One thing that is so hard to endure is to be around a grumpy person. I cringe and want to get away from them as quickly as possible. As a young Christian I was given a little paperback copy of Proverbs from the Living Bible which was pretty “in” back then for young people. ( I was saved at age 16, married at age 18 and had my first baby on my 20th birthday)
I began reading my “daily Proverb” when my first child was napping. I would ask God to show me which verse He wanted me to focus on that day and I’d write it on an index card and hang it on the refrigerator.One day my verse was Proverbs 15:4. “Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.” Wow! I began to contemplate that verse and asked God to help me “live it”. I began to realize that when I complained it not only discouraged everyone around me, but it discouraged me too! I remember making a conscious decision asking God to help me daily to choose cheerfulness.
Two days later the verse I chose was Proverbs 17:22, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” This verse was kind of the opposite. A cheerful heart actually was good for your health! I began to see in the days to come that cheerfulness was a choice!
Not only do I not enjoy being around a grumpy person, but I don’t like being around myself when I’m grumpy. I can’t say I’m never grumpy of course, but I hate it when I am and can’t stand staying that way for long.
I’ve found that as a mom in the home you can be a strong source of stability for your family. That’s pretty hard to do if you’re grumpy. When you are, it drives others away from you. It’s also pretty hard to bolster up others when you’re wrapped up in your own misery. It’s hard for kids to trust you with their heart when they feel like departing from your presence.
When I’m tempted to have a complaining spirit, I try to withdraw to my room to spend time with the Lord and ask Him to help me get my attitude right before I am around others. I’ve even told my children sometimes: “Hey, Mom is struggling with her attitude. I’m going to talk things over with God. Please don’t disturb me unless someone is in danger.” When that happens, and it will, of course, you are teaching your kids by example what to do when they are struggling with their attitude.
These verses became stand-bys not only for me but for my kids as I raised them. I remember having Nate write Proverbs 17:22 for handwriting one day. He illustrated it with a pretty landscape picture and I framed it and hung it in the living room for all of us to see and meditate on. One of my children struggled often with complaining so Proverbs 15:1 was a verse he learned and reviewed many times. You know, we are here on earth to glorify God.
I always try to remind myself to look for the positive- even in things that seem very bad at the time. God often hides nuggets of gold in the dregs of life, if we only will learn to cooperate with Him during our struggles. He knows all and sees all and desires to supply our every need. No concern or struggle is too small to lay at His feet. He cares for the little sparrow. Surely, He cares for you too. Remember also, that your kids don’t belong to you. They belong to Him and no one cares more than God about every detail of your life. It brings honor and glory to our Savior when we choose to trust God to give us the strength to be grateful. Let’s cultivate homes that our kids will want to come back to one day!