Slow to Listen, Quick to Speak, Quick to Anger,

7:30 a.m. That's late for me. But I didn't move from my bed. I tried to listen for sounds from the boys' room. All I heard was gentle snores from my 12 year old. "May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. Please, Lord?"

Last night's mishap flashed into my mind, as well as the look of hurt in my 8 year old's eyes. He said his thumb hurt and I lashed out "Stop making excuses! We had a deal! You played earlier but now it's cleaning time!"
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His response was, "You see? You don't care about me!!" That was all it took to get me on a rant about the MANY times he's disobeyed. The MANY times I've let him slide.  The MANY things I've done for him. You know, the mother rant... but even I can sense the icy edge to my words- like he was a burden.  I don't call my children names like stupid or moron or loser. Thank God that in the midst of my anger I watch that I don't say those words.  BUT my expression, my tone, my face, probably give them the impression that I don't think much of them.

If this was the first time I've let resentful and angry words come out of my mouth before, I would say that he got the better of me. It would probably be easier to forgive myself. BUT it wasn't the first. I've done this many times before not just to him but to his big brother as well. And to my husband, too.

I can tell myself that they push my buttons.  J is my button and boundary pusher. I can tell myself that I have the right to demand respect from my family and their lack of listening skills brings out the monster in me. 

Whatever happened to, "Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouth but only what is helpful to build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Ephesians 4:29, NIV). If I had a nickel for every time I quote that verse to my children... There's something to be said about LIVING out the verses myself instead of just speaking it, though, right?

I am embarrassed to admit that within weeks of participating in Bible Studies that are supposed to help me with my tongue, I go back to my verbal diarrhea problem. (I am very sorry for the visual. I do hope you are not having breakfast now. But that's how I see my angry words- a disgusting, unpleasant mess). But that's the truth. I can throw the white flag and just accept me for being the foul mouthed, angry mama that I am. I can call myself a failure of a mama.

Or I can run to Jesus and admit my weakness. I can run to Jesus every morning and embrace His mercy and grace. I can come to Him with a humble heart and admit that I. NEED. HIS. TRANSFORMING. POWER.  I desire to be a woman who is "Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry" (James 1:19).  

So, this morning, I woke up and prayed for God to help me watch my tongue and guard my heart again.  And perhaps I'll play this song over and over again:


My friend, Christa Cordova, is hosting #NotFineFriday today.
Check out her website for more #NotFineFriday stories of
pain, struggle, grace and redemption from
everyday people like you and me!

A Lesson in Leadership from Joshua

I am currently doing a Summer Bible Study called #Biblein90 facilitated by my friend, Christa Cordova.  A week ago, we were in the book of Joshua and I didn't get too far into the book before I unpacked a chuck full of much needed godly wisdom.

Joshua 1:9 is often quoted at this time of the year in graduation speeches, graduation cards and greetings.  We are all familiar with the verse: "Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous. Do not be afraido; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  

However, when we read the entire  Joshua 1, we see that it isn't just a little pat on the back kind of encouragement. It is a command to Joshua as he prepares to lead God's people.  God was telling Joshua to lead His people HIS way and it required Joshua to FULLY trust God.

God puts Joshua in charge of His people after Moses died.  Moses was a hard act to follow, wasn't he? If we trace his life from the beginning, we can God's hands ALL over his life. When Moses was born, Jewish baby boys were being executed all over Egypt and his parents come up with the idea to put him in a basket and who else found him, but the Egyptian princess?!?!?!? Isn't that just a BUT GOD moment?  Moses' life was full of BUT GOD moments.  He wasn't perfect by any means, BUT GOD showed up time and time again to do great things with Moses. MOSES WENT TO MOUNT SINAI AND WAS GIVEN THE TABLETS. Throughout the 40 years, Moses alone spoke with the Lord on behalf of the Israelites. MOSES WAS A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW indeed. The end of Deuteronomy tells us this, "Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel" (Deuteronomy 34:10-12, NIV). 

Then comes Joshua. Joshua is mentioned in Exodus and we know him as a warrior type. When God chose Moses, Moses was NOT a warrior. If I was Joshua, I'd be  questioning my qualifications to take over for Moses. But of course God had it covered. God made sure that the transition between Moses and Joshua would be smooth. He made sure of that YEARS before Moses' death. Here's a great breakdown on the succession: .

Now let's go back to Joshua 1. Joshua 1 opens up with the Lord speaking with Joshua, reassuring Joshua of His promise. God also reassures Joshua that He has Joshua's back. In verses 5-9, God encourages Joshua to be strong and courageous. But within those verses God also tells Joshua what his responsibilities are as the leader. Verses 7-8 "Be careful to obey the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth; meditate on  it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written  in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

I don't have the time or even expertise to do an in depth look to tie in this Old Testament
text with the New Testament. Meaning, we refer to Old Testament laws (book of law) as the Old Testament law and because of Jesus we have been saved by grace so we don't necessarily have to follow the Old Testament laws to the letter...And I don't want to have a debate on Old Testament v New Testament. BUT in Luke 12:48, we see Jesus saying, "From everyone who is given much, much will  be demanded." I'm not the first nor the last to say that this verse applies to those in leadership roles.
To me Luke 12:48 goes hand in hand with God's command to Joshua in Joshua 1:5-9. God doesn't just reassure Joshua "I've got your back. You got this. Go get the Promised Land." God instructs Joshua on how he will succeed. I think the command to be strong and courageous (which God repeats three times so we know He means business) is the command to be strong and courageous enough to follow God's Ways, God's direction, God's laws, NO MATTER WHAT ANYBODY ELSE MAY SAY OR DO. To be strong and courageous in the Lord means praying, "THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH,  (and as I often add when I pray the Lord's prayer) and in my life AS IT IS IN HEAVEN."

You may not be in an official leadership position in an organization. However, you may be in a leadership position in your home as a parent. As parents we are called to "Start off children on the way they should go" (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).  Parenting is a leadership role.  I know I need this reminder.  I need to be strong and courageous as I try to point my children to God. I also need the reminder that as I try to do this, I must remember that I also need to be accountable for living a life that is in line with God's Way.