“Excuse me?” My eyebrows shot up. “Show you my what?”
My three-year-old dashed from the playroom to where I sat in a kitchen chair. “Your boobie! On your arm!”
“Ohhh—you mean my boo-boo. Ok, sure.” I pushed up my t-shirt sleeve, revealing a teddy bear band-aid from the doctor’s office, where an hour earlier the girls and I had gotten stuck with our annual flu shots.
“Yes, Mommy, I want to see your boo-boo. Look, you got a green band-aid just like me!”
“I sure did! We were brave!” And your mother is so relieved you were talking about her arm.
A natural mistake for a child, right? Boo-boo, boo-bee—easy to mix up a vowel sound here and there, no big deal.
But she got me thinking. Sometimes I pick the wrong words, too. Difference is—I know better.
Words like these.
I said put your FREAKING shoes on, now!
I am so tired of this CRAP!
DANGITALL, doesn’t anybody listen to me around here?! Aaaaaagh!!!
Oops. Occasionally I wrestle a bit with self-control. Do you? Frustration bubbles up and spills out my mouth, through grinding teeth and under fiery dragon breath. I don’t necessarily roar at full volume, I mean, I do have some godly discretion (see this halo on my head?). Often I’m just grumbling to myself.
But even if I only think the nasty words and never give them a voice, they’re still a symptom of some ailment brewing deeper than my throat. It’s my heart that needs the check-up.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it,” (Proverbs 4:23).
What does it mean to guard your heart? I used to believe this meant building walls of discipline around it, stacking prayers and memorized scripture like bricks, one on top of another until I’d constructed a pious barrier from which raw emotions could nev-ah escape, mwuahahaha.
But it turns out the wall wasn’t bulletproof. I’d get hit with a bad day or a surge of unruly hormones, and those bricks cracked and crumbled, leaving me exposed, cranky, and suddenly inflicted with a colorful vocabulary.
Slowly now, I’m discovering a more authentic definition. Perhaps, to “guard your heart” means to tend it, watch over it, nurture it. To let it thrive and not suffocate.
It means acknowledging the raw emotions as part of who and whose I am, even in my ugliest moments.
I am a child of God. My heart belongs to him.
So. This is usually the part of the story where I invite you to join me in cleaning up our act, taming our tongues, rising above the temptation of motherhood sin. True, the Bible is full of verses on why we shouldn’t shout “crap” in front of our kids, and I’m in total support of them.
But today, I want to remind you what else the Bible says.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God,” (Ephesians 3:16–19, emphasis added).
We’re all going to mess up. We’re all going to have days when emotions scramble to the surface and spew out the wrong pipe. But don’t define yourself by them. Recognize that you are human, you are trying, and God loves you through it all.
Heaven knows I need to remember that. And I promise to remind you, too—week after week, devotion after devotion, imperfect mom to imperfect mom. Show me your boo-boos and I’ll show you mine.
We’re in this together. Amen?
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If this post encouraged you, please share it. You might also like No, You Are Not Failing, Put a Little Love in Your Voice, and The Foolproof Cure for Hollering.
Linking up with: Playdates With God, Titus 2sdays, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Wedded Wednesday, Grace at Home, Thriving Thursdays, and Things I Can’t Say.
Lori Harris says
you had me at freakin’ because that is my favorite word,second only to crap.
but you are so right, the things that dwell in my heart come out of my mouth, and my 6 babes pick them up.
Ha ha – I confess I kind of like those words, too, Lori. They’re at least better than the alternatives… although they sure sound pretty bad coming out of a copycat toddler’s mouth, yikes. Six babes… God bless you!
Lisa Littlewood says
Amen to that for sure. Very true words and much needed reminders and encouragement!
Much needed for us both, Lisa! 🙂
Thanks for the simple reminders. This post was very much needed.
Hugs, Barbara! You are not alone.
This is oh so true and something I really need to work on. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for reading, Shay. I’m working on it right along with you!
How attention grabbing – not just your daughter’s question to you, Becky but beginning this post with the word, “boobie!” ha! You sure had me curious to know what was going to be discussed next!
I’m so glad you let situations like this roll around in your brain because when they come out through your posts, they are always so thoughtful, truthful and helpful, Becky! It truly is a hard, fine line to walk–being true to our emotions and allowing Christ to heal our hearts and guard our minds and tongues. But I am blessed by your words and a message here today, my friend!
Oh thank goodness for grace!! Some days I need to wash my own mouth out… Great words!
I know I say the wrong thing sometimes, too. Like last night, when my boys were refusing to go to sleep. I could have been gentler about it, for sure.
This is perfect for my day – from the “pious barrier” to the grace. If we were always perfect, how would our children know that God loved them in their imperfection? How would they learn the way to the mercy seat if we didn’t show them the way!
Thanks for sharing your “boo boos”. I need to be careful about what slips out of my mouth as well 🙂