The Fruit of the Spirit...
Here's the Scripture:
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control.
Raising a child - a Godly child - can be so very frustrating and challenging and humbling. I see in my son my own failings, my own lack of the perfection, my own falling short of the glory of God.
The temptation can be enormous to try to force those 'sins' out of him. Not only do I long for his eternal salvation, but it can be hard to live with at times!
I do believe my child is my brother in Christ, and I do believe the Spirit is upon him. He is not yet of an age, though, where he comprehends or is responsible for the things of God.
And so, I remind myself of this passage of Scripture.
And, as always, I compare this Scripture to my experiences as a Christian, as a child, as a reader of all the Christian parenting manuals and how-to-dos and devotionals.
And I think.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Love.
How do I allow the Spirit to manifest love through me, to my son?
Of course, when I hold him and cuddle him and kiss him and tell him that he is the sweetest, most precious gift from God.
But I need to manifest this fruit when he's at his most unloveable, as well. When he is tired, cranky, over-stimulated, over-whelmed, and desperate - do I show the self-sacrificing love that the Spirit should produce in my life?
The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy.
Does the Spirit work joy in my life toward my son?
When he's showing off a new skill, or sweetly smiling up at me, or whispering a soft 'I wuv you mama', my heart swells with joy.
But I need to allow the Spirit to produce joy in my life when he is crying, and scared, and clingy. When he temporarily shows himself to be less than the perfect boy I usually think he is, do I still show Joy in being his mama?
The Fruit of the Spirit is Peace.
Am I at Peace around him in our day to day life?
When he's softly sleeping, murmuring quietly about his day, it's easy to look down at him and feel peace.
But I need to remember that peace, cling to that peace, and practice that peace when he is bouncing off the walls, singing a made up song at the top of his little lungs, and running wildly from one end of the house to the other.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Patience.
Patience - that's a big one!
I wait patiently as he picks every flower in our yard to bring them to me one at a time - during dandelion season, even!
But after the 45th rendition of 'MY DO IT, MAMA!" I know it's time to allow that particular Fruit of the Spirit an extra row or two in my heart.
The Fruit of the Spirit is Kindness.
Kindness is not a word I use much. It's a character trait that is much under-valued in our society. But each time I smile when I feel like frowning, each time I hold my son and say "you sound so upset! tell mama about it", I'm allowing Kindness to grow.
To be continued...my son needs me now.