Recently, I received this note and question from a homeschooling mom. I asked her if it would be okay for me to answer it with this month’s Mom’s Corner, and she agreed.
I started to read the book Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri, and I was wondering this. How do I have a quiet spirit when it seems that my blood is boiling from every little thing? I cry out to God. But I still feel that anxiety. I am really confused about this. Should I just force myself to be soft spoken and cry on the inside? How do I keep from exploding? I just feel like the warden. I was wondering if anyone else might suffer from this. It seems God just did not bless me with these qualities. I have always been loud and outspoken.
A homeschooling mom
I expect almost every one of us can relate to what this mom is saying, and perhaps each of us has also experienced her feelings. I remember hearing the Christian writer and speaker Elisabeth Elliot say something to the effect that she regularly asked the women in her audience if anyone was born with a meek and quiet spirit. She never had a hand go up. That tells me that God has not created women to be naturally meek and quiet. However, He does tell us in His Word that wives are to have a “meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4).
Even though many of us, if not all, struggle because we aren’t gifted with meek and quiet spirits, this doesn’t mean this lack is something we accept and feel doomed to live with throughout our lives. God knew exactly what He was doing when He made each one of us, and yet He also gave us direction in His Word about how to deal with this. I would encourage this mom in several things, while reminding myself of them as well.
Make the desire for a meek and quiet spirit the focus of your time with the Lord each day and of your prayer for yourself. Search the Word, as you read it each day, for verses that help you toward a meek and quiet spirit. Look for ones that give you direction on what you should be doing and what you should not be doing. Here is an example.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). If I were to read this verse in my daily time with the Lord while my life was desperately lacking in being meek and quiet, I would copy this verse out and memorize it. It gives me information on how to have a meek and quiet spirit. I am always to rejoice in the Lord. It is extremely difficult to be angry with the children while rejoicing in the Lord. When I found myself in a stressful situation, I would repeat this verse to myself.
I wrote a four-part Mom’s Corner series on anger. You might find some helpful information in them. There is much in this series that relates to anger and how to overcome it. I would also suggest that you finish reading Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, which you said you had begun.
Be sure to check your heart and relationship with your children. Scripture says, “He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children . . .” (Psalms 113:9). “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children” (Titus 2:4). That is our hearts’ desire—to be joyful, loving mothers of children. However, if we feel like a warden with our children, then something is wrong. It is likely our focus has become ourselves and the personal difficulties and inconveniences of raising children, including disciplining them. This is true if we are continually experiencing anger toward our children.
To be joyful, loving mothers of children, our focus should be on the good of our children—their spiritual and personal growth. If we must stop what we are doing to correct a child, we will feel angry when we are thinking about ourselves and our need to accomplish a particular task. On the other hand, if the interruption causes me to thank God for the opportunity He has given me to bring this child up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), then I can receive that interruption joyfully and lovingly.
Can you see how the way I think about a situation determines my response to it? When I am thinking of my time investment with my children as a part of bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), then I see my role in a joyful, loving, positive light. I can accept the difficulties because my eyes are on the future outcome for my child’s spiritual benefit rather than the immediate difficulty for me. When my thoughts are on my hardships and myself, then every struggle is cast in a negative light and becomes a burden driving me to anger.
The word “quiet” in meek and quiet doesn’t refer to volume, as in loud versus soft. Rather, it is a heart attitude of quietness. It is a picture of resting in the Lord, not being anxious. Even though the word doesn’t have to do with the volume of our voices, in a home, loudness associated with anger isn’t healthy. So I would encourage you that, yes, it would be good to make yourself respond to the children in a very quiet voice. Scripture attests to this: “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). This doesn’t imply to me a loud voice. In dealing with the anger, I also strongly recommend Dr. S. M. Davis’ teaching audio, Freedom from the Spirit of Anger.
I don’t think the Lord wants us crying on the inside except to be calling out to Him. He is the One Who comforts us. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). He is the One Who answers our prayers. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). He is the One Who pours out grace into our lives and the lives of our families. “. . . My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
In our roles as mothers, we want to love, bless, and encourage our children. We would like them to live with mommies who are joyful and loving. A meek and quiet spirit leads us toward these goals, while anger destroys the relationships that are so dear to our hearts. Even though meek and quiet spirits don’t come naturally to women, the Lord has shown us that this type of heart and thinking leads to peace, contentment, and blessing. No matter how lacking we have been in our lives regarding a meek and quiet spirit, I think Paul sums up our hope and our direction. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).