James 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
“Oh! that gentleness! How far more potent is it than force!”
― Charlotte Brontë,Jane Eyre
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
As women of God, we desire to make right use of the knowledge we have and exercise sound judgment. This is walking in wisdom. James tells us that part of walking in wisdom is being GENTLE or CONSIDERATE.
Gentle wisdom compels us to use forbearance with each other, including our children. Philippians 4:5 says “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near”. When outward circumstances are less than satisfactory or our children push the boundaries, tension ensues. Instead of insisting on our rights or parental requirements, it is usually more productive to temper justice with mercy. Displaying the emotional discipline of composure through gentleness gains ground more rapidly than intensity.
Wisdom is reflected in how we behave. Whether it is as a mother choosing to respond with a soft answer and train in times of non-conflict or as a mentor to another mom, giving careful consideration to the advice that is offered; we have many opportunities each day to practice this aspect of wisdom.
What does it take to display a gentle spirit? For me it means not being overly busy. When I am in a hurry or feeling behind I tend to be harsh and curt rather than soft and calm. Sometimes it means letting go of “having to be right”. There are times when it is necessary to push the point, but more often than not I can back off. Perhaps displaying a gentle spirit can be accomplished by giving yourself more time to respond. Choosing to be given to sober reflection requires time. That may look like sending a child to their room to sit (and perhaps removing yourself as well) or taking time to pray over that e-mail before responding.
Just as with each of these aspects of wisdom, gentleness comes from above. It is given by God and can be cultivated in our life by spending time in His presence and in His Word.
Most Commonly Asked Questions of Contact Moms
Q. (Younger Children) – My children fight constantly! Help!
A. There are many questions to ask in response to this question: Age – are you expecting young children to play unsupervised for too long? With children between the ages of 2 to 5 they should not be playing together unsupervised for very long. For elementary age – selfishness often becomes the culprit (James 4:1) – who is the child thinking of? When going through RFR, be sure to work on the root cause and not the surface. For example: “Forgive me for yelling at you” is the surface; “forgive me for my prideful attitude of having to be right” is the root. At any age and in most situations, each child will need some instruction. Wisdom would have both spend time ‘reflecting’ on their own before receiving further guidance. As mom’s we also need to remember to train to the virtue. What Godly character traits need to be instilled and then work on them in times of non-conflict. One last reminder: just because a child can speak does not mean he/she may have the freedom to speak.
Q. (Older Children) – My teen doesn’t want to have anything to do with his siblings.
A. First of all for those of you reading this with younger kids – start working on this now! This question is really about relationship and relationships are built over time, they don’t just surface with age. As you ‘begin as you mean to go’ both teach and demonstrate to your children how to work on their relationship with each of their siblings. For those with older children – appeal to what has already been placed in their heart. Help them to accept and willing to embrace the mentorship role they have by being an older sibling. Are they aware of how much influence they have and the importance of their role and that influence? Often times, time rather than desire is the hindrance. As a family, brainstorm ways that siblings can spend time together that don’t necessarily require big blocks of time.
Sometimes by giving into our teen’s request for more of their “own space” we were actually feeding the ‘me monster’ and found that until they could be flexible with those occasional sibling interruptions and demonstrate love, kindness and patience to the one who interrupted, they did not have the freedom to have their own space. Of course, this runs contrary to the voice of our society that says “give them their space, allow them their independence, they need to grow into their own person” and while we can agree with these things, it appears that we may begin to give those freedoms to our teens before they have proven themselves relationally. It can be a goal to have their own space, but it is not a right, rather a privilege to be earned.
This presentation is a panel discussion with four Moms with children ranging from 2 years – teens. They give practical tips from their own experience on establishing good relationships between siblings and field questions from the other Moms present. To order click here
Gentle – easy and graceful in manners or behavior; mild, meek, soft, not rough, harsh or severe.
Considerate (NIV) – given to thinking carefully or to sober reflection, thoughtful, not hasty or rash.
Ephesians 4:2 – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
I Peter 3:4 – Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
PRACTICAL STEPS TO GENTLENESS:
In my life, one of the most important steps toward gentleness occurred through a simple prayer: “Holy Spirit please put a watch over my mouth.” What followed was amazing. I was able to hear and see the results of my words before they even left my mouth, and that became a powerful check for me. Growing up the one in our home who shouted the loudest-and the longest-was the one who received the opportunity to make their point. However, as a very young believer I quickly learned that Jesus wanted me to respond differently, with gentleness.
As a result, here are a few things I have learned along the way: Respond to a situation by first praying, “Lord how can I respond to this situation, and then what scripture would you have me use” it is hard to yell, or be snarky when sharing a pertinent scripture. Second, study the women you see responding to life with gentleness, whether she is someone you rub shoulders with or a woman whose writings inspire you to live life better, allow them to mentor you in gentleness. Elizabeth Elliott, and Edith Schaeffer were a couple of those women to me, but there are many out there. Third, step up close to the person you are talking to and if possible touch them gently while speaking to them, again, it is hard to speak harshly while intentionally stooping down or stepping into their space. Lastly I have learned that it is not usually the first words that go flashing through my mind that are the words that will be life producing, in fact I have found those words to be most damaging, so give yourself time to reflect, recount and then respond. There are even times when my best response to my husband is, “Hon, right now even the “fool appears wise when she remains silent.”(Prov. 17:28)
Meet the Board:
Karen Kurtz, Secretary
HISTORY with CFH: While attending GFI conferences in the 1990’s I became aware of a network of moms known as Contact Moms. It spoke to my heart that there were experienced moms ready, willing, able and equipped to provide counsel and support to other moms in training their babies and raising their children. Since GFI ministries meant so much to me personally, God moved my heart to reciprocate and to share the benefits of parenting by biblical principle, so I took steps to become a Contact Mom in 2002. It is truly a blessing to provide support and reassurance to another mom who is coming behind or walking beside you. In 2006 I was asked to join the CFH Board as a CM Coordinator At-Large, which meant I would oversee CM’s within the U.S. where there was no CM Coordinator in close proximity. Presently I serve as Secretary of the Board which encompasses keeping the minutes at the meetings and any other needed correspondence. I also administer the CFH Babywise and Beyond Facebook page which involves posting fun, encouraging or relevant posts, making sure questions and messages are answered in a timely manner, plus keeping a general watch over the activity on the page.
Family: Married to Don for 30 years; Four blessings include Mollie, 25; Titus, 23 (engaged to be married to Hanna in April); daughter Kassidy, 19; and Raegan, 15
Occupation: I’ve had the privilege of being a full-time keeper of our home, while operating several home-based businesses and homeschooling all four of our children. Don also has a home office for his job working with farmers in Dairy Nutrition.
Hometown / Where I Live Now: We make our home in the Northeast corner of Ohio.
Things I Enjoy: Spending time with my family and making memories brings me much joy. As we are now in the season of ‘letting go’, we’ve had to adapt the time we usually had around the dinner table in the evenings with is being affectionately called FFB or Friday Family Breakfast and I look forward to it each week. On a personal level, I enjoy my daily workout, bike riding, eating out :), shopping, decorating, coffee dates and some travel. Also, I like to read and spend time browsing Pinterest while watching a movie. We have a sweet little Yorkie named Paxi, who has become a Certified Therapy dog. She & I enjoy visiting the local hospitals, schools, and libraries to bring a few moments of love and encouragement to others. Oh, and I dearly love to laugh!!