Ephesians 4:29 

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths,

but only such as is good for building up, 

as fits the occasion, that it may give grace

to those who hear.

Words are a powerful thing. They can encourage or discourage. Make you laugh, or cry. Show and communicate any range of emotion you can think of. Build up, or tear down.

The boys in this house are boys through and through. They are loud, rude, obnoxious, messy, dirty and hard of hearing. But they are also funny, jokesters, creators, artists, passionate, compassionate, loving, kind, tender and gentle.

In the moments when they are all boy, it is hard to remember that they too are also a deep soul, a loving to-be-loved child of God. In the moments when the house is coming down around my ears, I fail to heed God’s word, his still small voice within, reminding me to guard my mouth.

Ephesians 4:31

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander

be put away from you, along with all malice.

The words pour out fast and quick, cutting and harsh, my anger and frustration at stepping on another piece of lego not put away, another instruction not obeyed, another page of a book torn apart engulfing the need to speak peace.

Words cut to the quick. And they stay with us for a long time. The effect is much deeper than the initial rebellion it arouses; the hurt obvious on their little faces, tears streaming or eyes glaring.

I am broken. I am undone. My love language is words of encouragement – both receiving and giving. Yet, in my own home, I struggle so with these little hearts God has given us to nurture.

Ephesians 4:32a

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…

How can I possibly expect from them what I struggle so much to give? How can I tell them they need to love each other, be kind, gentle and loving, when that is the least of my examples to them?

Ephesians 4:32b

…forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

I have no choice. No hope in myself. No strength in anyone but Christ in me. My heart is willing, but my flesh is weak.

James 3:8

but no human being can tame the tongue. 

It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

What have I to do then, but to surrender this daily to my Lord. He alone can rescue me from the poison my lips so quickly pour out. He alone can deliver me from the follies of my frustration. He alone can give me the tools to build up instead of tear down. Consciously, consistently, committing my weakness to him.

Proverbs 14:1 

The wisest of women builds her house,

but folly with her own hands tears it down.

These boys of mine, they are tough. But they are also tender. While they may be rough and tumble, they are also quiet and reflective.

When they challenge me with their boyness; when they stretch me to the limits of my patience; when they are needing to be encouraged and built up – I want to be there for them.

Isaiah 50:4b

that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary.

Lord, give me grace, love, patience, the fruit of the Spirit; the wisdom of your words; the comfort of your peace; I want a tender heart toward my children. Help me to use my words to build up and encourage them, setting an example of love and grace, peace, not counting it against them when they fail, but forgiving them as you have forgiven me.

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters