Monday, 24 January 2011


In attempt to curb some of the unruly and downright selfish behaviour, we have been looking at the fruit of the spirit with our boys. I will not go into enormous detail here for those who are unfamiliar, but the bible passage is:

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5 v 22 - 23

These are things that we can only grow in if we are filled with the Holy Spirit and he is running through us like sap through a tree; nourishing us and growing us. We have explained to our boys that they cannot do these things on their own, but when filled with the Spirit, he will give them power and strength.

So.... we made a tree. We stuck it to the wall. We printed out lots of different fruits, wrote bible verses on the back and stuck them to the tree. Each morning, we pick a fruit and I read out the verse. They have to guess the 'fruit' that it relates to and we have a small discussion on how we can apply it and grow in it. Then, of course, we pray.

This morning's mystery fruit was rather appropriate after a weekend full of fighting, punching, kicking and tale telling...... gentleness. It struck me that often gentleness is thought of as a weakness, particularly for men, and is portrayed as a more 'girly' trait. Is it ok for boys and men to be gentle, or does that make them wimps? Don't men have to be tough and stand up for themselves? I often hear mums who have more gentle or quiet boys wishing that their boys would be tougher or rougher.

The conclusion that we came to was that to be gentle, you need to be strong. When a little brother is screaming in your face and you want to hit him, it takes more strength to talk gently to him than it does to sneak in a punch when nobody is looking. Strength, although not confined to the male population, is however something that is celebrated in men. How many men would realise that when they are being gentle towards other they are being strong? How often is gentleness celebrated in men?

Food for thought.... Anyway, my boys all thought of something they could do today that would be gentle and of course they prayed that the Holy Spirit would give them strength to be gentle. There is no point in trying to do it all in our own strength for we will fail every time. As I teach these truths to my boys I am seeing again how much we need God to live out our daily lives. And here I go, brewing a whole new blog before I've even finished this one!

Gentleness eh? Is it a possibility for my wild, active, extremely physical boys? Of course.....

Saturday, 1 January 2011


We were sitting around a dinner table with friends, playing that classic game "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and I had to answer the question "The bravest thing I have ever done is.......". Other people, guessing what my answer might be, offered such things as "marrying Jared "(well, that was brave, I don't deny it) or "speaking to the headteacher" (on a par with the first suggestion in bravery terms I feel). Racking my tired brain for an answer, I came up with travelling to Nepal and back on my own. This was a big adventure for me at 20 years old and one that I certainly don't think I could do now.

However, after coming home at the ridiculous hour of 12:30am and clambering into bed, I began to appraise my bravery levels. Had I really not done anything more brave than travel to the other side of the world on my own? Then it hit me.

I have spent the last 9 years being brave. Every day I have stayed at home with my insanity inducing small boys, I have been brave. Each morning I have woken up exhausted to yet another day full of toddler prattle, I have been brave. Each time I was disturbed in the night by a baby, toddler or nightmaring child, I have been brave. Every time I have changed pooey pants, I have been brave. Day and night when I had a baby screaming in my face without ceasing, I was brave.

If I am honest, which of course I always am on here, there have been many many times when I have not wanted to stay here. There have been times when I have wanted to drop the washing up gloves, the nappies and the dirty washing and just walk out. There have been plenty of times when I have been tempted to abandon ship. There have been times when, tearing my hair out with the constant demands and fighting, I have felt like giving up. Sometimes, I have left the house, had a good cry in the car, and come back again.

It takes bravery to be a Mum. Speaking softly instead of shouting, takes bravery. Walking away instead of losing your temper and hurting your child, takes bravery. Staying day in, day out, when everything in you wants to leave, takes bravery.

So, what is the bravest thing I've done in my life? Without any doubt, being a Mum.