Written by: Emily Skaggs
The alarm buzzed and I hit snooze, yet again, because the warmth of my bed was too hard to deny. A few minutes later, I emerged to little boys bounding down the stairs, ready for breakfast and already making plans for the day ahead.
I’m a stay at home mom, and part of my job description is to get our four sweet children fed, clothed, packed up and out the door every morning by 8 a.m. Like most people, there is a lot of activity in our house during the morning, and often times poor attitudes can get in the way. However, if I am to have a chance at starting the day off on the right foot, my saving grace is waking a few minutes before the kids to savor a hot cup of coffee and a few minutes with the Lord before the rush begins.
This particular morning, however, I chose to enjoy my bed over a cup of coffee and Scripture. Yet somehow, I made lunches and breakfast faster than usual and grabbed a few minutes in my favorite chair before we left for school drop-offs. I opened one of my favorite devotionals and quickly read Micah 6:8:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
I sat and meditated on that verse for a few minutes, reading it again and again to myself. I’ve read this verse many times over the years, but this time my heart settled on “love kindness.” The weight of those two words started to convict my heart. Do I love to be kind, or am I just kind because it's the right thing to do?
One of my kids is a mess maker. He is a blissful hurricane wherever he goes, tearing into this or that, dumping things in curiosity, sloshing the milk out of the cup as it slams on the table….you know the type. As I was just about to head out the door, he called me from the bathroom, “Moooooooooom!!!! I made a mess.”
I am a neat freak. I realize this about myself and it makes life with four children, well, challenging most days. However, I love things to be neat and tidy, and “making messes” is at the top of my list of things I hate, if I am being completely honest.
As I trudged into the bathroom, I found a little fella in a vulnerable state with toilet paper strung all over and yet another mess to be cleaned up. My usual frame of mind is exasperation, frustration and giving him all the directives about how NOT to make such a big mess next time. But this time, I took a deep breath and said, “It’s okay, buddy. Now let’s get this cleaned up.”
What happened next stopped me in my tracks. He looked up at me with a wide smile and big blue eyes and said, “Thanks for saying kind words to me mommy.”
Kind words. Love kindness. I wish I could tell you that I went into the bathroom with that verse on my mind, but I didn’t. I went in a bit annoyed, yet through God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, I approached the situation differently because of the seeds of truth He had planted in my heart earlier that morning.
As I walked out the door for the day and in the hours to follow, “love kindness” rolled around in my head and I continued to ask myself, “do I love kindness?” This particular Scripture didn’t say “be kind because it’s the right thing to do.” Rather, the Lord clearly says in Micah 6:8 that I should love kindness. Meaning, I should delight in extending kindness to others!
No doubt the Lord gave me a few extra minutes that morning to read His Word, and then to go and clearly see an example in one of my parenting biggest struggles that I should love kindness.
I should love being kind to my son as I help clean up yet another mess.
I should love being kind to my children at all times, no matter the inconvenience, frustration or disappointment.
I should love being kind to my husband.
I should love being kind to my neighbor.
I should love showing kindness to the world around me, not just doing it for the sake of the golden rule.
Thank you Lord, that your powerful Word is living and active. Thank you for seeing my faults, my shortcomings and my failures, and giving me promises in your Word that I can cling to every day. Thank you Lord that your mercies are new every morning, your faithfulness is great. Thank you that with the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of Jesus Christ, I can LOVE kindness, and show that to a lost world.
Emily Skaggs has been married to Joel Skaggs for 17 years. They have four children Ella (12), Seth (10), Kyle (8) and Jackson(5). They have been members at Crossings Community Church for 6 years.