Throwback Thursday: the fine art of watering

blogDSCN7726Almost 10 years ago, I started this Mama’s Empty Nest blog.  I’ve been sharing throw-back posts from the earlier years of this blog on Thursdays for the last few weeks and here is yet another one of those from June 2011. 

Whatever the subject, whether it be politics or issues surrounding the covid-19 pandemic, angry, irate words are flying around not just on social media but in person.

Anger doesn’t solve much in my book, except make your stress and your blood pressure rise. It certainly doesn’t give life to your body or spirit and angry arguing doesn’t change someone’s opinion just because you think it should. My hope is that this old post of mine causes us all to stop and think of the impact of our words before we spout off in rage or exasperation or just because we don’t agree. 

I’ve been known to have a sharp tongue. Don’t sit there at your computer with your mouth hanging agape while you read this. I’m not always the epitome of sweetness and light, just ask my family.

Oh, as a stranger or acquaintance, you might glimpse a flash of my temper if you really, really make me angry.  I can deliver a strong tongue lashing, but in most cases, I try to curb my words and my fury.

It’s the right thing to do and most days I strive so hard to do the right thing, even though often I fail. Quite some time ago, I had one heck of a day, you know the kind where everything seems cattywampus, nothing works the way it should, people irritate you, and circumstances beyond your control frustrate you.  And it was cold and rainy to boot. That kind of day.

Feeling totally exasperated, I pulled into a gas station to fill my car. But after a couple unsuccessful tries, the pump just would not work. I looked at the attendant, warm and dry inside the station, but he just stared out the window at me, exhibiting no signs of coming to my aid. Finally, I gestured to him (the call button didn’t seem to work either!) and he slowly meandered up to me with this insightful news:

“This pump isn’t working,” he said nonchalantly.  “You’ll have to pull around to another pump.”

Grrr.  Anger fueled by my frustrating day welled up quickly as I noticed the line of cars waiting for the other pumps. I glared at Mr. Helpful. He just shrugged his shoulders and that was the breaking point.

“Well, if you KNEW this pump wasn’t working, don’t you THINK it might have been a good idea to PUT A SIGN ON IT SAYING SO?!!!”  I yelled. I whipped my irate words, each one getting louder and accelerating up a notch in angry tone, at him.  Again he shrugged and started walking away.

“Thanks for nothing!”  I mumbled as I climbed back into my car and he ambled into the station. I pulled my car around to the long line at the opposite island and waited…and waited…and fumed…and  fumed. If my gas gauge hadn’t been so close to E, I would have driven away.

And while I waited, I sensed the Lord telling me I was being utterly ridiculous. What purpose did my anger serve? Was it righteous anger? No. Would my wrath right a wrong? Absolutely not. All it really did was raise my blood pressure and provide fodder for the gas attendant’s tales of how nasty and irate customers can be.

But I was still hopping mad.

Finally, I nosed my car beside another gas pump, zipped my credit card angrily through the slot and started filling my car. As I felt fuel coursing through the hose into my tank, I also could feel anger pumping out of me as well. I felt like God’s presence was siphoning wrath right out of me. 

In its place came strong conviction as I realized my venomous words had just given every person who calls themselves a believer in Christ Jesus a bad rap. What kind of picture of a Christian did I paint? Not a very pretty one.

Cold and damp, I started to climb back into my car, but stopped, closed my car door and walked into the gas station where – you guessed it – there was a long line of customers waiting to pay their bills. I forced myself to stay patient and when my turn at the cashier arrived, I told her I needed to speak to the young man behind her.

She glanced at him as if to say, “Now what did you do?” He winced, walked up to the counter and looked at me like a beaten puppy.  I suppose he expected yet another tongue lashing.

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I want to apologize for yelling at you out there.  I realize it’s not your fault the pump isn’t working and the station is so busy.  So..,” I paused, “I’m sorry.”

His eyes widened in disbelief. His shocked co-worker looked warily at me then at him.  “Okay,” he said.  And that was that.

No illuminating beam streamed down from heaven.  No harp music swelled loudly on the store’s speaker system. No one exclaimed, “Wow, you’re a great person!” 

Nothing miraculous occurred except within my heart because I knew – I knew – I had done the right thing.  I did what Jesus called me to do, to apologize when I spewed forth unrighteous anger on someone.

Please don’t think I’m writing this to get any kind of accolades because I don’t deserve them.  I’ve experienced way too many times when I have succumbed to most unrighteous things.

Instead I share my experience because I believe God asks me to relate the change I felt in my heart that day – the joy and peace that flooded over me because I obeyed my Savior and Lord, acknowledged my wrong,  and doled out a little grace to someone else. Grace, not selfish anger, is what He grants to me every day, whether I deserve it or not.

Unfortunately, my impatience and frustration often get the best of me.  I’m ashamed to admit in the past, my wicked tongue lashed out harsh words at those I love most – not strangers at a gas station – my husband and children.

But as I’ve matured both in age and spirit, I’ve allowed God to continue to mold me and change my ways. The still, small voice of the Spirit helps me curb my tongue, use self-control and stop myself before I react in angry words…most of the time.  See, I’m still a work in progress.

Just the other day, I positioned myself on my front porch swing and read in the book of Proverbs again, noticing how many verses pertaining to wisely using words and controlling the tongue are underlined in my Bible.  At some point in my past, I had drawn a star next to this verse:

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” ~ Proverbs 12:18.

Obviously, God kept trying to teach me a lesson I’ve needed to learn for many years.

While reading, I observed the ruby red petunias nesting in our porch boxes needed water. As I grabbed the watering can to pour fresh water on those flowers, an idea sprouted in my mind –  I am just like that watering can!  What pours from me when I am shaken a little or tipped?

When I pour forth words of blessing and encouragement on others,  it’s just like cooling, refreshing water flowing out onto my flowers, which will be nourished and grow abundantly.  But if words of contention or anger flow out of my ‘watering can’ over my loved ones and even those I find difficult to love, it’s like dousing flowers with poison.   They will shrivel up and die.

My words have the power to be poisonous or encouraging and I have the capability to choose which they will be.  Nourishing others and cultivating kindness is the right thing to do, even when I’m feeling impatient or frustrated.

In my sixth chapter of my yearly book of Opportunity, on this 28th page, and every day, I know that’s what God calls me to do and I’m going to try my best.  

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Do I get angry? Of course I do. But if I see something on social media that I don’t agree with, I don’t fire off an angry retort. Instead, I just scroll on by. Virtual shouting matches don’t solve a thing I think. My hope is that we all pause, reflect, and just agree to disagree without vitriol. Offer a bit of kindness and grace instead.

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

When you don’t want the force to be with you

blogIMG_1081It is a force to be reckoned with – the force of nature. 

I’ve seen it in violent thunder storms.  I’ve witnessed its aftermath when a swirling tempest of a tornado swept down from the sky and annihilated everything in its path.  And I’ve watched nature’s strength in the ebb and flow of ocean waves on both coasts of my country.

The force of nature is evident in raging flood waters, the ferocious wind of a hurricane, the blinding intensity of a blizzard of snow.  Nature is powerful.  It is mighty and potent.  And human nature can be just as forceful. 

This week’s photo challenge theme, as you may have guessed, is “force of nature.”  I considered several photos I’ve taken that would fit the theme but in the end, I chose the picture above.  I snapped it one summer evening when a gusty wind kicked up and some fierce looking storm clouds blew into my neighborhood.

Dark, menacing clouds quickly surged over my house and I ran outside with my camera to capture their intensity.  I have to admit it was a little daunting and downright scary.

This photo reminded me that our human nature to become angry works much the same way as those ominous storm clouds.  Anger swirls in with such nefarious power that it can overwhelm us by its sheer force.  And often wrath overtakes us and causes us to say or do things we never would if we were not under the influence of ire and we didn’t let our human nature prevail.

I still recall a time when a person crossed my path with wrongful actions that stirred up my anger.  No, make that fury.   And frankly, my reaction scared the living daylights out of me.

See that’s the problem when I let my sinful human nature take charge.  It resorts to anger, resentment, bitterness, all totally ugly aspects of the forces of my human nature.

And it just seems like I can’t exist a day in this world without encountering something or someone or some event that makes me angry, that calls up that force of nature within me.  And I don’t like it one bit.

That’s why I must turn to my Guidebook for Life, my Bible, every day I breathe.   If left to my own devices, I would choose to let the dark forces overtake me.  But I won’t.  And I have to strive so very hard not to do so. 

When I find myself in the grips of wrath, when I’m enveloped in rage, incensed to the core, I must repeat this verse from James 1:19-21:  “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”

That’s not to say that some anger isn’t warranted; there is righteous anger and even Jesus showed that.  

But the kind of anger I’m talking about makes me realize I need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul each and every day.  “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:30-32 (NIV)

Some wrongs committed against us that cause us to burn with anger seem unforgivable.  That’s when I must remind myself that some acts (sins) we commit against God might also seem unforgivable, yet He gives us the gift of grace, forgiveness of our wrongdoings when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. 

The key is repentance, asking for forgiveness, and turning away from our transgression.

I may not be able to control the forces of nature in the outside world, but I can control the forces of my own human nature.  May God give me the strength and endurance to do so.

“Man’s chief enemy is his own unruly nature and the dark forces pent up within him.” ~  Ernest A. Jones

©2015 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

When you’re charged up more than your cell phone

blogIMG_1017I’m not certain if it’s just the times we live in, the stress that seems to have overtaken our lives,  or just my observation, but it seems as though everyone has a short fuse these days.

Politics make us angry.  Social issues fuel our fire.   Rage prevails everywhere you roam showing itself in stores, on the road, and even online.  Sometimes I think every human being should take an anger management course.  And I’m not to be excluded.

As a Christian, I’m troubled by the intense fury I experienced not so long ago over my cell phone.  So I searched my Bible for guidance about what to do with anger.  I found familiar verses such as:  

  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  ~ Proverbs 15:1
  • “For as churning cream produces butter, and as twisting the nose produces blood, so stirring up anger produces strife.” ~ Proverbs 30:33
  • “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” ~ James 1:19-20

It surprised me to find over 260 mentions of the word anger in my New International Version Bible.  The Lord God got angry – a lot – just read the Old Testament if you don’t believe me.  Obviously, wrath is an emotion that God, both the Father and Son, displayed and that tells me that anger itself isn’t a sin, it what’s we do with it.

Do we use it for revenge?  (I’m going to make him pay for that!) Do we use it to harm another physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually? (Take this and that!) Do we use it as a crutch for other unseemly behavior? (Well, I just couldn’t help myself, I was so mad.)  Do we allow rage to take root in our hearts and turn to bitterness towards others and unforgiveness? (How could he do that to me?) Do we use it to justify holding a grudge? (I’ll never speak to her again!)

Those are the questions believers should grapple with and I am no exception.  Because I am just as guilty as any one.  Just take me to a cell phone store.

Yep, just as churning cream does produce butter, cell phone stores churn up my anger.    Every time I retell this tale, my blood pressure raises a few points, the pitch of my voice rises a few notches, and I generally see red.

So I thought that if I put my anger down in written words, maybe I can move on and not visit it any more.  Because really, I don’t want to hold a grudge against that cell phone rep, but I think I am.

You may recall that my trusty cell phone – you know, the ‘dumb’ one without internet, the plain old send and receive phone calls and text messages – committed suicide one morning on my drive to work when it deliberately jumped into my hot cup of tea.

Hubby and I were in the midst of trying to decide what to do about our cell phone contract when that misfortune occurred.   Did we want to renew with the same provider or just purchase new phones and a simple talk plan elsewhere?  We discussed, researched, analyzed our needs, and then my cell jumped ship.  In the meantime, I found my really old flip phone and reactivated it to get by.

Finally we were ready to bite the bullet, renew our contract, and get new cells.  So off we scampered to the cell phone store like two lambs to the slaughter.  After what seemed like forever, we finally convinced the young sales rep that no, we did not want nor need smart phones. 

She was determined and persistent,  I’ll give her that, as she tried to persuade us to upgrade our plan to include internet.  We couldn’t seem to convince her that we wouldn’t use internet access on our cells.  Only after I told her our home was situated in the country, where most of the time the signal drops our cell calls, did she finally surrender to our wishes.

An hour later, hubby and I happily left the mall with our brand new matching phones.  Two cells exactly the same.  His sported a black protective cover and mine was encased in purple.  We could send and receive phone calls and text messages which were easy to manage on our slide-out keyboards.  Cell phone bliss, we thought.

But then I noticed my purple phone wasn’t very perky since it would not hold a charge for more than a day while hubby’s black beauty lasted a week.   And I hadn’t even been talking or texting on it!  This continued until I became exasperated enough to take it back to the store where we purchased it.

After a long wait, because the cell phone store is always crowded, a young man assisted us.  Well….I thought he was assisting us.  I detailed the problem with my phone.  He promptly started showing us products to purchase. 

“No,” I said politely, “I don’t need those.  My phone’s battery will not hold a charge.”

He steered us to the counter, removed the battery from my phone, spun it on the counter, and reinserted it.  Nothing’s wrong with your battery, he told me.

“Then why won’t it hold a charge for longer than 24 hours when I haven’t even been making calls or texting on it? And why does my husband’s cell  – the exact same one as mine  – hold a charge for a week?”  I asked.

He mumbled a bunch of mumbo jumbo about apps and what-nots while he distractedly looked around the store.  “I don’t have internet or apps or what-nots on this phone,” I replied and again repeated what was quickly becoming my mantra – my phone won’t hold a charge.

Round and round we went.  Repeatedly.  I stated the issue.  He blabbered some inane response which didn’t address the problem.  I explained, my husband tried explaining, but this young man wasn’t or didn’t want to grasp the issue.  When he informed me I should just purchase a new battery, my temper flared a bit but I kept it in check. 

“I have only had this phone for 3 weeks.  It’s a new phone,” I countered.

The solution was simple – give me a new battery or a new phone.  But this young man couldn’t see the forest for the trees and after bantering back and forth for a good 30 minutes, another phone rep came over to ‘help.’  He asked what the problem was.  By this time, my patience had moved to another country.

I’ll admit that I AGAIN explained the problem with a bit of shortness in my voice, but I certainly wasn’t yelling or being overly demanding and rude.  Yet what happened next sent me right over the edge.  The new guy threw up his hands, palms facing outward at me in a ward you off kind of way, and said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”

Honestly, I am not a confrontational person. I tend to take the high road and avoid confrontations at all costs. I’m usually pleasant even when others are rude; I try hard to be self-controlled when angry; and I don’t fly off the handle at strangers.  And I really am not a violent person at all!  But these two guys pushed all the wrong frustration buttons.

I literally wanted to knock their heads together and give them a piece of my mind, that’s how angry I had become over the situation.  I closed my mouth, glanced at my husband, and in a quietly controlled but furious whisper announced, “I’m done!  I’m walking out of here before I say something I’m going to regret.”

And I walked out of the store.  Left my cell phone.  Left my husband standing at the counter with the two idiots sales reps.  Marched myself up and down the mall way for a good 10 minutes to calm down and finally plunked my infuriated self down on a bench. An older gentleman walked by, sat down opposite me, but he didn’t stay long.  I think he took one glimpse of my beet red livid face, felt my fuming vibe, and escaped. 

When I finally calmed down enough to re-enter the place, the manager was speaking with my husband.  I caught the tail-end of the conversation as I approached the counter.  The manager’s solution, “This phone needs a new battery, give them one.” 

Finally!  After an hour of sheer frustration!  Of course, they didn’t have any in stock, so I still had to wait until the new battery arrived in my home mailbox.   But that I could handle.  It was the inattentiveness, lack of understanding, and downright rudeness of the clerks that made me want to pop a blood vessel.  My husband told me he’s never seen me get so irate before and that’s true.

So maybe I need a little refresher course in handling frustration.  I googled anger management – not on my dumb phone but on my laptop. And I found the following 10 tips to control your anger from the Mayo Clinic.  The list includes good advice but I had to add my own responses to the tips in italicized parenthesis.

No. 1: Take a timeout.  Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10. Slowing down can help defuse your temper. If necessary, take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.   (My time-out included getting out of that store before I wanted to break the person.)

No. 2: Once you’re calm, express your anger.  As soon as you’re thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but nonconfrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them.  (I had already stated my concerns and needs repeatedly but no one responded appropriately.)

No. 3: Get some exercise. Physical activity can provide an outlet for your emotions, especially if you’re about to erupt. If you feel your anger escalating, go for a brisk walk or run, or spend some time doing other favorite physical activities.  (I got plenty of physical activity as I marched up and down that mall with my heart racing as fast as my feet!)

No. 4: Think before you speak. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something you’ll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.  (No kidding!  All I could think about was how frustrating those people were but I bit my tongue instead of giving them a tongue lashing!)

No. 5: Identify possible solutions.  Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Remind yourself that anger won’t fix anything, and might only make it worse. (I already had identified the solution – give me a new battery – but no one would listen.)

No. 6: Stick with ‘I’ statements . To avoid criticizing or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use “I” statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. (I didn’t blame ‘them,’ I blamed ‘it’ – the phone.  But that still didn’t get me anywhere.)

No. 7: Don’t hold a grudge.  Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all times.  (I’ve forgiven and am trying not to hold a grudge.  But is it really unrealistic to expect a sales clerk to help you with a  faulty item you bought in that store? I don’t think so.)

No. 8: Use humor to release tension. Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don’t use sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.  (Being agreeable and pleasant didn’t get me anywhere.  I fail to find humor in that.)

No. 9: Practice relaxation skills.  When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, “Take it easy.” You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.  (The ‘elevator’ music playing in the mall just irritated me further.  At this point, the only thing to relax me was the promise of a new battery.)

No. 10: Know when to seek help. Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you.  (I do know where to seek anger management help.  It’s a thing called prayer.)

And it’s a thing called ‘letting it go.’  My new battery works like a trooper.  My cell is reasonably charged to let me talk and text.  I learned one important aspect of anger management from this experience.  I need to guard myself from that kind of wrath and take the following verse to heart:

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.  In your anger do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” ~ Ephesians 4:25-27

And stay away from the Verizon store.

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

The fine art of watering

blogDSCN7725I’ve been known to have a sharp tongue.  Don’t sit there at your computer with your mouth hanging agape while you read this.  I’m not always the epitome of sweetness and light, just ask my family.

Oh, as a stranger or acquaintance, you might glimpse a flash of my temper if you really, really make me angry.   I can deliver a strong tongue lashing, but in most cases, I try to curb my words and my fury.

It’s the right thing to do and most days I strive so hard to do the right thing, even though often I fail.  Quite some time ago, I had one heck of a day, you know the kind where everything seems cattywampus, nothing works the way it should, people irritate you, and circumstances beyond your control frustrate you.  And it was cold and rainy to boot.  That kind of day.

Feeling totally exasperated, I pulled into a gas station to fill my car. But after a couple unsuccessful tries, the pump just would not work.  I looked at the attendant, warm and dry inside the station, but he just stared out the window at me, exhibiting no signs of coming to my aid. Finally, I gestured to him (the call button didn’t seem to work either!) and he slowly meandered up to me with this insightful news:

“This pump isn’t working,” he said nonchalantly.  “You’ll have to pull around to another pump.”

Grrr.   Anger fueled by my frustrating day welled up quickly as I noticed the line of cars waiting for the other pumps.  I glared at Mr. Helpful.  He just shrugged his shoulders and that was the breaking point.

“Well, if you KNEW this pump wasn’t working, don’t you THINK it might have been a good idea to PUT A SIGN ON IT SAYING SO?!!!”  I yelled.  I whipped my irate words, each one getting louder and accelerating up a notch in angry tone, at him.  Again he shrugged and started walking away.

“Thanks for nothing!”  I mumbled as I climbed back into my car and he ambled into the station.   I pulled my car around to the long line at the opposite island and waited…and waited…and fumed…and  fumed.  If my gas gauge hadn’t been so close to E, I would have driven away.

And while I waited, I sensed the Lord telling me I was being utterly ridiculous.  What purpose did my anger serve?  Was it righteous anger?  No.  Would my wrath right a wrong?  Absolutely not.  All it really did was raise my blood pressure and provide fodder for the gas attendant’s tales of how nasty and irate customers can be.  But I was still hopping mad.

Finally, I nosed my car beside another gas pump, zipped my credit card angrily through the slot and started filling my car.  As I felt fuel coursing through the hose into my tank, I also could feel anger pumping out of me as well.  I felt like God’s presence was siphoning wrath right out of me.  In its place came strong conviction as I realized my venomous words had just given every person who calls themselves a believer in Christ Jesus a bad rap.   What kind of picture of a Christian did I paint? Not a very pretty one.

Cold and damp, I started to climb back into my car, but stopped, closed my car door and walked into the gas station where – you guessed it – there was a long line of customers waiting to pay their bills.  I forced myself to stay patient and when my turn at the cashier arrived, I told her I needed to speak to the young man behind her.

She glanced at him as if to say, “Now what did you do?”  He winced, walked up to the counter and looked at me like a beaten puppy.  I suppose he expected yet another tongue lashing.

I looked him straight in the eye and said, “I want to apologize for yelling at you out there.  I realize it’s not your fault the pump isn’t working and the station is so busy.  So..,” I paused, “I’m sorry.”

His eyes widened in disbelief.   His shocked co-worker looked warily at me then at him.  “Okay,” he said.   And that was that.

No illuminating beam streamed down from heaven.  No harp music swelled loudly on the store’s speaker system.   No one exclaimed, “Wow, you’re a great person!”  Nothing miraculous occurred except within my heart because I knew – I knew – I had done the right thing.   I did what Jesus called me to do, to apologize when I spewed forth unrighteous anger on someone.

Please don’t think I’m writing this to get any kind of accolades because I don’t deserve them.  I’ve experienced way too many times when I have succumbed to most unrighteous things.

Instead I share my experience because I believe God asks me to relate the change I felt in my heart that day – the joy and peace that flooded over me because I obeyed my Savior and Lord, acknowledged my wrong,  and doled out a little grace to someone else.   Grace, not selfish anger, is what He grants to me every day, whether I deserve it or not.

Unfortunately, my impatience and frustration often get the best of me.  I’m ashamed to admit in the past, my wicked tongue lashed out harsh words at those I love most – not strangers at a gas station – my husband and children.

But as I’ve matured both in age and spirit, I’ve allowed God to continue to mold me and change my ways.  The still, small voice of the Spirit helps me curb my tongue, use self-control and stop myself before I react in angry words…most of the time.  See, I’m still a work in progress.

Just the other day, I positioned myself on my front porch swing and read in the book of Proverbs again, noticing how many verses pertaining to wisely using words and controlling the tongue are underlined in my Bible.  At some point in my past, I had drawn a star next to this verse:

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” ~ Proverbs 12:18.

Obviously, God kept trying to teach me a lesson I’ve needed to learn for many years.

While reading, I observed the ruby red petunias nesting in our porch boxes needed water.  As I grabbed the watering can to pour fresh water on those flowers, an idea sprouted in my mind –  I am just like that watering can!  What pours from me when I am shaken a little or tipped?

When I pour forth words of blessing and encouragement on others,  it’s just like cooling, refreshing water flowing out onto my flowers, which will be nourished and grow abundantly.  But if words of contention or anger flow out of my ‘watering can’ over my loved ones and even those I find difficult to love, it’s like dousing flowers with poison.   They will shrivel up and die.

My words have the power to be poisonous or encouraging and I have the capability to choose which they will be.   Nourishing others and cultivating kindness is the right thing to do, even when I’m feeling impatient or frustrated.

In my sixth chapter of my yearly book of Opportunity, on this 28th page, and every day, I know that’s what God calls me to do and I’m going to try my best.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com