Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Mother (as in maternal parent) (04/24/08)
TITLE: Chili Pepper Words
By Joanney Uthe
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My timid daughter come back into the room to pick up the offending backpack, replacing it with a toy as she gathered up her books. “Amanda Joy, don’t you leave that toy there.” Blaming her for my headache getting worse, I stormed over to her and stared her in the eye. Her tears stopped my anger. I handed her the toy with a weak “I’m sorry.”
Without an answer, she took her backpack and toy and slammed her bedroom door. I started to follow, but realized that what my mother had done. Instead, I checked on dinner, took some ibuprofen, and I went to my own room. My eyes landed on a small book on my dresser, a gift from a friend the day before. Picking it up, I wondered if this collection of “encouraging Bible verses for all situations” would have anything about yelling at my kid. I doubted it.
I’ve tried so many times to not yell at Amanda. Obviously I’ve failed every time. My friend Shelly, who gave me this book, seems to think God is real. Maybe He can help me. Once as a child I attended church and remember people praying as if God were in the room.
If You’re real, and You can hear me,God, I don’t want to yell at Amanda anymore. I don’t deserve Your help, but Amanda doesn’t deserve to be yelled at all the time either. If You’ll help me, show me a verse that applies. One that I need to apply.”
I honestly didn’t have faith that God would hear me until I opened the little book of verses and read Colossians 4:6. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Words full of grace sounded so beautiful, unlike what I shout at Amanda everyday. Instead of seasoning them with salt, I tend to use chili pepper.
Okay, God. Show me what this verse means. How do I make my words full of grace? When I need Amanda to do something, how do I season my words with salt instead of chili pepper? I can’t do this. You have to do it in me. One of the verses I read said if I confess my sins, You will forgive me.* I’m sorry for hurting Amanda by yelling at her. Help me to stop.
The timer for the oven interrupted my prayer. Amanda said good-night right after our speechless dinner. I called Shelly, cried my heart out over the phone, and agreed to join her for church on Sunday.
Shelly was waiting outside the main entrance when we arrived Sunday morning. Her daughter welcomed Amanda, excited to show her to their classroom. Amanda reluctantly followed.
“How many times did you yell at Amanda since we talked Tuesday night?” Shelly’s direct words expressed concern instead of the judgement I expected. Perhaps that’s why I felt so drawn to her.
“I started to a couple of times, but lost my voice every time. When I went to her and asked her in a normal voice, I could talk just fine.” I still did not understand how that happened.
“I prayed all week that exact thing would happen. Isn’t God good?” My friend did not seem the least bit shocked at what I considered a miracle.
Happy Mother’s Day, to my best friend.
I’m writing this in Youth Group.
I don’t know what happened the night five years ago when you went to your room after yelling at me. I decided that night that I couldn’t take it anymore, that I would run away the next time you yelled. I was only 11 at the time, but a friend and I made an escape plan. You never yelled at me again.
That week you decided to start going to church. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that decision. I understand now that probably has everything to do with the change in you since that night. God has done a wonderful thing in both of us.
What would you think if I became a peer mentor here at church? Many of these kids are in pain from family issues like we had.
I love you,
*1 John 1:9
All verses NIV
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