Kindness – Day One
by Deb Weakly
“Peace begins with a smile..” ~ Mother Teresa
1. Remember, one of the most important components of the Help Club is praying having someone to pray with. Have you been praying with your prayer partner? Be honest? If the answer is no, do what you can to connect this week. Text her to set up a quick time to pray. We are ALL busy, but prayer should be a priority. I (Deb) have a quick prayer call with someone most days of the week. It has TRULY changed my life!
Call your prayer partner for your quick 10 minute phone call. Done______.
2. Read John 15:4-9, James 1:22, and Ephesians 4:31-32. Write Ephesians 4:31-32 in your journal and record them on your phone. Pray and ask God to help you to stay close to Him and not live independently from Him. Ask Him to speak to your heart this week about what it means to be kind and compassionate, and how to stay close so you can obey Him and be more kind to the people that He has blessed you with.
Do you ever stop to think of how different our lives would be if we were not merely “Listener’s” of the Word of God, what if we really did what it said? James 1:22.
I know in my own life, when my (Deb’s) children were little, I had many mornings where I had a wonderful time with God in my Bible study, felt truly inspired, ready to go out to my world and be like Jesus to my husband and children. Then, all of a sudden, my kids would start to argue, something would get spilled, the dog would potty on the carpet (no lie), and it would all be over! It was during these times that I would completely blow it, end up angry and then start yelling at my poor children. Ugh! Then the condemnation would come, and I would feel so sad for the rest of the day. It happens to all of us, but even on those days it is still God’s will for us to obey what we read in His Word.
Imagine for a moment reading today’s passage and truly applying what you learned about kindness and compassion to your life today. What would your heart be like? What would your family be like?
You know it would be totally awesome!
Now you ask, “How on earth can I be kind and not lose it when my day starts to fall apart?”
I’m glad you asked!
I believe the secret to obeying God’s Word to be kind or anything else is tucked away in John 15verse 5:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Did you see that? Apart from living close to Jesus you can do nothing!
Jesus wants you to not only read an inspiring passage in the morning, then put down your Bible and go on with your day, He wants to be with you ALL day. He wants you to talk to Him ALL day. He loves you SO much that He wants you to stay close, talking to Him and asking Him for help ALL DAY LONG.
Jesus longs to be a part of your day.
Let’s look at my example from when my children were little. Instead of getting angry, frustrated and blowing it after my quiet time when the kids were fussing, the spills were happening, and the dog was ruining my carpet, Jesus’s heart longed for me to cry out to Him and say “Jesus help me!” He wanted me to come to Him instead of losing it and forgetting to be kind. He wanted me to speak the Word of God out loud and say something like, “Love is patient and kind.” 1 Corinthians 13:4.
It can be challenging to be an intentional mom who does what she can to be kind, rely on Christ, and redeem your day if things go awry. We all fall sometimes and lose it, and we will never be perfect.
Remember the infamous words of “Dory, the fish, in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!” Just keep trying to do better each day and rely on Jesus for help. Keep practicing what you are learning in God’s Word each day.
As my husband, Randy, always says, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” You’re still going to fall, but you will be falling forward a few steps each time, instead of falling backward and getting worse. Try to get a little better each day!
3. Questions to ponder: Write the answers to these questions in your journal.
-Is there something that is continually ruining your mood and messing with your day?
-Try to focus on at least one thing that is the culprit and every day for a week submit that to God. Write out a prayer committing this culprit to Jesus.
-Remember to “… take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5.
He is in control and will lessen those struggles and burdens, and He wants us to trust Him completely and submit our problems to Him.”
4. Kindness Faith-Filled #1-
I asked one of our Help Club team members, Rachel Jones, what she does in her home when things start to go haywire during her day with her three girls. She said some great things that I think all of us should put into practice:
1. “Any day spent in the Word of God will start my day off right. I have a better mindset and can focus on being like Jesus to my girls. If I feel myself start to lose it, I simply whisper a prayer and ask Jesus to help me to be slow to anger, and not let the little things ruin my day.”
2.“If my day starts out as a struggle and things go wrong, I do what I can to recover the day. Even if my morning is bad, there are still many hours left in the day that God can redeem. I simply change the mood by getting out of the house and finding a change of scenery. We will go to a park, a friends house, or simply take a walk together. Whatever we do, the main goal is to keep trying to have a good day, and stay positive, trusting God to be my helper.
3. “I try to remember how blessed I am that I get to be a mom. I only have one life to live, and one shot at being a godly Mom. God helps us to accomplish this when we rely on Him to help us every day of our lives, one moment at a time, one prayer at a time.”
4. “Lastly, I want to redeem my day so I can be a joyful wife for my husband when he comes home. I am not only a mom, I am also a wife and want to make the most of every day with my husband.”
Kindness – Day Two
by Deb Weakly
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”~ Mother Teresa
1. Grab your Bible, your journal, pen, a candle and go to the place where you meet with your Jesus. Pray specifically for one of your children who may be struggling right now. Ask the Lord to show you during your quiet time how you can encourage that child. Make time to talk to your child and focus on their heart. Speak words of life to them and show them love in a way they feel loved. Be sure to tell them that God loves them, sees their heart, and is there for them, and you are as well.
2. Read Colossians 3:20-21, Proverbs 19:11, and Proverbs 20:3. Ask God to speak to you about how to parent in the power of the Holy Spirit with kindness. Write Proverbs 19:11, andProverbs 20:3 in your journal, and record them on you phone or write them on a sticky note and put them where you can keep them in front of you.
The Place of Kindness in Child Discipline
In preparation for this Bible study, I looked briefly on the internet for some advice on child discipline. I was, once again, reminded why I don’t like to go the internet for any type of meaningful advice. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is some “expert” willing to give you their take on what’s wrong with your child and how to fix it. They offer what seems like a perfect formula for fixing everything that is going wrong in your home.
While I do believe that there are some wonderful places and people to turn to on the internet for help in parenting, my belief is that there is One person who you need to come to the most. This One person knows you and your situation better than anyone else does.
This One person is Jesus. And remember, He is also the Word, who speaks to you about every area of your life.
He formed you and your children in the womb and has much to say to you about your parenting, and how to discipline your children.
So much of the “wisdom” from the experts, even Christian experts, only takes into consideration rules and regulations. They seem to fix themselves on the verses in the Bible that emphasize disciplining your children, which, if you will notice, are in a limited amount in scripture.
Even as parents we can also find ourselves camping out on verses such as Proverbs 19:18which says, “Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.” I completely agree with this verse, and we definitely disciplined our children when they needed it, but what I feel is neglected from the Christian experts and even our Christian parenting in general, is looking at the whole corpus of scripture.
There are many other verses that we can apply to our child discipline as well such as:
“Love is patient and kind,” (1 Corinthians 13:4)
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children so that they will not lose heart.” (Colossians 3:21)
“A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:32)
I believe that we as parents need to have a balanced approach which we see in scripture between discipline and love; law and grace. We should be in prayer as we go through our day, all day long, asking Jesus for wisdom for each specific situation that we find ourselves and our children in.
Does Jesus want you to overlook the offense because the child is exhausted or hungry? Is Jesus trying to teach you to be more patient and give grace?
Is Jesus trying to teach you how to love that particular child who seems to be into trouble more than any of your other children?
Do you need to choose not to make everything a battle and simply offer your child a diversion? If they are doing something they shouldn’t, you could simply divert their attention to what is the right thing for them to do/choose. You can say, “No, not this, but instead this.” That way you won’t always find yourself in a battle of wills with your child.
Some things are simply not worth quarreling or making a big deal about. This is another area where it is helpful to pray for wisdom in the morning, and then keep asking for wisdom all throughout your day, as each situation arises.
Only Jesus knows for sure what each of your children needs. But I do know that Jesus wants us as moms to be kind even when we are having issues with our children.
Go to Jesus and ask Him to show you your child’s heart and what’s really going on. Ask Him for the wisdom to know what your child needs, and the grace and patience to be a kind mom, even when they deserve for you to be harsh.
May we all ask the Lord to help us to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who is kind and has “…the teaching of kindness on her tongue.” verse 26.
3. Questions to ponder: Pray before you answer. Write the answers to these questions in your journal.
-Are there any areas of my parenting where I am being harsh with my child/children?
-What can I do to show kindness to my child/children who are always into trouble?
-Instead of having to discipline for every offense, are there any diversions that I can offer? Pray and ask God to show you if this is the case and how you should do it. Write them in your journal and pray for God to help you to manage these types of situations without being angry or unkind
4. Kindness Faith-Filled Ideas #2:
– Instead of always having negative consequences, try some type of positive reinforcement. When my (Deb’s) children were going through a season of arguing with each other, I put out 2 jelly-type jars on the counter and put 10 dollar’s worth of quarters in one of them. Whenever I noticed them trying to get along and be kind to each other, I would put a quarter in the empty jar and say “I caught you being good!” Then, when they would squabble, or be unkind, I would take one out and say “Oops, I noticed you being unkind!” As soon as they earned the 10 dollars we would go out for ice cream or something they liked to do. This worked very well to establish new habits with my children and was a fun way to learn to be kind!
Kindness – Day Three
by Leslie Leonard
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” ~ Mother Teresa
1. It’s time to meet with your beautiful Savior who loves you more than you could ever know or comprehend this side of heaven! He is the One who…” tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11. Take a moment to give Him all of your concerns about your children, thank Him for gently leading you with your little ones.
Jesus and Ruth: Kindness in Action
What does the Bible say about kindness? I have two personal favorites which I feel illustrates the concept of kindness beautifully:
The first and the best example is always Jesus. I love how He lived what He taught. John 13:14-15 is a wonderful example of Jesus’s heart of kindness.
“I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet. So you also should wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example. You should do as I have done for you.”
In this passage, Jesus showed His love to His disciples by washing each of their dirty, dusty feet. All 12 men, which adds up to exactly 120 toes!
This includes Peter and Judas. Jesus knew the end of the story. He knew Peter would deny him, and that Judas would betray him for a few pieces of silver.
Jesus still chose to perform an intimate act of kindness for these two men. He lovingly put their needs above his own by washing their very dirty feet.
We are called to be kind to one another in this exact way. Jesus wants us to do for others as he has done. He calls us to put the needs of others first. We are to be loving, compassionate, gentle, sacrificing and friendly, and not just for those who are kind to us. We are even called to love our enemies and pray for them. Matthew 5:44. This includes the people in your life who criticize you, gossip about you, and are generally unkind. We don’t have to be best friends with them, but we are called to love them and pray for them.
Another inspiring example of kindness is Ruth. If you have time, read the entire book. It’s short. Ruth was a widow who moves to a foreign land to live among her Mother-in-Law’s people. Time after time Ruth chooses to listen to Naomi, treating her with kindness and respect while providing food by gleaning in the fields after the workers had finished harvesting.
Since Ruth was a widow, she could have chosen bitterness and sadness. Instead, she worked hard in the fields and gained a reputation among the locals of one who was kind. Because Ruth chose to be kind to Naomi, Boaz chose to be kind to Ruth. Ruth was blessed with a Kinsman Redeemer, and a husband to love and provide for her. Ruth 3:10 gives us insight on Ruth’s reputation of kindness.
“And he (Boaz) said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.” Let’s all look to Ruth at how to rise above our circumstances and choose kindness first.
When it comes to raising my own two daughters, I want to raise women who love God and out of that love is a river of kindness that exudes from their being. It’s a tall order. I know. I feel like I fail every day.
I struggle with being kind in the thick of parenting. When the sixth huge mess has been made that day, or when Astrid pulls Ruby’s hair. Again. I know that my actions in these key moments are crucial but let’s face it, sometimes I snap. I yell at my girls. I am not kind. I pray and seek guidance every single day.
There are some days it feels like a constant prayer, but let me tell you something, I am kinder than I was a year ago. Choosing to walk with Jesus during my struggles have given me ample opportunity to become a nicer mom. I am grateful I am trusting God right now.
It comes down to making a choice. Will we choose to treat people like Jesus? Will we have a reputation of kindness like Ruth? I know the choice to be kind is sometimes not the easiest or the most effective but the impact you will make on those around you is worth it.
3. Questions to Ponder: Write the answers to these questions in your journal.
-Pray and ask God to help you to love and forgive the people in your life who have hurt you. Then pray this prayer aloud:
Lord Jesus, I choose to forgive (name the person) for (What he or she did or failed to do)because it made me feel (share the painful feelings; i.e. rejected, dirty, worthless, inferior, etc.). (From the Steps to Freedom in Christ by Neil Anderson)
4. Kindness Faith-Filled Idea 3:
-Perform 1 Random Act of Kindness (RAOK) this week. Buy a stranger coffee. Write a note to your pastor. Take a meal to a sick or elderly neighbor. Help your child ask a new friend over to play. Get your kids involved in your action. Kindness begets kindness. When we show kindness, it allows the power of God to shine in people’s lives. Be a great example for your little people.