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Happy Monday Morning all! And no, I did not get out of bed before you. Ha! Actually, I wrote this Sunday afternoon, to make sure I got it done so you could read it first thing Monday morning!

These verses were the topic of our sermon this Sunday, and I thought I’d share them with you. Actually, I thought I’d share them with you in the way I heard them – almost like God was thumping me over the head with the message!

Understand this, dear mothers: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angryMommy anger does not produce the righteousness God desires in you or your children. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your own lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your own hearts, for it has the power to save your souls, and the souls of your children.             – James 1:19-21

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue with your family or anyone else around you, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.                               – James 1:26

Yeah, you see where I get convicted, right?

Patience has never been a virtue I’ve had in abundance. Apparently, God must have taken me at my word on day when I threw my hands up in the air and said, “God, grant me patience!” And what did he do? He gave me an ADHD husband and child, and well, just children in general. Sometimes it feels like God develops patience in me just like callouses are developed – rubbing abrasive substances on your nerves until they start to develop a thicker coat of skin!

A callus is a thick, hardened layer of skin that has developed as a means of protecting itself from repeated use. While calluses are protective, they can also be unsightly and irritating. However, if you repeat the activity that caused the calluses, they can redevelop once again. (ehow.com)

And when those callouses get a little thin, I tend to get “short.” Short in patience leads to short in temper. Which leads to short fuses and long, loud, irritated diatribes from Mommy. Even James here points out the obvious: anger does not produce the real heart changes you want.

I personally believe that Mommy’s spiritual state is the barometer of the family. In fact, I’ve seen evidence in our family: if I “take a few weeks off” from my own Bible study and prayer time, everyone else in the family is affected. I admit, since our Wednesday night Bible study has taken a few weeks of break, I have too. Since I started working again, even my Bible study has taken a back seat to “things that HAVE to get done” and ends up being squeezed into and leftover nooks and crannies.  Satan so easily can make us mothers feel like our quiet time is OPTIONAL.

And man, has that optional-ness been making our house one cranky place lately. Of course, a lack of sleep and a super busy schedule hasn’t been helping much either.

Mommas out there, just like in an airplane, we’ve got to get our own oxygen masks on FIRST. Before we can breathe life into our own children’s lives, we’ve got to inhale the air God gives us to do that with!

Not that I believe my children’s faults and since are my own faults and sins (which leads to a sort of co-dependency), but I do believe, at least at their young age, that a mother’s influence and heart are strong. That’s why James is so literal and clear here. “Get rid of all the filth and evil in your own lives.”  We need to be reminded constantly that our children are watching us as role models.

In addition, the how we handle those sins in our children can have great affect on on exactly what they learn. Are they learning to behave “or else?” Or are the lessons about living for God and in a way that pleases God (instead of what makes Mommy look good) truly being implanted?

It needs to go further than the outward showing of behavior, because frankly,  kids are smart. They know if what we say is truly planted in our own hearts. When it’s not, they can smell the hypocrisy a mile away. Your religion, your outward trappings, literally become worthless.

So, this week I’m resolving to take my tongue under control. Not only do I plan to focus on be breathing in the Word of God and filling my life with His oxygen. I’m going to focus on breathing out that Word and that Love of God into my children’s days. At convention, Michelle Duggar says that she tries to praise each of her children 3-5 times per day. (Goodness, if she can do that for 19 children, I can certainly do that for two.) I’m looking forward to meditating on these verses in the next few days and see what more God has for me to learn.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps you’d like to join me in this challenge this week?