Me and My Mama Mouth

Today I have a special guest post for you from Karen Ehman, author of LET.IT.GO.: How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith

When I'm trying to control someone or some situation, I've noticed I have a little trouble controlling my tongue. For instance, the other day the dishes needed to be done. If I'd been the one at the sink, I'd have washed them in the proper sequence I learned in Home Economics class—from least to most soiled. Instead, my son, a smart preteen, was up to the challenge.

He didn't give me an attitude when asked to do the dishes. He wasn't disrespectful, didn't drag his feet, and was doing the job. So why was I tempted to tell him in a harsh tone he was doing it wrong? Because he was failing to do it my way.

He started with the grimy pots and pans, then moved to the plates and silverware. Finally, he had to bubble up more water to spit-shine the glasses last. While working he lolly-gagged, trying to stack some plastic cups in a pyramid. As I watched his unconventional ways, I could feel irritation welling up inside. An unkind reaction was itching to come out; one that was not tempered with the Holy Spirit.

If I had not caught myself, I could have easily let my momma mouth take over and blurted out: "What are you doing? Don't you know it uses way more water to wash the dishes in that order? Plus the water is filthy now!"

"Stop playing stack-up with those cups. Ugh! Why do you always have to play while you work? You're so slow."

What was really going on? I wanted to be a control freak and fire off words that would have conveyed unspoken thoughts. I think the only way to do the dishes is my way. I see different as wrong. I interpret a preteen being a preteen, with a slight distraction of fun, as "slow."

Any time I unload on junior (or anyone for that matter), it has the potential to damage our relationship and plant seeds in his mind of his mom's view of him, whether verbalized or implied (lazy, wasteful, distracted, and slow). It does not, as today's key verse states, come close to resembling a woman who "opens her mouth with wisdom and speaks with kindness on her tongue."

This does not make for a happy home and I've come to know that it's better if these scenarios go down much differently. So let's back up the minivan and replay that scene again with a fresh dose of perspective and a God-honoring, Spirit-controlled response. As I see my son doing the dishes in an illogical order, I can make a mental note to myself to explain a way to do it next time that will save water, money, and time.

When done, I can praise his efforts, keeping in mind his age and abilities. I can intentionally point out particulars in his unique method. "I saw the clever way you stacked those dishes. You always make work fun. I wish I were more like you." I can mentally ask myself questions that will empower me to maintain calm emotions and keep my "mama mouth" in check. Like ...

 

  • Does it matter now?
  • Will it matter tomorrow?
  • Will it affect eternity?
  • Is God trying to teach ME something? If so, what?
  • Can I pause and praise instead of interrupt and instigate?
  • Is there really an issue here that needs addressing with my child?
  • Or….am I just being a control freak and need to let it go?

The interaction would be a learning experience for both of us. It wouldn't damage, it would nurture. It would be wise. Kind. And there would be no lost time, no regrets, and no need to call in the United Nations peace-keeping forces for intervention. This mama would be less control freak and more calm mom.

It might not come easily—trust me it usually doesn't—but with the Holy Spirit, it is possible. We can learn to speak with godly wisdom and kindness. And then there won't be any need for duct tape for the ole' mama mouth!

Christin here...I can say with confidence and experience, and maybe you can relate--being a control freak is exhausting! Can I get an Amen?

Giveaway

Karen is giving away TWO copies of her new book "Let.It.Go."

All you need to do is leave a comment sharing why this book might be good for you.

You're also entering into a chance to win a Kindle Fire. Drawing will be made from comments of all those participating from the blog tour. Woot!

The Details

Giveaway ends Wednesday at 11:59 EST. Winners of the book will be announced Friday!

U.S. Residents only please. (Sorry international friends!)

This book was given to me at Allume with no obligation to review. I voluntarily agreed to review book. Post does contain my Amazon affiliate link.

Jonathan Takes Over Joyful Mothering

Hi!! I'm Jonathan, Christin's younger, louder and far more obnoxious half and I have come to take over Christin's blog. In my quest for world domination, I have decided the best first step was to hack into Christin's blog.  What shall I do with such power? Actually, I never thought that far ahead. To be honest, I saw many other Allume Husbands doing this and I didn't want to be left out. However, I will take a moment to be serious. My wife has been blogging and doing various internet social thingy's (my very technical term) for many years. She developed some friendships online and a few years back heard about an inaugural conference called Relevant and begged me to go. We didn't really have the money and I was sad that I couldn't let her go. Through some pulled strings and amazing blessings, Christin got sponsored to go and had an amazing time. She was a very small blogger and just wanted to get away, get some ideas and meet some people she looked up to. She came back with this crazy fire in her eyes. I was afraid. (just kidding) She was motivated and really pressed in to God for what the direction of her blog was to be. Slowly but surely, her blog began to grow.

She went back to Relevant the following year (a little advance planning goes a long way; hint hint future attendees.) She had made a name for herself and was greeted by people she had never met and for the shy introverted girl, she turned many different shades of red. She was accompanied by her cousin who hoped to glean from the experience as well. She came back motivated yet again and was on her way to some growth beyond what she had imagined.

This year, Christin returns to the renamed Allume with a passion to serve others that have helped her get this far. She joined the staff as Sarah Mae's Administrative Cracker Jack. Through her blogging, she was able to sponsor someone to go so that they could receive the same blessing that gave her the push she needed just a few years ago.

So to all you people in the blogosphere. Never give up. You don't know what tomorrow brings. Christin is in a place she never expected to be in only a few years ago. It just took some dedication and some mentoring from those who had been there before her. In the end, isn't that the point of all this? To help others make it through each day by the Grace of God.

God Bless you All

Jonathan

This is my stealthy side shot

 

The PURSE-onality Challenge: "A Holiday-Ready Heart"

Maybe November and December are your two favorite months of the year.  

Perhaps preparing for, living through, and cleaning up after the holidays don't phase you in the least.

 

You may have your Christmas shopping all done, your cards ready to mail, and your menus completely planned.

 

If these are true for you, then The PURSE-onality Challenge "A Holiday-Ready Heart" is not designed for you. (But please join us anyhow and give us your best advice!)

 

However, if you...     

 

  • dread dragging out the holiday decorations...
  • wonder how what should be "the best of times" all too often often ends up being "the worst of times"...
  • wish you could hibernate from October 30 'til January 1...
  • become overwhelmed by the commercialized chaos that tries to overtake your life in December...
  • cringe just thinking about spending yet another holiday with certain people...
  • feel like a failure because you never seem able to do everything "just right" for the holidays...
  • have an over-full calendar already (and the invitations haven't even started coming!)
  • wonder how on earth you're going to afford everything this season...
  • miss loved ones more than ever during the holidays...
  • want to focus on the real reason for the season...

 

...then I hope you'll join us in October for "A Holiday-Ready Heart": 31 days of intentionally pray-paring for the most peace-full, joyous, family-focused, meaning-filled holy-days we can possibly have!

 

 

For some, this may take just a slight tweak. For others, this will require a serious overhaul of how we approach the holidays in our hearts.

 

Each day during October, we'll examine an issue that often triggers holiday "baditude." We'll discuss how to maximize our own purse-onality strengths and intentionally meet the purse-onality needs of those we love. And we'll plan ahead to be already meditating on God's word and gratitude when the holidays roll around this year!

 

 

Join us for "A Holiday-Ready Heart" if you...

 

...want to do more than just "go through the motions" this season.

 

...long to focus on the true Reason for the season!

 

...desire peace on earth and goodwill toward others this Christmas!

 

Check out our website and Facebook page for the nitty-gritty details!

 

You’ll also find four free PURSE-onality audio messages:

 

 

plus a free e-Book: Top 10 Priceless Gifts that Don’t Cost a Dime for Each PURSE-onality!

 Giveaway

We're giving away 2 sets of the laminated Bible verse cards...one to keep and one to give.

And 3 of messages on CD: "Let's Get PURSE-onal!", "De-LIGHT-full Giving in a Weighty World," and "Personality Puzzle for Parents of Preschoolers."

All you need to do is leave a comment answering the following question:

What is most challenging for you getting through the holiday season with a good attitude?

 

Cheri Gregory has been married to her pastor/teacher/musician college sweetheart, Daniel, for 24 years. The Gregorys are enjoying their newly “re-emptied nest” now that Jonathon (19) and Annemarie (21) are back in college. Cheri is a high school English teacher and Christian speaker/author. Connect with her via Facebook, cheri@cherigregory.com, and www.CheriGregory.com.

 

This is a sponsored post.

Contracts and Covenants: Changing Our Thinking

Today's post is by Mary Beth of New Life Steward. rings

I will tell you all day long that I believe in Covenant Marriage. I believe that love is a choice. I believe that I have committed to choose to love my husband despite what he does or does not do. I believe this is the Biblical way of marriage. But honestly, sometimes, I find myself keeping score. I just changed a poopy diaper. Now it's his turn. I sorted, washed, dried, and folded the laundry. He can hang up what's left. I've been at home alone with Thomas all day. He's in charge of bath and bed time tonight. I cooked dinner. He has to clean up. On and on it goes. Tit for tat. Mentally, I aim to keep the "score" even. Then I get irritable when I feel like things are out of balance--when I feel like I'm doing my fair share and some of his too. Suddenly thoughts explode into: "well if he's not going to do anything, neither am I. We will see how long he lasts then! That will teach him!" And the truth comes out. My actions tell another story. My actions and thoughts show a contract marriage: as long as you do your part, I'll do mine. My desire is to live Biblically with my words, my thoughts, and my actions. So what does that mean for my marriage? I need to change my thinking to align with my beliefs--then my actions will follow.

The Common Way: Thinking in a Contract Marriage

For the majority of my life, I--along with most people in Western culture--viewed marriage as a contract. If you find yourself having these thoughts, you may be viewing your marriage more like a contract:

  • He did work all day so I guess I have to cook dinner.
  • I did the laundry last week, so now it's his turn.
  • He hasn't done anything all day long. Tomorrow it's my turn.
  • I swear, if I have to pick up his dirty boxers off the floor one more time!
Basically if you find yourself feeling obligated to do something because of what your spouse has done or you find yourself excusing your own poor behavior because of your spouse's actions, you are thinking contractually. The contract view of marriage makes the focus of marriage on self. This only promotes selfish attitudes and thinking.
The problem with this sort of thinking is that we can always find something our spouse isn't doing right. As my professor in seminary so aptly put it, the problem with a contract view of marriage, is that it places the security of a marriage in the ability of sinners not to sin.
There is a better way. We just have to change our thinking.

The Biblical Way: A Covenant View of Marriage

How can we change our thoughts to align with a covenant view?

  • We remind ourselves that by serving our spouse we are serving the Lord (Eph. 6:7).
  • When our spouses frustrate us, we remind ourselves that we are sinners, too (Rom. 3:23).
  • We think about ways to love and honor them.
  • We remind ourselves of how Christ continues in His love for us even when we continue in our sin (Rom. 5:8).
When we begin to think biblically, our heart and actions will soon follow. We must first make the choice to take captive our thoughts and submit them to the Lord (2 Cor. 10:5). When we love and serve our spouse despite their sin, our marriage becomes a truer picture of Christ and the church. We point others to Him, and our marriage becomes about God rather than ourselves.

A Word of Caution: Please do not read between the lines and hear me say that if you are in an abusive relationship of any kind-verbal, emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual-that you should physically stay there to honor your covenant vows. Absolutely you need to leave and seek safety for yourself and any children in the situation. However, I do believe that we are called to remain married and pray diligently for God to change our spouses. That is a hard truth, but He alone is able.

My first love is Jesus Christ followed quickly by my husband and my son. I am now a stay at home mom, writer, and blogger at New Life Steward. My career was first in teaching and then in Marriage and Family Counseling. Living in a small, Southern town in Mississippi, we enjoy SEC football, walking around barefoot, and playing outside. A day to myself would be spent napping, blogging, and reading with a bit of reality TV mixed in! Please come chat with me on Twitter!

Photo Source: Geoffrey Fairchild