Last summer I did a Bible Study with some women at our church. It was a great time of fellowship and growing. One of the lessons has really stuck out to me, and honestly, is one that pierces my heart almost every single day.
The lesson was basically a reminder that the woman of the house sets the mood for her house. If Mommy is grouchy, agitated, impatient, and sarcastic, well then she should expect little Johnny to be responsive to that, and he probably will not be the easiest child to tend to. If Mommy is frustrated at the end of the day when Daddy comes in from work, and she is short, spiteful, harsh, or has a "try to walk a mile in my shoes, buddy" attitude, then she can expect her husband to be cold, distant, or argumentative.
Basically, the old saying is right on, or it could re-read, "If Mama chooses to let her ugly flesh rule the roost instead of choosing to let God's Spirit rule her heart, then she should be prepared to bring out the worse in those she loves the most."
If my first interaction for the day with my children is calm, reassuring, and nurturing, it is amazing at how Ethan just lights up and begins to go out of his way to do things just to please me. He has a list of chores to complete before school begins, but he'll quickly do one of mine, and then just come around the corner smiling to catch my reaction. Emma will start giggling and smiling wanting my advice on what she should wear for the day, asking which shirt is my favorite to see her in.
If my first reaction to my children for the day is frustrated, hurried, or demanding, I am not amazed at how Ethan's heart is so hard that the wall he puts up between him and I can barely be penetrated for the rest of the day. No matter how many times I try to make it right, he shows me that I cannot take back how I chose to start my day with him. Emma will become very bratty. She acts as though she has no joy anywhere in her body. She is a sad sack who isn't glad she is at home with her mommy.
Now, let's talk about my Gregaroni for a minute. Gregaroni is the name I have given my man when he let's his flesh rule. In our early years of marriage, Gregaroni was in full effect on a regular basis. He knows this, admits this, and because I gave him this name, we can find humor in some of the silly things we chose to argue about back then. He is a changed man today. I can tell you that my children and I are priorities in his life like never before, and I am truly blessed to have him as my husband. Gregaroni doesn't rear his ugly head hardly at all anymore. But I have found one thing that will cause him to make an appearance, Mouth. Yes, that is the name my husband has given me. When I am giving into my flesh, you can guarantee Mouth is unleashing her wrath. Within minutes of Mouth showing up, Gregaroni is ready to come out and play. This sounds amusing, doesn't it? Mouth and Gregaroni batting back and forth over who has it worse than the other one?
Well, it isn't funny when it is sin. And that is exactly what it is. Yes, there are times when I am really frustrated, and maybe I have good reason to be. But that doesn't give me the right to forget Christ's example and to act out of the flesh.
I try to remember that how the words I use when we are running late, or the expressions on my face when I am feeling slighted, are molding the language and characteristics of those around me. More importantly, whatever thoughts are in my head, or whatever anger is in my heart, will spill out of my mouth.
Easier said than done? Yes, it is. However, the more aware I am of catching those thoughts or feelings, and replacing them with God's words, the easier it becomes to ease the tension building in my shoulders, take a deep breath, and remember that they should see Christ in me, always.
Here's to training our tongues by the renewal of our minds, and if that doesn't work out for ya, just remember that unless you like bratty kids and a mean husband, you need to learn how to behave.