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1 Bible verse to be a Better, More Consistent Parent

Can 1 Bible verse help me be a better, more consistent parent? Can being firm actually be more loving? God's love letter answers me in unexpected ways.

Can 1 Bible lesson from James soften my heart and help me be a better, more consistent parent? Could standing firm actually make me more loving?

One of my favorite experiences as a believer is how God’s word has become this amazing love letter and an active presence in my life as I spend time in it.

Proverbs 7:1,3 (ESV1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments within you  . . .  3 Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

When I face struggles, God brings His peace and answers to my mind, helping me understand why we write His treasured words on our hearts.

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But how does the Bible actually help me be a better, more loving, more consistent parent?

Being MOM is challenging in ways I never imagined. Oh, the things we have to say . . .

“No, it’s NOT mommy’s job to unstick your wedgie!” was a real conversation I had to have MORE THAN ONCE.

While it has humorous moments, it’s also a fight that erodes our peace and strength at times. I just grow weary: weary of repeating myself, weary of the same tasks and chores, weary of the same issues over and over.

I’ve learned parenting is really front lines Ephesians 6 battle for the souls and futures of my family. We fight human failings and sinful natures. Every attitude and decision shapes the atmosphere of my home, transforming our relationships with each other and with God.

Can 1 Bible verse help me be a better, more consistent parent? Can being firm actually be more loving? God's love letter answers me in unexpected ways.

Knowing God’s truths prepares my heart to face my battles with righteousness and peace, even when my largest combatant is around 4 feet tall. 😉

But sometimes the lessons come from unexpected places, verses I wouldn’t have found searching for parenting wisdom, but verses that help me clearly understand the character God wants me to have.

One week last year was full and busy with my older boys visiting from their mother’s. The house feels bustling, complete, joyous when they are here, but we also enjoy a messy chaos. But asking for help with cleaning tasks seems to release the inner debater in my children.

As I dusted, I prayed over my frustration with them. Why does it always have to be a debate?

Can 1 Bible lesson help me be a better, more consistent parent? Can being firm actually be more loving? God's love letter answers me in unexpected ways.

And a verse came to mind.

James 5:12b ESV  .  .  .  but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

While in context, this verse is about making oaths, I immediately felt convicted about my reluctance to hold firm to my parenting expectations. It may not directly relate, but the essence of the verse is to mean what we say and stick to it.

And as parents, our expectations are a type of promise because they help our children know what to expect from us and who we really are.

Consistent parenting is a promise that tells our children what to expect & who we are. Click To Tweet

As a child, I despised because I said so. I vowed to do my best to answer the why questions of my children. But in an effort to help my children understand, I’ve taught them too much is open to negotiation.

Kids need clear directions from a consistent parent.

By letting my NO mean MAYBE too many times, I’ve sabotaged myself as a parent, and perhaps done a disservice to them as children in God’s family, too. As an adult, I’ve had to learn obedience to God is often doing without knowing why right away.

Of course, kids will always challenge boundaries, but consistency allows me to stay calm and peaceful even when their disobedience leads to consequences because I can be sad and disappointed with them in their poor choices.

Trying to always explain WHY, I've taught them too much is open to negotiation. Click To Tweet

Sometimes, I look into my daughter’s eyes pooling with tears, and I don’t want to send her to bed without dessert, but quietly holding her to the consequences will teach her the fruit of the spirit by example.

And that points her to Heaven, not Harvard.


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Pray Awake – FREE Printable Daily Prayer

Letting the world into your home before checking in with Him? Pray Awake is setting the tone of my heart & home. Join me and PRAY AWAKE! Free Printable!

Pray Awake has become my new morning routine. The second I’m awake, I pray. I love how it quiets my heart and sets my eyes on Him. It starts my day even better than coffee. 😉 Free Pray Awake printable at the end.

Several months ago, I felt very convicted about how I started my days. I would usually roll over, grab my phone, and check Facebook.

As if that were more important than checking in with God.

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Checking in with Facebook and Twitter before you're checking in with Him? PRAY AWAKE with me. Click To Tweet

Blessedly, I have the luxury most mornings to gradually open my eyes, covered in snuggles with my little, but starting my day without prayer, I found myself worrying about this, stressing about that, completely letting the world into our home before I even put my feet on the floor.

The world’s anger, fear, ignorance, intolerance, vulgarity – I was letting it in before putting on my armor!

Ephesians 6:10-18 talks about the importance of wearing the armor of God.

I was inviting it all into my head and heart before putting on my armor. I needed to Pray Awake!

Why had I let that become the focus of my morning routine?

Something had to change.

I made a conscious decision to pray awake every morning.

I really wanted something sweet and simple that would set my eyes on Him and set a tone of service and ministry in my home for the day. My heart has to choose to lay down my selfish flesh everyday.

Pray Awake is a sweet, simple prayer to set my eyes on Him & a tone of ministry in my home. Click To Tweet

PRAY AWAKE kept coming to mind every morning, and those two words grew into an acronym of a prayer.

I really wanted to start with PRAY, but couldn’t find the right words. Then, in the face of some discouragement, I prayed for God to wake me the next morning & the words “Please Remind me I Am Yours” were on my lips.

So many battles I fight are calmed when I remember I am His. My confidence in who I am doesn’t come from my waistline or a jar, but the beautiful, useful vessel God is creating me to be.

I want all my ways to reflect God in my life, from how I handle the laundry to how I handle stress, to how I sing one more song at bedtime or answer a petulant child from a place of His peace not her chaos.

Letting the world into your home before checking in with Him? Pray Awake is setting the tone of my heart & home. Join me and PRAY AWAKE! Free Printable!

Welcoming God’s agenda for my day was a mental shift for me, realizing that my plans for my day were second to being obedient to God.

Do I answer my petulant child from a place of His peace or her chaos? #PrayAwake Click To Tweet

I had spent too much energy getting frustrated when my daughter’s desires or disobedience interfered with my goals, letting life’s redirection stress me out, instead of listening to His quiet calling to follow His agenda.

If my life is His – shouldn’t my day be His also? Accomplishing HIS tasks for my life reminds me my days are not my own.

Spending more time in His word has shown me how important it is because that is how we KNOW God, understand His character, and grow a relationship based on real faith and trust.

The last line really grabs my heart – Empowered to live in obedience. People think being meek and obedient equals weakness, but being obedient has taken more strength than I ever imagined.

Showing love instead of anger when God says forgive, watching the world reject you and Him, standing strong in the middle of chaos, having conviction in things unseen while the world mocks: These things take a supernatural empowerment, a strength I only have through Christ.

Starting the day with prayer has changed me. I parent more calmly, I tackle my day instead of the people between me and my coffee maker, LOL.

I run to Him first and that has made all the difference.

Pray Awake Printable

  • For best results when printing, make sure you select SCALE to Fit so your picture prints within in the printable margins of your 8.5×11 paper. It should come out as perfectly ready for an 8×10 frame.
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Reaction Time

This morning my daughter kept getting distracted from making her bed. She’s four. I expect a certain amount of distraction. First, she had to potty. Then, she found a piece of paper on the floor. Around the third time, I said, “Ok, it’s time to set the timer.” We’ve been using a timer to encourage her focused attention on a task. I always set the time to be several minutes longer than I anticipate a task requiring. The goal is to help her focus, not make her rush.

But this morning, when I said I was setting the timer, she squealed and began to get upset. “I can’t do it!” she cried from her room, wailing a pitiful lament at a frequency of whine only preschoolers can master. “Of course you can. You have plenty of time,” I answered pleasantly, mentally patting myself on the back for the measured, temperate response. Ha ha, little did I know I was about to go through an hour of testing of my pleasantness.

A minute later she shrieks, “I see a black widow spider!” I have no idea if it was a black widow. I didn’t wait to identify it. It was black and shiny. And I didn’t want to spend the rest of the day looking for it, so I sucked it up in the vacuum and proceeded to vacuum a few rooms to make sure said spider was good and dead. So, OK, the spider was a fairly decent reason to shriek.

She finished making her bed, momentarily appeased. Then while I was vacuuming, she screamed because there were knots in her hair, and she couldn’t brush them out. Jumping up and down, screaming, repeatedly, easily heard over the vacuum for NOT an emergency.

By the third, fourth and fifth screams, I was starting to get upset. My blood pressure started to go up, and I started feeling kind of crazy. Maybe I should have stuck with one cup of coffee?

I could feel the angry, frustrated emotions start to rise like a red thermometer of rage in old cartoons. Struggling to stay calm, but ready to scream myself, I felt God convict me.

Why is she responding in this way? Where did she learn to respond like this? How are your reactions and responses teaching her to behave? Oh, my heart softly answered, convicted that my reactions haven’t been the example I would have wished. Sadly, I wondered, is it too late to help her be different if I’m different? It was time for me to work on my reactions.

Since she was born, I’ve been on this journey to building my faith and walk as a Christian wife and mother. Even though I’ve come a long way, I don’t know how much of my  behavior and attitudes have shaped her, positively or negatively. I do know that I still have a longer way to go.

I immediately prayed for my reactions to her and our daily life to be calmed and gentled, for my expectations to be age appropriate and filled with love more than the need to be hurried and harried. Nothing I could teach her today will be more far-reaching than learning to respond to challenges and emotions well.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Tender-hearted. Just hearing that word softened me inside. I pictured her face and wondered how my rushed brusqueness was damaging her tender heart. My frustrated voice and prickly demeanor belied my true feelings of being dissuaded from my preferred goals. As I helped her comb her hair, she screamed as I misted her hair with her water bottle. I know the droplets are possibly cold, but her reaction was nuclear. Inside my head, I wanted to make her stop overreacting by overreacting. Yeah, after a deep calming breath and hasty prayer, that didn’t make any sense to me either.

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Resisting the urge to let myself overreact, I simply talked with her about how the water makes it so much easier to comb her hair, especially since she asked for braids. When combing her hair is easier, I can do the styles she likes and get done quickly so she can go back to playing. I had wanted to shout, “Don’t you know how ridiculous you’re being?!?” But that didn’t acknowledge her feelings nor show her love or demonstrate self-control.

I put a smile on my face. Psychology says that the very act of smiling actually makes us happier, that if we commit to holding the smile for just a minute, we will see an improved mood. And we are programmed to mimic what we see (that’s why yawns are contagious). She smiled with me. Both our attitudes were immediately refreshed. What better way to show her how to react than to demonstrate patient, peaceful love for her instead of being angrily fearful that I would run out of time today.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”

Staring at her face in the mirror, I realized I could focus on the ‘important’ tasks I needed to do today, or I could focus on the important person in front of me. Her limited days as my four-year old are ticking away.

The role of wife and mother doesn’t feel full of peace. I feel the laundry wrinkling in the dryer as I ignore it to finish this sentence. I watch the dog and can SEE him shedding onto the carpet. I don’t think the counter got wiped down after dinner. Am I ready for this meeting tomorrow? Is that stack of books I’m supposed to be reading growing? Is my husband describing dissecting a shark? When is that prescription supposed to be ready? Did I forget to pay that bill?

My mental to do list feels like a weight sometimes. Like I’m letting my life get in the way of living.

Psalm 16:11 ESV “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Nothing I had planned for today was wasteful. I wasn’t going to binge watch Netflix. But God still intervened to show me what I really needed to see to be in His presence, to make sure I was joyfully present for her.

At one point, she simply wouldn’t let me settle down to work. Nothing could persuade her to be quiet. I finally asked her what do you need? Do you need some hugs and kisses? She said, “Oh yes, I was waiting for you to know that.” I set aside my computer and scooped her into my lap, covering her velvet cheeks with a sprinkling of kisses, carefully discussing the finer points of butterfly and Eskimo kisses.

Several times today, I have felt worry and upset creep over me. Not enough hours, not enough energy for me to do all I need to do. Every time I have everything scheduled and planned, things take a turn. My hour of writing time while she watched a movie she earned by doing her writing and math today, became an hour of talking with my husband who got home from work exceptionally early.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV  “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

So was this God stepping in my way? I don’t know. I do know that more time with my husband is an answer to prayer. Good time for us to connect and talk is rare. Putting aside my computer again, I chose to pay attention to God’s ministry for me as his wife. And was rewarded with one of the most positive conversations we’ve had recently. We discussed deep topics without interruption. It was a good, bonding quiet time in the middle of the week which is hard when my husband goes to bed at the same time or earlier than our child. God knew better than I did.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

All day, MY plans for me have been thwarted. Even now, we are watching a nature special on African animals. Instead of putting my child (and sleep deprived husband) to bed for some quiet time to finally, get down to business, we are sitting here cackling at the vultures dancing to distract a lion.

Isaiah 26:3 ESV “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

I have been tempted moment after moment to be upset, to let my anxiety rob me of the chance to minister to my family by loving them best and first, but focusing on God has helped me stay peaceful as my day went all cattywampus.

I have days it is really easy to be who God calls me to be. Days my anxiety and to do list are small. Today was not one of those days. And I chose to fight my sinful nature, resting instead in the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t easy. I had a few moments the frustration began to seep, and I had to choose my reaction instead of let my emotions run wild.

My daughter’s memory verse this week was powerful for me today.

“Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:5b

Before my thoughts could swirl out of control. I had to choose to make them obedient. Because God can’t work through me if I don’t let Him have my whole heart, turn over every part of me for His revision.

Galatians 5:22 ESV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

Not everything got finished. The laundry is still in the dryer. The pile of mail creeps steadily higher. But my daughter practiced writing while I worked. I read her stories and listened while she counted to 20 without skipping 14 or 16, she got so excited that 17 got missed, but it was her best yet. We practiced mazes and the letter A,a. She wrote one, two, three and the numerals several times. She colored things red, and we laughed.

My reactions made the time we spent together joyous quality time.  The Spirit made my reactions about loving my family, taking time for them, realizing that loving them was even more important than doing for them.

And modeling these new reactions, teaching her by example, will have its rewards someday for both of us.

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Why Should You Stop Throwing Temper Tantrums

My temper tantrums? As parents, we don't often think about our tantrums, but I've grown increasingly convicted about my anger, especially towards my daughter.

My temper tantrums? As parents, those generally aren’t the tantrums we think about. But over the past few years, I have grown increasingly convicted about my anger, especially towards my daughter. And one verse today just wrecked me.

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And I want to come to you from that place right now: not a place of having conquered, but still conquering, sometimes still failing. But I see God’s work in my heart as I grow more and more.

My temper tantrums were damaging my family. Yours are, too.

God has called us to stop throwing temper tantrums now.

I’ve been trying to rewrite this post for days, but God was calling me to go deeper than I even understood yesterday.

We’re missing a correct perspective on the importance of the children in our homes. The worldly view either elevates children to the masters of the home or diminish them as satellites to the central parents.

Both perspectives grieve God.

God should be the center of our homes as the sun is the center of the solar system. When the sun is in its rightful place, all the planets are exactly where they should be. If the sun changed by even the tiniest degree, the planets would not hold their perfect orbits. Chaos would reign in the galaxy.

When God isn’t the center of your home and heart, chaos reigns. When you’re the angry mom (or dad), fear of provoking your temper changes the dynamic for every moment of your day. Even the most joyful moments are colored by the terrible knowledge that the peace is temporary.

Is that really the message we want for our homes, spouses and children-that peace isn’t real or permanent?

Hebrews 12:14 ESV  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

How we live in God’s perfect peace with holiness is how others can see the Lord. How much more so should we live to demonstrate that peace for those God has given us the responsibility to love and raise.

This is the verse that just wrecked me today.

Matthew 18:10 ESV “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

I had to just stop and weep over how much I imagine my daughter’s angels have protected her from me.

I stand here with you today, grieving the temper tantrums I have thrown, walking beside you in changing our hearts.

Honestly, I still struggle with my temper at least once a day. Most days, I win the battle now, but some I don’t.  I’d rather not publicly admit that anger is an issue in my heart and home, but I’ve decided if my honesty can help other moms, my brokenness is better than staged perfection.

I stand with you, grieving my temper tantrums, walking beside you in changing our hearts. Click To Tweet

Being a mom is filled with lots of joy. My daughter’s giggles and snuggles cheer my heart, and I love watching her grow in her faith and become her own little person.

But parenting is also filled with HUGE mountains of frustration.

I swear, leaving the house is absolutely Kryptonite to my normally sweet child. “Go put on your socks” is met with a raging discourse against socks or a Supreme Court worthy debate about wearing cowboy slippers to the park.

“Yes, I picked up my room,” is almost certainly a lie.

(#MomProTip I discovered if I want her to play quietly in her room, send her to clean it. She won’t clean much but will pull out lots of toys and play.)

And frustrations build. Momming is enough to drive anyone crazy, full of routine requests, fighting the same battles over and over and over. Add the stress of housekeeping, bills, work, difficult relationships (even marriage), and I start to fall apart.

I’ll feel like I’m barely holding my Hindenburg emotions together with duct tape and the next frustration rips through my false calm like flames.

For me, the first step in healing came from realizing that the root cause of my temper tantrums is sin.

SIN? Really?!? How is it MY sin when my child doesn’t obey?

God expects us to have emotions, not be ruled by them. When we let anger overcome us, we are not demonstrating fruit of a Spirit-filled believer.

Ephesians 4:26-27 ESV “Be angry and do not sin . . . and give no opportunity to the devil.”

When we throw temper tantrums we damage the trust our children have in us, in our love, in our stability, in our faith.

God expects us to have emotions, not be ruled by them. Temper tantrums damage relationships. Click To Tweet

We give Satan footholds into the lives of our children. With our temper tantrums, we build weak places in their hearts that Satan can exploit.

I know that Satan will use any opening I give him. Totally unacceptable! So, I had to root out where my anger comes from. Primarily stress, pride, and lack of self-control. Yep, sin.

We hold onto stress like it’s our human right to explode during difficult circumstances, but God’s answer is not to.

In the calm moments of motherhood, It’s easy to write this, but when I have a headache and my kid won’t stop talking long enough to eat her dinner, it’s much harder to demonstrate self-control over the frustrations.

How Do temper tantrums come from selfishness and pride?

I wanted today to go my way. I wanted to be on time, or she asked for more of my attention than I wanted to give at that second.

And I used to snap.

Living with the me of the past had to be miserable. No one could anticipate my mood or my threshold for the day. I am truly grieved over the temper tantrums that ruled my life for years.

I am truly grieved over the temper tantrums that ruled my life for years.

Every day I would wake up and promise myself to be better, and most days I would fail, robbing me and my family of joy and peace.

I couldn’t control myself because there was an anger born of selfishness inside me. Until I began to die to that selfishness, I wasn’t able to be different.

I had to see others, including my children, as more important than myself. I had to grow in humility.

Philippians 2:3 ESV “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

God’s highest commandment to love others comes before keeping house, writing a blog, folding laundry.

Sometimes, I am still tempted when faced with blatant disobedience, but I am more often able to reflect humility and look at their sin with grace and compassion, without having to join them in anger.

James 1:19-20 ESV “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

The purpose of my life as a wife and mother is to produce righteous fruit in my life, in the lives of those with whom I fellowship, and the lives of my husband and children.

The anger of man doesn’t produce God’s righteousness.

So what are we supposed to do?

My temper tantrums? As parents, we don't often think about our tantrums, but I've grown increasingly convicted about my anger, especially towards my daughter.

Psalm 4:4 ESV / “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.”

If you’re angry, go sit on your bed, think about your own heart, and be quiet!

I love that – God invented time out.

Taking a few moments to get myself under control in prayer always changes my attitude, setting aside my selfishness, exchanging it for God’s peace.

Temper Tantrums? Psalm 4:4 - God invents time out. Go sit on your bed & search your own heart. Click To Tweet

When I quietly sit and reflect, God reminds me how He loves them and His perspective. He shows me how to solve the conflict over being right.

It sounds too good to be true. Just pray?

It’s where I start. Prayer opens my heart to hearing God. Then through scripture, His wisdom reaches into my life: guiding, convicting, changing.

In this communion with Him, we are granted His peace.

Philippians 4:7 ESV “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

In the face of heartbreaking struggles or mind-numbing frustrations, the peace of God is beyond my ability to explain, but is so real.

I’ve felt it, wash over my heart like silk, changing my perspective and emotions in an instant.

With joy and thankfulness for my full life, I ask to have the correct attitude toward this season as wife and mother and set aside my anger.

God has been working on my temper tantrums for years now.

I can safely say He’ll be done with me about five seconds before never, but I know I’m making perfectly imperfect progress every time I pray for His peace, patience, and maybe some time alone to pee.

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