The morning was going pretty well until about 10 minutes before we had to leave for school.
You see, my 6th grader was taking his time with his shower and getting ready for the morning. Ten minutes before we had to leave, he still had not come down to eat his breakfast, so when I yelled up the steps to tell him he had to hurry it up, I realized he was in his room playing. Ugh…that started to make me upset. When he came down, he walked into the kitchen, suddenly stopped in his tracks, put his finger over his lips and said, “Ummm, I will be right back.” He ran upstairs and a minute later came back down. He went and grabbed the Bible, sat down, and started to frantically go through it. It took me like 3 seconds to realize that he obviously forgot to do something.
I was right.
He was supposed to give a devotional presentation during his 1st period Bible class and forgot to prepare anything. We had 8 minutes left now before we had to leave for school and I still was not completely ready nor had he eaten his breakfast. When I asked him what he was going to do, he tells me that his idea was to take some Legos and use them as a demonstration on how to build each other up. Good idea, but he had NOTHING prepared and was aimlessly searching through the Bible.
Instantly, I got really upset. I said some things that were not good, angrily grabbed a piece of paper and pen, told him to start eating, and whipped out a few Bible verses on building each other up and ways that we can do that. I stuck those notes in the front of his Bible, closed the cover way to hard, and ran upstairs to finish getting ready. He inhaled about half of his breakfast and then ran to brush his teeth. By this time, we were running late and as we left home, the tone of my voice was still harsh and my blood was boiling.
As we started driving, I told him he better take a look at my notes and get a plan in place. In a bitter tone, I gave him an idea of how he can pull this off and unlike me; he stays very quiet and calm through it all. I got mad at the lady driving in front of us for going too slow and not taking off the second the left arrow on the traffic light turns green. When Noah asked me to turn the radio up, I snapped and told him “No.” He didn’t say another word the rest of the way. We pull up to school at the last second and Ethan jumped out.
Ephesians 4:29, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (NLT)
Needless to say, as I sat and reflected on the morning, guilt filled me up. For one, I should have just stayed calm and had reality be the discipline and let Ethan go into the class completely unprepared. I am a firm believer that there are great lessons to be learned with reality discipline, but sometimes I step in and help when I shouldn’t.
However, it didn’t take me long to realize that in trying to help my son develop a devotional on building each other up, I was doing the complete opposite to him at that moment. I was verbally tearing him down. As he jumped out of the van needing to speak a few minutes later about how to encourage and uplift one another, I had just crushed and deflated his spirit.
Not a good mother moment. It’s regretfully embarrassing. This week holds some things that have been making me feel a bit stressed and on the edge and I guess his irresponsibility pushed me over. Honestly, I am a very patient and loving person and actually feel that those are some of my gifts. Maybe this is just a pitiful attempt to try to convince you that I am a good mom, but truthfully, my behavior yesterday morning was out of character for me. Clearly however, I am far from perfect.
In wishing I would of just let Ethan suffer the natural consequences of not being prepared, I quickly realized that the Lord was having me search the Bible in those frantic minutes not for him – but for a reminder of myself. As a result, it is what I spent the rest of the day thinking about.
Later in the afternoon, after we were all home from school, I took a moment to sit Ethan down and talk about the morning. In a loving and calm voice this time, I asked him how the presentation went, and he said, “Actually, very well.” I told him I was happy it went well and we proceeded to talk about the lessons we both learned. He admitted his fault and I admitted mine. Apologies were exchanged and at the end of the conversation, we both walked away with raised spirits.
Before we ended our conversation he shared with me what he said and did during the presentation and I want to share that with you. While he used some of the Bible verses I found for him, the demonstration part was completely his idea.
He explained to me that he took a bigger Lego piece and used that as the foundation, representing love. While speaking of ways that we can build each other up – showing respect, kindness, praising others while staying humble, refraining from speaking gossip or spreading rumors, being sensitive to other people’s needs, praying for each other, being understanding and quick to forgive – he used a Lego piece for each example and built a cross with them. He explained that using words in love is how the Bible teaches to encourage each other and when we do that; we represent Jesus. Then, in a quick instant, he took that cross of Lego’s, threw it to the ground and it smashed all over the floor. He said that is what it is like when we use our words to tear people down; no longer representing Jesus.
I think Ethan’s demonstration pretty much sums it up.
Just like I needed to do with my son, if you need to take a moment to apologize for the misuse of your words, the tone of your voice, or in giving the silent treatment to another individual (that speaks just as loud and is just as damaging) – then go and do that. Relationships can be mended instead of ripped apart.
Hebrews 10:24-25, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (NLT)
It doesn’t matter who you are – Christian or non-Christian, the color of your skin, or what age you are – we ALL need and desire for someone to take a moment and speak love and life to us.
Friends, let’s go and look for someone to build up in loving encouragement. People are hungry for it and we do not do it enough.
1 Corinthians 14:26, “Well, my brothers, let’s add up what I am saying. When you meet together some will sing, another will teach, or tell some special information God has given him, or speak in an unknown language, or tell what someone else is saying who is speaking in the unknown language, but everything that is done must be useful to all, and build them up in the Lord.” (TLB)
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