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July 10, 2007


...Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Col. 4:5 (MSG)

Lord, my mouth....

I remember when these kids were toddlers and we would laugh when they mimicked our tone of voice or an oft-said phrase. They are mimicking still. A dozen times a day I hear my impatience, irritation, and lack of kindness coming out of my children's mouths.

Lord, make me gracious in the face of adolescent sensitivity. Gracious at the end of a long, hard day. Let grace be the substance that pours out of me when I am bumped and bruised, tired and worn.

Teach me how to listen to them, to hear what is not being said; to understand their hearts behind the words and frustration.

I pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ as plain as day to them.

Teach my Your ways, Father. I am listening.


I'm really struggling with my words and my tone, especially with my children. All of them, especially my oldest seem so vulnerable. I want to draw them close, but my tone is pushing them away. A mom I recently met said:

i love being a mother, but i'm not very good at it. . . . i used to take great pride in my "accomplishments" as a stay-at-home wife and mother . . . as my kids grew older, i realised that these things don't make me a good mother; i can practice all these ideals and still be ill-tempered and impatient and mean. . . . i grew tired of perpetuating the rounds of "self-congratulations". . . . i also realise that i was not truthful about myself . . . but, thank God, i've caught a glimpse of Grace. . . .i am moved by it, i am motivated by it. wait: Grace moves me, it motivates me. i'm still not a good mom, but God is still good to me and my children.

So here I am, struggling to show love to the ones I love most. Brokenhearted at the words of my mouth and the mediations of my heart. Tired, weary. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.


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Oh, I am so there with you! The other night I was putting the girls to bed and getting onto them about their room not being picked up. The youngest looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "Mom, you always have that angry tone in your voice. You always talk to us so angry!" I need not to default to annoyed. I am working on it, and being over at the GCM board really helps, just to have that gentle parenting mindset around me. Oh, if I could just have the angry part surgically removed, it would be so much easier!!!

Posted by: Gem at July 10, 2007 10:57 PM

Oh how I know how you feel! I came from a family of yellers and I have to constantly stop myself from being that. We were looking at a wedding couple once and I told my daugther that one day she will marry a Godly man. And her comment to me was, one that doesn't yell. And I asked if that was b/c mommy yelled. Her reply was yes. UGH!!! From that moment on I have tried and with God's grace done much better at not yelling. I encourage you that you are not alone, and as you know God's Grace is made perfect in us!

Posted by: Heather :) at July 10, 2007 10:58 PM

I remember when I was just starting out in parenting. It seemed so cut and dried. I even read that if I could train my kids well by the time they were two that I'd be home free for the the rest of the years.

But then there was the fact that *I* am not "trained" very well...and my debilitating sinfulness will not go away.

As your friend said...Grace. Thank Jesus for His precious grace...so much deeper and wiser than parenting books and cultural expectations. So much more powerful than my weakness.

Praying for you this morning.

Posted by: tonia at July 11, 2007 08:22 AM

Boy do I need to keep that verse handy. It is so true when dealing with kids.

Posted by: Denise at July 11, 2007 09:06 AM

I have been thinking about this lately. I have been praying about my temper especially. I came from a family of yellers, but married a man who is not a yeller. Praise God! Just a year or 2 ago my mom apologized to me and my sisters for being a "yelling mom". She grew up with it and it was all she knew, but she and I don't want that for my children. I don't want to have to tell them the same apology. Which means that I need to do something about it NOW. That is so much more difficult than it sounds! I keep reminding myself that nothing is impossible for God even though it seems impossible to me at times. Your post was definitley a good reminder that I need to get this under control while they are still young. These are the times that I pray for God to love my children, protect, and parent them in spite of me.

Posted by: Amy Asher at July 11, 2007 02:23 PM

Wow! I am struggling at all times to direct my sons eyes toward the glory and grace of the cross and I get so tangled up in my own will, desires and especially my own law! I truly am not a very good mother, and yet in His perfect and amazing will, I am one, more for my sanctification than anything. I began reading Uprooting Anger with another friend of mine simply because of the anger that is rooted in me and brought on because of idols in my wicked heart. How often do I forget, He is the only Savior?! Thanks for the truly edifying encouragement!

Posted by: Larissa at July 11, 2007 05:22 PM

I don't really remember being angry or yelling at my kids when they were really little. Hmmm... probably contributed to my false-pride in mommying back then. Weakness and struggles as a mom have so much shown me how much I need Jesus and the Gospel each day, each moment.

And spinning off what Larissa said, so often the log is in my eye and the mote in my children's. Still, it hurts me when I sin and I hurt my children--or I sin and set that example for them. I don't want my weaknesses and sins to be what they consider "normal." I do want to model leaning into the Lord when we sin--I just don't want them to pick up on the anger and harsh words that predicate that leaning into the Lord. . .

Posted by: TulipGirl at July 11, 2007 10:24 PM


I am linking to you. :)

Posted by: amie at July 12, 2007 08:10 AM

Wow, I have been struggling with this myself. I have been so blessed, and I am struggling so much in being a gentle teacher to these two little blessings...


Posted by: -A at July 13, 2007 03:03 PM

Tears in my eyes.
Lump in my throat.
Knot in my stomach.
I so needed to read this.
I am hopeful that I am not alone in this.
I love being a mother, but I am not good at it.
My babies are everything in the world to me.
They will always be just that--my babies.
How I care for and nurture them now will be reflected in who they become as they grow.
I need to embrace them wholly in my words and my actions.
If I show Christ in one but not the other, then I have already lost the opportunity to nurture their souls in a healthy way.
I am just a mother.
But I am their only mother.
They are the ones God entrusted to me to protect and care for in this fallen world.
If I don't love them unconditionally, no one will.
I want to love, protect, nurture, comfort, and hold them.
But how can I if I raise my voice or utter words that hurt instead of heal?

Posted by: Suzi at July 15, 2007 03:05 AM

Hey TulipGirl! I have a question for you. I have been struggling with this whole issue of GKGW for some time now. I have two boys (7 and 3). My sister-in-law has 4 kids (13, 11, 8, and 5). She has been using the GKGW method since the 11 year old was an infant.
I gave "Babywise" a shot with my older boy for the fist few months and was so miserable! It was so against all of my instints.
My sister-in-law and I are both strong Christians, but our approaches to just about everything is so opposite!
We live in Alabama and she in Iowa. (She is my husbands sister)
We see them a few times a year for days at a time-under the same roof!
My husband and I are peace-maker type that just let them do their thing and we just are sort of there. She is "chastising" bottoms and barking do's and don'ts all over the place. In my opinion, they live a very oppressive and DEpressive life. I know that this is just my opinion, but I can't help but feel that way.
Her oldest two (girls) are so attached at my hip the entire time that we are together, that it is almost abnormal!
We have a much quieter, calmer and positive approach to parenting and I feel like they are starving for that!
I have noticed that none of my husbands family members ever confront her on issues. No one wants to deal with her arguing! We are on eggshells with her the whole time.
I find this to be very sad, especially since this is the only first cousins of my children!
My mother in law, I think is in denial about them still using this method of parenting! I believe otherwise.
Also, I have noticed that her children have become very "sneaky"...
Even worse, the oldest is turning into a mini-her-mom!!
They literally exhaust me!!
Oh, I forgot to metion that they home-school and are in full-time ministry with The Navigators.
I think that home-schooling is great, but I think that it is just another control issue for her and I feel that they need to be able to function away from the home!
I am truly desperate for advice on this issue.
I told both my husband and mother-in-law that I will NOT travel with them again anywhere until we have a "Coming-to-Jesus-meeting" with her! This is after going to Disney with all of them several years ago where she screamed at my husband and me in the middle of the Brown Derby (very quiet resturant at MGM), on Mother's Day...It was the most child-ish outburst I have ever witnessed and she did it right in front of all of the kids. I was so shocked that I was literally speechless!
This has been over 5 years ago, but I just haven't forgotten any detail of it. I can forgive, but until she gives us some kind of explanation of what-in-the-world (she gave my a very strange pat on the back the next morning because she "felt I needed one"!)
Anyway, my husband knows that we cannot let this go forever with NO CONFRONTATION if we want any relationship with her!
I would so greatly appreciate any advice you may have for me!!
I could really write a book on this topic...

Posted by: noelle at August 1, 2007 12:13 AM

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