Heart Check for Mama
“Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20 ESV
Read last week's post: Treat Your Children How You Want to be Treated
Following up from last week’s post, I wanted to go more in-depth on James 1:19-20. I want to show you practical ways to apply this three-pronged approach to showing love to your children. I hope that this will be a good heart check for your dear heart, mama. Is the Lord nudging you toward surrendering one or more of these areas over to Him? Is there repentance required that you did not realize until now? Read on and see how the Lord stirs in your heart.
Be quick to hear
When your little one is crying because you won’t buy him a candy bar at the gas station (yup, this happened today), don’t go right into defensive mode. This is a time to hear his heart. Why is the candy bar so important? Which candy bar was he thinking of? Even though you may disagree up and down on his reasoning, hear him out. Make him feel validated. Let his thoughts be important to you. I mean it genuinely. Even his sinful thoughts need to be heard and understood by you. Let him talk. Often, his words will reveal more of where his heart is at.
Take this time to really listen to your child. Get down to his eye level. Hold him in your lap. Wrap your arms around him. Go to a quiet place. Give him your full attention. Do not be planning your response to his words. Simply listen. And then, listen some more. The focus here is to listen to his heart. Listen with your whole heart so that you may encourage him to open his heart to you.
Be slow to speak
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17
After your child is done talking to you, be careful in your response. Make sure your response to your child is filled with love and gentleness. Bring your conversation back to God’s Word. The focus here is to guide your child’s heart toward the Lord.
When my son was done telling me about why he wanted a candy bar at the gas station, I learned that he had a fond memory from the last time he ate that same candy bar. He hadn’t had the candy bar in a long time. That made sense to me!
Related Post: Speaking Truth
After taking a breath, I responded slowly and gently to him. I repeated back to him what he said so I could make sure I understood what he was feeling and thinking. I then held him for a minute in my lap. I explained to him that it was too close to lunch time to be eating a candy bar. But, we shared in his fond memory and smiled together on that time. We agreed that if he paid for the candy bar with his own money, that he can take it back home and enjoy half of it today and half of it tomorrow as a special treat.
The final part was in showing my son where he sinned. I first asked him if he could tell me where there was sin in this situation. He told me that he was not obeying when I told him, “No,” to the candy bar. He was correct. He was not obeying his mother who did not want him eating a candy bar for a morning snack! We talked about the verses we know stating that he must obey his mama and daddy. I then walked him through the steps of asking for forgiveness and repenting.
As you are working with your child through a difficult moment, be slow to speak. Take a breath. Pray. Pray some more. Is your response coming from your own will and how you want things to go? Or, are you looking at the bigger picture and pointing him toward God?
Be Slow to Anger
Read Proverbs 15:18
This is one area that the Lord has convicted me of over and over again. I was continually assuming my child was repeating the same offenses and I would quickly become frustrated. What I came to realize was that my son had real feelings behind his behavior. His feelings were not being acknowledged. I would quickly jump to being angry with him and skip the part of capturing his heart. I wanted him to know that my will was violated and so his will didn’t matter.
When I consider how God corrects me, it is such a beautiful display of love and grace. God always listens to my heart. He lets me pour out my sadness and frustration no matter how sinful my thoughts may be. When I go back to the Word, He always provides correction through His Word. My eyes are opened to His will. When I ask for forgiveness, He always embraces me and forgives me.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for God to see my continual patterns of sin and yet, He is slow to anger. He is so patient with me. He brings people in my life to help shape me into the disciple that I am meant to be. Are you being that mentor for your child? Are you approachable? Are you gentle in your response to his sin?
I hope that this post is encouraging and convicting for you dear mamas. I pray that the Lord will guide you through this parenting process to bring Him glory and to point your children’s hearts toward Him. Take some time to pray over these three areas (be quick to hear, be slow to speak, and slow to anger) so that the Lord may reveal areas that you need to submit to Him.
Katie White is a Christian modern-day homemaker who shares ideas on organizing, entertaining, raising little ones, and motherhood over on her website, Grace and Thanks. She has a love for hospitality and homemaking, but her greatest love is for her heavenly Father. God continues to be faithful and full of grace as she raises five beautiful children with her husband.