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The Mom in the Mirror

I’ll never forget the day I saw myself in that mirror. Even though over two decades of time have passed since I caught the glimpse, the image is still vivid. And I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t a pretty one.

My then six-year-old daughter and her three-year-old brother were playing together in their room. I strolled down the hall to check on the baby who was due up from his nap soon. It was then that I saw it.

As I approached the room where my kids were playing, I heard Mackenzie’s voice pipe up as she expressed to Mitchell her immense displeasure. You see, he was not stacking the Legos in a manner that suited her. As I neared the door I heard her sharply declare “No, Mitchell. Not that way! Oh, just give it to me! Anybody with a brain knows they go like this, not like that. Can’t you ever do anything right?” Her words, though unkind, weren’t the real issue. What bothered me most was that they were spoken with a caustic, condescending tone. I was not going to let her get away with it.

I stepped into the room and with classic mom form - hand on hip, finger pointed, throwing the child’s middle name in for emphasis - I gave it to her. “Mackenzie Leith Ehman! Young lady, I don’t ever want to hear you talk like that to your brother again!” Without even looking up from her pile of blocks, she quickly and calmly retorted. “Why not, Mama? You talk like that to Daddy all the time.”

Ouch! My kids often serve as a painstakingly honest mirror when it comes to my attitudes and actions. The offense my daughter had committed that day paled in comparison to what I feared my kids were witnessing in our home as they saw their mom interact with their dad sometimes by using her words as a weapon. I cried and prayed and cried some more. I told my husband what had transpired. I then told my moms’ Bible study group. Turns out I wasn’t the only mom who had a little mirror in their house. Many of us had seen ourselves vividly reflected through the voices and actions of our offspring.

So what’s a mom to do?

A whole bunch of us moms—and others—will be using the upcoming Lent season to make some progress in this area, learning what to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all.

This year, for the first time since 1945, Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day and Easter is on April Fool’s Day. But no need to worry that you’ll have to give up having chocolate from your sweetheart or enjoying a heart-shaped sugar cookie at your child’s Valentines party at school. Instead of giving up sweets this year for Lent, join thousands of others who will be giving up using our words wrongly instead.

Sometimes as moms, what our kids say serve as the best mirror of our own hearts. Do you struggle with knowing what to say, how to say it, or when to say nothing at all?  Join us for a season of learning together how to guard our words and use them well!

You know those times when our children’s behavior threatens to knock the nice right out of us? For 40 days, let’s learn to pause first, recalculate, and to punch in a different destination for the words downloading from our brains onto our tongues. We can program them to first stop at gentleness, swing by to pick up respect, and finally — arrive with grace. Then our mouths can utter pleasant words to our children, rather than those that are caustic, cutting, and unkind.

Don’t say something permanently painful just because you are temporarily ticked off.

Will we be perfect? Nope. Never. (Not until heaven!) But of this I’m certain: others can catch a quick glimpse of Jesus when they see us speak and act in ways that honor him and line up with God’s Word.

Join us for Doing Lent Together on Facebook, inspired by my 40-day devotional, Zip It! It kicks off on Ash Wednesday, February 14, and runs through the day before Easter, Saturday, March 31, however we will not be reading or interacting on Sundays. This will give us 40 days of interaction about many topics that relate to using our words: angry words, when to speak up, when to remain silent, gossip, words of forgiveness, examples of Bible characters who used their words well {or didn’t!} and how God’s word helps us to use our words wisely.

I will be posting encouragement, a challenge of the day, and also doing many Facebook live videos (sometimes with a special guest!) and there will also be GIVEAWAYS!

Join us HERE on Facebook for Doing Lent Together!

P.S. It is strongly recommended that you have Zip It since each day’s discussion will be on one of the 40 short devotional entries in the book. You can download a FREE sample of days 1-5 here.

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