Puddles of Mud

One of the most pleasant adjustments that our family has experienced in our new climate and surroundings is the magnificent rain.  It can last for days at a time, just like the Cape winter rains.  It can hit unexpectedly, just like the Bushveld thunder showers.  But whatever the shape or size it comes in, it always leaves behind a crisp feeling in the air, refreshed and brightly rinsed plants and flowers, and puddles of fresh and cool water.

I find it refreshingly challenging to be confronted with (and aware of) situations where my perspective and attitude plays a big part in how our family deals with and relates to various circumstances.  I’ve heard so often that the wife/mother/woman of the house sets the tone for atmosphere around the house.  And in many ways I’ve found that to be very true.  I do believe that everyone plays their part of course and it doesn’t all come down to only mom.  But I have found that so many times I stand in a situation and I have a split second to choose what my attitude will be, and afterwards I realize that it could have gone so wrong, or in some cases so much better, than the way we ended up handling it.

A couple of weeks ago we had the privilege of living in a little wooden cottage in the beautiful Garden Route forests, and one evening when we put our kids to bed we spoke about Philippians 4:8.  The Passion Translation shares it in such a powerful way –

“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.”

It became such an interesting discussion with our 7 year old warrior, about how to bring our thoughts into alignment with this scripture when we are having a tough day, or when we are in a bad mood, or when we feel hurt.  And it’s not much easier for adults than it is for 7 year olds, that’s for sure. The only real honest answer I could present to him in that moment was that it always comes down to a choice.  Will I choose to exalt my bad mood, or hurt emotions, or tough day above the guidance of the Holy Spirit?  Or will I submit my fleeting feelings under the solid foundation that is God’s word?

We are getting plenty of opportunity to put this into practice in our family – in our homeschool classroom, in disciplining our 2 year old,  in our relationships with each other, in our tasks and responsibilities, and on our days in the Transkei (this has been especially good practice for our little warrior and for me).  The Transkei days are mostly either really warm, or quite cold and windy (no inbetween), the church services are long, the space where we meet is crowded (Hallelujah!), and the language barrier is still evident – These are all practical things that come into play in a spiritual calling.  And it sets the stage for a battle between faith and flesh.  Our discussions in these moments of real life often point us back to that night in the wooden cottage.  Back to Paul and the wisdom in his words when he guides us to guard our thought life, to make a decision as to where our thoughts will wander, and where they will stay…

It made me aware of my attitude towards what is happening around me – and the way I guide my family through our days together.  Do I set a tone of joy, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness and grace?  When I am having a tough day, or bad mood, or hurt feelings, do I apply Pauls words and lead by example?  And when we are sitting in the crowded Transkei hut, do I portray Philippians 4:8 even when no one understands a word I say?

May the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts today, and make you aware of your attitude and the things you fix your thoughts on.  May what you experienced before as puddles of mud, prove to become an opportunity for you to cultivate a brand new pocket of beauty

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