Since the day I became a mother, the value of gentleness has been impressed upon my heart. I have observed many mothers as they parent their children. I watch, and I learn. I knew early on that one quality I deeply desired to emulate was that of the grace of gentleness. Before I even had my first child, I knew that I wanted to be a mother who was gentle, especially, with my words. I saw and still see it as a way of loving and caring for the impressionable hearts of the children God has given me. Since then, my husband and I have been blessed with two more children, now having 3 daughters. I realize now in the business of our large family that, even for the most tender of people, perpetual gentleness does not come as naturally or as easily as I thought. In moments of hurry, giving a soft answer is downright hard. When in the midst of constant questioning, exhaustion, and the need to lovingly discipline, an amiable response feels far from my lips. I strive to be gentle with my husband and my girls, but when I am home and frustration sets in, I go to battle within myself. I am so far from where I want to be, thank God for Jesus.
When I look to the gentleness of other, much more incredible mothers, I am inspired. When I look to the gentleness of Jesus, I am utterly wrecked. I love Romans 5:8 saying, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He asked God, His Father, to forgive the very ones who were nailing him to the cross, mocking his name. He had every right to get down from that cross, yell thunderous booms in the soldiers faces, and let a legion of angels take them to justice. He could have climbed right down from that cross and turned the tables on each of the men who were mocking, beating, spitting on, and murdering him. But he was silent. “Like a lamb led to the slaughter… he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7)
Jesus’ sacrifice on that cross encompassed every good thing. In His crucifixion can be found every element of the fruit of the spirit and so much more. I see gentleness. Gentleness, in its quiet nonimposing way, speaks more mightily than we give it credit for. Not just in how Jesus acted during the crucifixion, but in how he deals with me, the one who’s punishment he took. I am all too much like my 2 1/2 year old daughter. I seek my way and throw tantrums at God. At times I get red faced, frantic, stomp my feet and want to run to my room, away from the God who gently calls my name. Yet, He loves me. He stands there and waits. Even when I am being defiant toward him, he pursues me and his gentle words pierce the depths of my soul. You see, not only was he gentle that one time, that time on the cross, but he is gentle every single moment of every single day. We do not deserve him, but he gave himself up for us, to freely accept his gift of eternal life. And it’s not a “use it or lose it” affair. It is as my children’s Bible says, “a never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love.”
Because of what Jesus did for me, I can look to Him when I want to snap at my kids. I search for Him when I want to yell at my husband and shake my fist at God. Only because of Him, because of Jesus, can I ever cultivate gentleness in my home.
Readers, How have you experienced gentleness in your life? How did it surprise or change you?
A huge thank you to our guest poster, Britney Bradley! If you are interested in submitting a piece for consideration you can find the details on our submissions page.