• faithfullyfailingh

I repeated Psalm 34:1 in my mind over and over.

I was making a left turn across a busy highway with no turning lane.

I guess the man behind me thought I should have turned sooner because he honked at me and decided to drive up the shoulder to go around me. As he passed he honked, yelled things I can only imagine, and gave me the middle finger.

Twenty seconds later I was able to safely turn left. I could still see him. He had been able to advance maybe a hundred yards after illegally passing me.

I wondered, was it worth it to him? Was that hundred yards and the twenty seconds he advanced worth the hate he spewed at me?

Was it worth the anger he allowed into his heart?

To me the extra twenty seconds I waited was worth it to keep the two precious faces looking at me from my back seat safe.

He was a parent. I could tell by his bumper stickers and the familiar raised head rests peaking above his back seats as he passed. It showed that he too usually has little faces looking back at him from the back seat.

My first grader asked me, after we turned, why that car honked at us.

I thought carefully about my reply.

I could have said, “Because he is a jerk.”

I could have said, “Because he is a rude impatient person.”

I could have said a million things to clarify to my daughter that he was a bad guy.

Instead I said, “I think he has somewhere important he needs to be and he needed to get around us, we should pray he arrives safely.”

We prayed for him and for the Lord to let us continue on a safe ride home.

I thought about my daughter’s memory verse this week for school.

Psalm 34:1 – I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

We arrived home and I needed to clean the dishes I allowed to pile up since Sunday. My husband arrives home tonight after a week away on a work trip and I didn’t want him to worry about trying to clean up when he arrived since he had been on and off planes all day.

Leftovers were on the menu so my kids could quickly eat while I cleaned up our week’s worth of mess.

Last night both girls ate dinner as if it were the best meal ever. My oldest asked for seconds and the toddler finished last night saying, “more, more.” So I just knew dinner tonight would be an easy repeat.

I heated up the ravioli, pulled out the turkey pepperoni and had their dinner ready in moments.

I turned to clean and as I finished the dishes I looked over expecting to see clean plates.

Instead I see my toddler dumped 75% of her dinner on the floor.

I gently asked her, “Why didn’t you eat that?”

Instant Tantrum!

She starts screaming and saying, “more, more.”

I tell her there is no more, it’s on the floor and that’s all we had.

She screamed and thrashed in terrible two fashion.

I made other food suggestions, all met with a tantrum NO and more screams saying “rollies, ronies,” which of course we had no more of.

I felt my blood pressure starting to rise and my heart start to speed up.

I wanted to yell back at her…

I wanted to scream at her that if she hadn’t thrown hers in the floor she’d have “rollies and ronies” —

I wanted to scream back at my own child when thirty minutes earlier I was able to stay gentle in the midst of real anger being thrown at me from a stranger.

Was screaming back at her worth it? Was it worth the anger I would allow into my heart? Would the anger get me “twenty seconds ahead?”

No. Screaming back at her would only make her scream harder and fill my heart with anger and guilt.

The enemy wanted me to yell at her, he lies hoping I’ll believe I’ll have satisfaction in yelling.

I repeated Psalm 34:1 in my mind over and over.

I stayed calm, got her out of the high chair and got the broom to clean up the mess.

Why is it we can remain gentle and remember to be a light in the darkness when we are out in the world but in our own homes we fight a internal battle between anger and gentleness?

Why is it easier to lose it towards the ones we love most?

I don’t know the answer.

Sometimes I think it’s because the enemy wants to steal motherhood from us. He comes to steal and destroy and I think the easiest target is where our heart is the most vulnerable.

And there is not a more vulnerable spot in a mama’s heart than the one held by her children.

I kept my cool tonight in more ways than one but only because I had God’s word hidden in my heart ready to shield my heart from the lies of the enemy and arm my mouth with words in love, not words in anger.

Hide his words in your heart friends, they will arm you against your flesh and shield you from the lies of the enemy.

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