This tired mama has been sick for the past five days with some sort of viral infection which ended with laryngitis. So, for the past two days I’ve been unable to speak except for in a whisper or short, raspy spurts. Somehow I’ve managed to escape this diagnosis my entire life, but my husband gets it every year. He’s been empathetic and gave me an interesting piece of advice: Enjoy the silence. (Mine, obviously, not my boys) Use the time to think. Our mouths get us into trouble way too often.
At first, I became a little defensive because as a stay-at-home mom and somewhat introverted personality type, I do a lot of thinking already. I’ve always been better at expressing myself in written form rather than verbally. However, after giving what he said some time to sink into my exhausted brain, I realized he had a point.
It’s something that God has been pressing on my heart more and more. How every time we speak, we have the opportunity to give grace, to be a light in someone’s dark place, to encourage and bring hope. All to often, we instead use our mouths to complain, speak words of anger, slander others, and stampede over other’s dreams.
I want to be the grace giver. And I’m trying. Little by little. Step by step. Do I fail? Yes, all the time. But I get up and try again. Sometimes I beat myself up a little but I keep going and make every effort to keep my eyes on what’s ahead instead of what’s in the rearview mirror.
I know there will be days when I simply need to vent. To find a person I trust and unload, to share my troubles and sometimes just empty into a listening ear rather than find a solution. But I pray that even on those days, I can reflect the peace and assurance I have in Jesus in the process.
Confidence is a trait I’ve struggled to embrace my entire life. I’ve come a long way in the past five years, and that is mainly due to my relationship with God through Christ and seeing myself as He sees me. But it’s also because He gave me a supportive, incredibly loving husband, who builds me up and tells me I can when my natural tendency is self-doubt.
I want my children to believe in themselves. More than that, I want them to know they are God’s masterpiece. On a couple of recent occasions I’ve heard people say that the voice we use with our children becomes their inner voice. If we are constantly yelling, using exasperated tones, or telling them they can’t do something, the voice in their heads will reflect constant defeat. I don’t know about you, but that is not what I want for my kids.
I have the choice. God help me, but I can decide.
Being sick has forced me to choose my words more sparingly because of the effort it takes to speak. Perhaps this is a practice I could use more often?
God, guide me. Let me show others the grace you have shown me. Give me your eyes to see them the way you do. May the words of my lips honor you and reflect you love. Amen.
“…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,” James 1:19