Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fruitful or just plain fruity?

I have four little monkeys running around my jungle...and lately, it seems, they have been climbing, swinging, and banging their chests loudly ALL THE TIME. Which has led to my becoming increasingly overwhelmed. I think being overwhelmed as a mommy, especially one of young children is SO normal. You are generally sleep deprived to some extent, being a translator for all the cries and grunts and screams, a house keeper, a cook, and the list goes on. I remember when I first had the twins, we came home from the hospital on a Saturday. When Friday came the following week I had an excitement about me. When my mom asked why I was so excited, I said, "It's almost five!" And then I realized that five o'clock wasn't coming for a LONG time! I was on duty all the time...
In the day to day grind of things it's so easy to lose focus on the joys of mommyhood, the blessing from God that it is to be privileged enough to be a mother. I so desperately wanted to be a mom. I have known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to be a mom, and here I am in the trenches of it all and I've been so grumpy lately!!!
So, recently I recalled the Fruit of the Spirit - the tree isn't growing if it doesn't have any fruit on it!!! And to be honest, lately I have felt I have been in the dead of winter in my growth as a Christian, as a mother, as a wife. So, I began to recite the passage to myself "...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23" Just saying those words puts a hop in my step.
As I said these words out loud I realized a great truth. I so badly want my children to exude love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I work hard at teaching them those things...and yet, if I'm not showing them an example of these things daily how will they learn? The other thing God pointed out to me was that last part, "Against such things there is no law." That means no discipline. That means if we are kind and patient, good and faithful, gentle and self-controlled, loving and joyful and full of peace we won't be disciplined. Now, I believe that God is gracious and his mercy is overflowing, but the person who is the most critical of myself is me. And I want to do better for myself, my husband and my children.
So, I have decided to focus on these nine "fruit" over the next few weeks. I want to spend time purposefully doing things each day that will radiate each of these characteristics. It's a challenge for sure, because often I find myself just flying by the seat of my pants and now I have to be intentional, with my words and my actions. My children are such honest critics and they will let me know how I am doing. I started today a bit and my daughter at dinner tonight told me, "Mommy, you are a nice grown up girl." However, my husband will be a bit more tricky. I wonder if he will see these character traits ripening in my life. It will be fun to see how he responds to all of it.
Would you care to join me with this challenge? To be intentional with our words and actions, to focus on the Fruits of the Spirit? I would love to hear how your personal challenge is going! Tomorrow starts "Love"...


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