mommy! Come play with me!” or as my 10 month old likes to put it, “Ma Ma Ma AHHHHHHHHHHHHH AHHH MA MA MA MA” and on and on it goes until “MA MA” drops her task and gives them her full attention. I have a lot of those days. In fact, I do believe every day is one of those days! It’s very sweet that my children are so excited to spend time with me but many days there are things that really do need to get done! I mean I could wear dirty underwear but should I wear dirty underwear? 😉 It might be laughable but clean laundry is no easy thing when you have three littles competing for your attention and time. So what’s a girl to do? I find that as is the case with most things, there is no simple answer. Often times when we come across a problem or road block we tend to be reductionistic. We oversimplify and try to put everything into a neat little box but we have to be careful because in doing so we often gloss over the root problem and rob ourselves of an opportunity to examine our hearts and the hearts of our children. That being said, instead of asking yourself something like “How can I get stuff done despite my children interrupting me?” or “How can I get my kids to stop interrupting me?” it might be more profitable to ask yourself more probing questions such as:
“Why do my children demand my attention every time I start to clean house?”
“Am I spending too much time cleaning and not enough time with the kids?”
“Am I spending too much time with the the kids? Am I teaching them that they always need to be entertained by someone?”
“When I spend time with my children, is it quality time that nurtures their soul and leaves them feeling loved?”
For me, the answers to these type of questions change mostly depending on how well my relationship with the Lord is going. When I am not being intentional to spend time in prayer and time meditating on the word, my priorities tend to get out of whack and the time I spend with my kids tends to have less impact or rather not the right kind of impact. The past week or so, my children have been a little more demanding than usual and after asking myself the above quesitons as well as talking to my husband and asking the Lord for wisdom, I am pretty sure that the problem is twofold. One: I am not spending enough quality time with them. I have been putting too much emphasis on creating a “well oiled machine” and not enough emphasis on shepherding my children’s hearts (which takes focused time). Two: I have been inadvertaintly training them that they need to be entertained 24/7. Because I’ve been trying to get our house in perfect order, I have been setting them up with a myriad of crafts, shows, and activities to keep them busy and distracted. Crafts and activities are not bad in and of themselves but it’s important that we don’t model or teach our children that they need to be entertained at all times. Our goal in life is not happiness–it is holiness.
You might be saying, “That’s all well and good but I still need clean underwear!” Yes you do! I do too! But maybe I don’t also need to clean the baseboards today or cook that new complicated recipe I found on Pinterest. Maybe instead, I will plan something easy for dinner, get the kids involved in folding laundry, and when conversations inevitably turn to Christmas lights I can take the opportunity to talk about Jesus–the Light of the world.