Keep It Shut #6 -- Peace at the front door

I want peace in my home. I want it to be a place of rest. A place of quiet sanctitude. A place of order.

I go to great lengths to design systems that make it easier for our large family to have this. A large part of that is those ever talked about entry ways. We crave the beautiful mud rooms and entryways that fall on each magazine cover. We buy baskets and bins and buckets and boards trying to make this work. I've shared with you our basement entry way.

I was over the moon when I found this at a flea market for our shoes at the front door.

I went there. The front door. It's my nemesis. It brings out the not-so-pretty side of me. You know -- the poo that we talk about in the last post.

My dream of coming in the door to loveliness is just that -  a dream. Notice the emptiness of those lovely cubbies for the boys above. That's because their coats, and guns, and bags, and binoculars, and footballs, and whatever else is on the floor just in front of my perfectly designed system.

I'm ashamed. My children are so glad to be home that they rush in the door and drop their gear to come into our home where they feel comfortable and loved and glad to be there.

Do you feel it mounting? Now, I've felt hope at coming home; disappointment at the disaster; frustration at the system not working; and now I've topped it off with a big ol' scoop of guilt.

Now -- I'm supposed to choose my words wisely. No yelling. Bite my tongue.
Is a mess really worth complaining about? I'm just glad I was blessed with them. I remind myself that someday they will be gone and the house will be immaculate and I will be sad and missing them.

I think of the verse "A soft answer turns away wrath..."

So do I choose to say nothing at all? That's grace right? Just pick up the mess and move on. I want to be a peacemaker. I want peace not a battle over being reminded for the bajillionth time (that's a real number) to please pick up your stuff!

Then there's this truth that Karen states so well in Keep It Shut --
"Giving a soft answer doesn't mean I don't give a truthful one"

When we don't deal with our frustration and teach our precious ones how to be a part of a team that makes this wonderful place we call home, we feel that bubble rising up. That bubble of resentment and frustration that can too often lead to bitterness over something simple.

If you've known me long, you know that I absolutely L-O-v-e Proverbs 31. There's a little verse...

"She opens her mouth wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness" (Proverbs 31:26)

I've always thought of this verse as always being kind when I open my mouth. But you know what - this can go a little deeper. I can also let this verse empower me that I am to teach the law of kindness. 

If I can open my mouth with wisdom, on my tongue can be the law of kindness, teaching my children how kind and thoughtful it is to take care of their responsibilities and blessing. It's not just a "test" for me on how much I can take and restrain my mouth?? It's my approach. I'm a teacher by trade and I've been missing this -- God's Word is so transforming!! These moments are where God wants me to impart life and grace in a teachable moment to the precious ones in my pasture!!

That's the role God has called me to as a peacemaker. Not to be silent and full of frustration and guilt. But, to use wisdom to teach, and be an example of peacemaking.

Keep It Shut encourages us to take the "Climate Change Challenge":

Briefly list the last three to five times you let loose of your anger verbally, unloading on your family.

What commonalities do you notice in these situations?

Based on what the events have in common, what patterns or triggers do you recognize about why or when your anger tends to get the better of you?

For me it's when I've let the disease to please infect my interactions. I've taken offenses and pretended I was enjoying the situation and interpreting that as being a peacemaker rather than using wisdom and graceful words to teach the laws of kindness.

Mine's the front door. What's your next pasture for peacemaking?

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing.

Keep it Shut post #5 - Poo in the Pasture

Penny is beautiful. 

She is usually full of love and tenderness for all who come around her, but don't mess with her 'baby' hiding behind her. I've also seen her now and then use her biting jaws to get her man Scout back in line too. I wonder if I'm sometimes like that. All put together on the outside, tender to many, and most of the time pretty good; but catch me at the wrong time when it comes to my babies or my man -- and watch out.

Manure. Penny has a lot of this stuff in her life. 
So do you and I.
Manure can stop growth.
We have to work tirelessly to scoop this out of the pasture so the grass can go;
 but this same stuff, the manure - Can Be Used.
When it's pitched out, broken down, and spread out in a different form it can be used for GROWING!

The same is true with the pasture where we grow words. Our heart.
We have to actively put away the baggage, the bitterness, the biting tongue, the impatience and anything else that keeps words of life and grace from growing in our pasture. 

 Matthew 13 talks about a farmer who goes out to scatter his seed. Only the seed that fell on good soil  produced a crop! For you city gals -- you might not like to think of this but good soil comes from using that icky manure stuff to make the soil rich and ready for planting.

So when we get bogged down by guilt, frustration, or impatience in our pasture --- we need to look to the manure pile. Break it down. Haul it out. Let God use it.

For when it is spread around and worked into the soil you are ready to plant seeds of life. Words of grace and love and truth. That's why God made our tongue so powerful because it can be used to grow and give life to the hearts and lives of other people (especially those we share the pasture with)!

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21)

In Keep It Shut, Karen Ehman gives us some strategies to use when discerning if our words will add life and grace to those who are receiving them:

1) Trade Places. Imagine you are the receiver.
2) Leave some things unsaid.
3) Temper your tone.
4. Consider your countenance. (Non-verbal is 93% of communication)
5. Believe the best before assuming the worst.
6. Don't get historical.
7. Be a history changer. (Words can change someone's life & path!)
8. Notice the one who least expects to be noticed
9. Choose your timing

The time around here is that for planting. What can you do to get your pasture ready?

From R7 to you --
Be a blessing.

If you missed earlier posts you can download the first four chapters FREE here.
Keep It Shut post #1
Keep It Shut post #2
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