Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Peace-Making: Choose Your Weapon

Any home with young children and/or junior highers is going to be a home with a degree of strife in it.  Peace is at a premium, and strife is a dime a half-dozen.  Haha!  That's my husband's humor.  I have six "turbulent elements" swirling around me all the time.  How am I going to fight the strife?  How will you?  I am swept up with wonder and amazement at how God's Word speaks so clearly.  To me.  Right where I am.
This passage highlights two different weapons (one unmentioned weapon) to combat sin and to reach others.  One reliable, one not so.

James 3:17&18  "But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

Here's the cheat-sheet.
God's weapon of choice:  "Wisdom from above" (filled with peace and peace-making)
Man's inherited weapon:  "Earthly wisdom" (selfish ambition, jealousy, arrogant, natural)


I have to say, I have never really meditated on my role as a mother to be a "peace-making" role.  You might think that with six kids I might have thought about this sooner!  Anyway, that changed earlier this week, when I stumbled upon these verses.
As promised (to all of my faithful readers-hahaha!!  Clyde, are you there?) in my last post, I pulled the commentary on James, and proceeded to learn more about these verses.  Listen to Hiebert on being a peace-maker:  "This heavenly wisdom (from 3:17) is ready for peace, desiring and fostering peace by restraining discord and pacifying the turbulent elements around it."  STOP HERE!!
Can I tell you how I read this?  I have SIX precious little "turbulent elements" around me!!!  This speaks to me!  I'm ready for the "peace challenge" (I think) and thankful for Hiebert's encouragement.  I'm not sure that James or Hiebert had mothers in particular in mind, but that's okay.  I couldn't help but notice that the James passage has THREE references to "peace", and Hiebert also mentions peace in three ways.  That's a lot of peace.  More from Hiebert: "It (wisdom from above) promotes right relationships between man and man, and between man and God."  Can I rephrase this in this way?  "(Wisdom from above) promotes right relationships between child and child, child and parent, and between children and God."  And then this:  "But even when fighting against sin, (wisdom from above) hungers for peace, yearning to heal all divisions by it's wise counsel."  Wow.  So you mean I shouldn't end the strife by shouting the loudest?  C'mon, I'm fighting against their sin!  And I am the parent, after all.  I have the authority.  Yes, perhaps I can force my children to end the strife by shouting the loudest.  However, here's the sting I'm feeling right now.  Is that "wisdom from above"?  Or isn't that hypocrisy?  If I'm yelling angrily to stop them from yelling angrily at each other, what is that if it's not hypocrisy?  I'm in trouble.

Now that this post is way too long, I am compelled to add the rest of the passage about wisdom.

James 3:13-16  "Who among you is wise and understanding?  Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.  This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic."

There goes James with the interrogative approach (my husband is so smart).  He hooks you with the question that all of us want to raise our hand to.  "Yes!  Yes!!  I have wisdom!  I have understanding!!"  Then, while my arm is in the air, he swiftly grabs the dagger and jabs it straight into my heart.  Perhaps that's a little strong.  But I felt it.  I felt it when he said, "gentleness of wisdom".  I felt it when he challenged my "selfish ambition".  I mean, I just want a little peace and quiet (ironic).  I just want the fighting to stop.  I just want to have one quick phone conversation.  I just want to check facebook uninterrupted.  I just want to finish dinner now.  I just need to get the laundry done.  I just want a little more sleep.  I just want to take a hot bath.  I.  I.  I.  I.  I.  I.  I.  I.  I.  What do you mean "selfish ambition"??  Hm.  And did he just call me "DEMONIC"???  Seriously? Oh. my. goodness.  It's time to take this seriously.


Here are my G.A.I.N. moments for now (that means "Get After It NOW").  My heart is convicted of my anger.  Yes, I am still a pretty laid-back person, and most days don't bring me to a desperate search for help like this past week.  But God is so faithful to bring trials to transform us (Romans 5:3-5) Sometimes the only way I'm driven to my knees and the search is through trials like I faced last week. I am SO grateful.  Sometimes a clearer perspective- or should I say a "biblical perspective" and a more informed mind and conscience is the simplest way to move forward and be changed. I will keep informing my mind of this through reading these scriptures.
My next G.A.I.N. moment: Confession.  I'm committed to confessing to the Lord, my kids and to my husband when I lose it.  Ugh.  That's a tough one.  I John 1:9.  James 5:16.
Last one.  I will continue to think through ways to promote peace without sighing and glaring at my kids.  Ooo.  That's embarrassing to admit.  I think I'll tell them this one too, which I'm sure they'd be glad to help me be accountable to it.


The difference in results between offering earthly versus heavenly wisdom (or "wisdom from above") is potentially eternal in significance.  If we continue in unrepentant sin against our children, we certainly put them at a high risk to "turn us off" and miss the gospel.  It is tragic how often we see the disconnect between well-meaning (but potentially angry?) Christian parents and their rebellious teens/pre-teens.  As a great band once put it, "If you want to lead me to Jesus, you'd better find a better way...cause your life is speaking so loud I can't even hear a word you say."  If we imagine our kids turning to Christ one day, we must seriously consider James' exhortation to "show by (your) good behavior (your) deeds in the gentleness of wisdom."  Two key words here.  "Gentleness"- which is tough for us young moms with multiple kids.  Another key word- "show".  Stop telling, and start showing.  I think I could write another whole blog on this.  But I won't.  Not now, at least.
The difference between {fighting my sin and selfishness to offer them "wisdom from above"} and {pushing or spewing angry "earthly wisdom"} is:

The difference between fostering and demanding.
 It's the difference between me sowing "the seed whose fruit is righteousness" and alienating my children from me through my anger and hypocrisy.  
It's the difference between Christ reaching the heart of my child with His saving message and me being temporarily satisfied with quiet.  Or whatever I want.
It's (potentially) the difference between temporary peace and quiet in my household and eternal peace between my children and God.

Is it worth the fight?  Absolutely.  I'm in.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Peace (James 3:18)

Chaos.  That's what life feels like sometimes. Especially last week.  For whatever reason, it was a tough week.  I have a few ideas for some of the reasons but I'll spare you.  The greatest reason is just a three letter word that sort of stings the ears when I'm talking about me- SIN.  Put 8 people together (or 7, I won't include my fantastic husband) for a long period of time, and don't be purposeful with that time (Friday off school, especially), and naturally things will deteriorate with unregenerate hearts.  It was a very hard week.  Felt a little out of control and I fell into some "tongue-fire" with my kids.  So this morning, I went to James 3 to receive a little blast on taming the tongue.  
Okay, so my heart has been gripped this morning by a scripture that I don't think I've noticed before. In fact, I don't think I can say that I would've even recognized the verse that gripped me.  When I read it this morning, I almost dismissed it as a little out of context and not applicable to me.  Then I read it again, because I was curious at this little anomaly.  WOW!!!  I am determined now to seek more understanding about it and to pull some commentary off of my husband's book shelf and search this thing out.  God's Word is amazing.
One more preface before I divulge the goods (the amazing verse, that is!).  What is my determined goal in parenting?  What is the ONE thing that I want to pass on to my kids in life?  I want to sow gospel seeds deep in their hearts, seeds that will take root and grow up into righteousness and produce massive fruit for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (How's that for a definition of "Christian Parenting"??)  That's it and that's all.  And I think this morning I have found a golden key to unlock that treasure.  Now I'm ready to divulge the goods.  Are you ready for this???
James 3:18  "And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."  Wow.  This sounds like a parenting golden nugget to me.  I don't pretend to understand in totality the context or meaning of this.  But one thing in particular has struck me.  Seeds that produce righteousness are NOT sown with angry words.  Seeds that produce righteousness are sown in PEACE.  When life feels chaotic, and kids seem out of control, and we want RIGHTEOUSNESS in our children (boy that sounds so nice), then our mission is two-fold.  "Make peace", and "(sow seeds) in peace".  Last week I think I was trying to "strong-arm" my kids into righteousness, maybe to shame them a little into righteousness (shame on ME), but mostly I was just reacting in the flesh in sinful anger rather than walking in the Spirit and sowing seeds in peace.  By this afternoon, this verse will be on my wall somewhere reminding me of the goal and means of parenting.  What a treasure.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Just a random pic from this summer.  Two of the sweetest girls I know!  :)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Old Pics

Oh my goodness.  We have been sorting through pictures on the computer recently and have had such a great time remembering when the kids were little.  I can't believe how time passes.  Reilly is a TEENAGER.  Oh. my.  Isn't this precious?  This is from 9 years ago.  Oh, and just a side note.  Yesterday, we measured Reilly and Shea.  Shea now officially has Reilly by about 1/4 of an inch.  It won't last long, but it's pretty funny at the moment.  At least to most of us.

I'm A Slacker.

So here's a wimpy way to update you all since I'm terrible about blogging.  Shutterfly allowed me to put this book that I made of our summer adventures (some of them) onto the blog.  As if anyone is reading this anyway.  Nevermind.

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Click here to create your own Shutterfly photo book.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recent Happenings

 Celebrating mommy's birthday with a little competitive can ask Kurt who won.  (Please do :)  I haven't aged out of my competitive spirit. 
 Kurt went on a field trip with Reilly's class to Charleston.  They had a great time!
 "Fanny Packs" were REQUIRED.  Unless your parent was there.  WHEW for Reilly!  The sweet boy on the left...didn't live through the 80's and has no context for understanding the awesomeness of his rockin' pack. 
 Grandpapa came down for a visit and took us all strawberry picking.  Since the kids had gone with Kurt and I a week before, the novelty had worn off, and so Grandpapa and mommy did all of the picking while they ran races down the rows of strawberries!
 We're still working on this.  But I think we're on the home stretch!
 The girls baked a cake for me on my birthday (I know, it's out of order) and I didn't even enter the kitchen.  They did a great job! 
 We spent a day at Hart Square.  A complete, pioneer village that Dr. Hart has put back together from various historic places he's been.  It is absolutely amazing. 
 The homeschool group of kids that we spent Mondays with this year, in front of a Cotton Gin (I think- hey, I'm not a student!)
 The simplicity makes me sort of want to go back in time.  Every home was amazing and unique.
 Sweet siblings.  They do love each other.
Precious Cam-o splashing in the lake in the middle of the village.