|Julia at about 20 months in Marky's room just making him smile|
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another.
I've been doing a series on the Fruit of the Spirit with my kids at home, and I've been reading a book on it by Elisa Morgan called Naked Fruit: Getting Honest About the Fruit of the Spirit.
If you missed any of my other posts check them out by clicking on their FRUIT words below:
What I love about the fruit of the spirit is that you can see them clearly in a person's life if they truly possess it. And what I love about KINDNESS is that it is an ACTION word.
"Kindness is meeting needs."
And lets face it we all have needs. Kindness is noticing someone hasn't been to church in a few weeks and you taking the time to call/text them to see if everything is okay. Kindness packs a husband his lunch and picks up those socks by the side of the bed. Kindness adopts an orphan in another country by sending money each month to take care of their basic needs.
"Kindness contains pure, clean action--the kind that usually costs us something in terms of time and energy."Recently, my dearest friend has been struggling with sickness in her family. I kept promising to pray for her daughter to heal and kept texting my concern, but it wasn't until I got in my car, drove the 40 minutes to her house with kids in tow, brought some soup and fun toys for her daughter that my KINDNESS had some legs and feet. And it felt so good to DO something for her. Yes it took time and energy, but it spoke volumes of my love for her.
"Kindness is coupled with compassion. Kindness cares, and because it cares, it acts. Kindness gets involved."Sometimes when I look around I wonder if we really care about others, or do we just pretend to? Sometimes, especially in the North East where everything runs so fast and time is short I think we get so wrapped up in our own daily doings that we simply don't take the extra time or effort to invest and love on other people. And I mean needy people. I'm so guilty of this. It is much easier to show KINDESS to people who are far away and don't require a lot of energy or effort. It takes a lot more sacrifice to invest in the needy, neighbor next door where the cost is high and the need is great.
Ecclesiastes 4: 10
"If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
I think of the times people were kind to me by reaching out when I needed encouragement, who surprised me with a gift or card, who wrote a text to brighten my day, who brought over a meal when I just had a baby or was sick. And I think, wow, those people were Jesus' hands and feet to me. It was love and kindness in action...and then I think of the times that I pushed that KINDNESS away because of pride.
Here comes the honesty. I just had Mark, and I had a 17 month running around the house, and I was DETERMINED to do it all without anyone's help. (What was I thinking?) My MOPS group kept emailing me, "Kristi, how can we help? Can we wash your windows, bring a meal, do your laundry?" And I thought to myself I don't need help, surely their are other moms who need more help than me, I only have two kids, I can do it. I have my meals planned, my house is clean. And you know what? I missed out. I missed out on the opportunity of lettting someone bless me simply because I was too proud to take a hand out. Oh, how I could use that blessing today! LOL Never, never let pride get in the way of accepting kindness.
Here comes more honesty...why is it easier to show kindness to the person in Florida as opposed to the spouse you married for 9 years? Okay, let's be real...sometimes it is easier to put on the nice voice, send the card, help a friend in need much more than it is to show kindness in our own home.
I think of my favorite mentor Christy Weaver. Christy, mother of 3, married her college Sweetheart Bill, and lover of the Lord since she was in her early twenties, Christy oozed kindness and not only to me and other kids at youth group, but to her hubby, to her children to all who came in contact with her. She opened her home, sent a card of concern, gave me rides, went above and beyond to always always show me she cared. And she was such a good listener. The time and energy she poured into me over the years has been costly, very costly, and when John and I first found out we were pregnant the first couple I wanted to tell (after our family of course) was Christy and Bill. And we could think of nobody else to have the place of honor of godparents. One thing I admire about Christy is her tone of voice and her self control. She is just the sweetest.
The other day I saw a woman at Costco talk to her 3 year old daughter in such a shameful way, to the point of using profanity at her daughter because she spilled something, and I thought, wow, sometimes we can't even show kindness to our very own children!
"But to tell the truth, we seem to do a better job extending kindness outside our homes than inside."Final Point
So what do we do to possess this kind of kindness? Where do we get it and how do we get a refill if we feel empty?
How many of you as moms feel empty? Oh I know it. We get drained emotionally and physically every day as we raise our kids. This past weekend I had a melt down right in front of my kids because I was just so tired and so frustrated. It happens. What do we do? Well, first we apologize. I swallowed some humble pie today and told Julia and Mark that mommy's anger and behavior was wrong and then we simply go to the source.
We get on our knees each day and ask God to fill us generously with his love and KINDNESS so that we in turn can show it to others. And if you have skipped your quiet time lately like me because you have been running running running to get all the things in your life done, it is worth it to stop, and be still and refill from Him.
"A major truth for moms or any caretaker is that we can't give to others what we don't have ourselves. OH we thing we are being incredibly selfless and spiritually mature to give to other while ignoring our own needs. But are we?"I loved this last quote: "Kindness to others begins with kindness to ourselves." So simple and true. And for me the key words are this...Kristi, be still.
After I take the time to be still, stop running and getting things done, I can refill with the Lord and be reminded of all He does for me and how much he loves me and confess all my many faults. Then I can be renewed and restored and have plenty of Kindness to give to others.
Especially my three favorites: