eye to eye

at last at last its the month of spring's arrival.  we finished february up in style with souper bowl II, which christine blogged about here.  it was enough to warm our insides and propel us into the month of march with soup in our bellies and hope in our hearts that the warm weather and sunshine are coming soon.  i took eden with me to this lovely night of ladies and soup and mulled wine and bake brie with pastry and fruit.  i love this photo, captured by christine, because i feel like it sums up my entire life right now: getting on eye level with eden and explaining.  explaining what a word means, explaining why she must be kind, explaining why self control is necessary.  words words words, so many words. 

in this picture i am telling her that she must be patient.  im fully aware that God alone can actually develop this fruit of his spirit in her heart.  but i want to model it for her and help her recognize what it looks like.  its incredible to me how much benefit there is to helping her learn patience and self control.  when her spirit is restless and the outpouring of her darling little heart is angry or unkind or rough, i love to hold her close, with her back to my chest, wrap my arms and hers around her little body and show her, 'eden this is self control'.  a dear friend of mine, a mother to be reckoned with, the lovely redish head across the table, has taught me many many strategies for helping little hearts, and this might be a favorite of mine.  because it actually shows her what it physically feels like to have self control.  it feels like wrapping your arms across your chest, taking a breath, and holding yourself together. and it works wonders for her.  when i ask her to show me self control, she crosses her arms, somewhat reminiscent of mc hammer, and mumbles what must be 'self control' in her words.  when i hold her, i feel her tense little frame relax as she takes a deep breath in and nods in compliance as i ask her to have self control.  and it simultaneously helps me remember myself well.  

'i know she is disobeying you for the hundredth time today but, pause, self control and a well thought out and measured response'     

'i know you want to scream in frustration but, pause, self control and a bitten tongue'.  

'yes, she is on the very last nerve that you own in the world but, pause, self control and show her what it looks like.'

i frequently do this with her immediately after she has done something, but before i correct her for it, so that i ensure that she knows im not acting out of anger, and so that i don't act out of anger.

and as im holding her, teaching her, teaching myself, i am so aware of how the spirit does produce this fruit. and what sweet fruit it is.

oh that we may both bear more and more of it. 


  1. I know this post is ancient, but I have it bookmarked. I reread it often. I return as a reminder in black-and-white why it is important for me to not only request self-control of my son, but model it myself. When I feel tired and unnerved and spent, self control. When I need to remember why I need it, this post is a helpful signpost to point me back in the right way. I'm so thankful for your wisdom, passed on and passed down, that makes our village stronger and healthier and lovelier day by day.


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