I’m almost embarrassed to tell you this story. Really, I don’t want to. But, God continues to bring it back to my mind as an important lesson so I suppose I will share it with you.
It had been a long day, dealing with needy babies, cooking and cleaning, and working on getting the house and yard ready for summer time. I was tired. I hadn't had the time to spend with my Lord that day, which always affects my heart and therefore my attitude negatively. So, I have about a million excuses for my actions, but none of them make it OK.
As I was working alongside my husband outside, I started a discussion. It was on a topic that I knew was a hot button for us. We have had the same argument MANY times. We both are aware that we 100% disagree on this topic. And, yet, I still for some strange reason feel that maybe if I bring the topic up enough times, or discuss it with enough passion or conviction I will change his mind. Anyways, as the discussion ensued it began, AS ALWAYS, to get heated. As I spoke with what I thought was sound reasoning, my husband continued to laugh me off and disagree.
So, there I was, annoyed, frustrated, tired, upset…. And that’s when it happened… Just like that I felt the words coming up like verbal vomit that I could not stop… “I hate you” with an added “right now” at the end to take a little bit of the permanent sting off. Yikes. As soon as I said it I felt remorse. I felt conviction. I knew I was in the wrong. But, as we learn in elementary school, just like squirting out the tube of toothpaste, those words could not be taken back.
I spent some time alone and asked the Lord to work on my heart. And, as always, He did. I apologized to my husband for saying those words and made a great argument for why they were absolutely not true but just seemed to slip out in the heat of the moment. He forgave me, like he always does. And, just like that we moved on with life.
A day or two went by and I thought my lesson regarding this mistake was over, but God was not done teaching me. Riley (my 2 year old daughter) and I had been playing, but it was time to pick up the living room and get ready for nap time. This really isn't a favorite part of the day for Riley and she insisted that instead of picking up we should have a tea party. A tea party sounded pretty good to me but I knew I needed to stick to my guns and have her help me pick up. And there it was again…. “Mom, I hate you”….She said it. My 2 year old just said that she hates me. Where could she have possibly heard that?!? O yeah, I remember....She heard it from me.
Ug, my heart dropped in my chest. I knew at that moment that I also had to apologize to my child for using that 3 word phrase. So, I did. And, I also shared with her why it was not OK.
I learned a REALLY important lesson that day. Someone is listening to what I say, even if I don’t realize it. What I say, what I do- it matters. It has an effect on others. As a mom, there are always little ears listening, but in general, even if you aren't a mom, know that your words have an impact on people.
Today, be aware of what you are saying. Speak life. Speak hope. Speak joy to others. If you find yourself in my shoes, allow God to work on your heart. Don’t be too prideful to say that you’re sorry. And then, give thanks for a God who never stops forgiving!
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Daniel 9:9 “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.”