He slithered across my porch to wrap his four-foot-long self under my grand baby's rocking chair. Yes, I had tolerated this unwanted guest as he kept to the backfield. Yes, he was a harmless black snake. But no way was this Mimi going to allow any creepy crawly critter near my grand baby's chair on my sacred porch.
So, how does a five-foot blond hair Mimi rid her once inviting porch of an uninvited four-foot snake? I should note that Mr. Husband was not on board with my desire to exterminate the reptile since black snakes are good for the environment. Yes, this "friendly" snake might rid my yard of other snakes, but no, I was not going to allow him to stay - with or without the help of my six-foot man.
(Pic from Canva)
Therefore, with a suggestion from long-time residents of my country neighborhood, I armed the outer perimeter of our home with mothballs. Literally! I poured the entire box of moth balls every two to four inches around the outside wall of our house. I was intentional with the placement of each white ball. This big guy was going down, and I was pretty proud of my war plan.
Until I realized the prominent stench the mothballs would permeate not only outside of the house but also inside. The smell was intense and lingered for days. Moreover, it was repulsive to the guests who came to visit me.
The pungent stench within my walls has reminded me of a powerful stench that can linger around a person's attitude or harsh words. Hurtful comments can spray out of one's mouth and remain in the air for days, perhaps even years. This stink is more than my mere mothballs.
Confession: When I was a young mom, I was a screamer behind closed doors. Loud harsh and negative words poured out of my mouth. I felt my children did not obey me unless the volume of my voice was intense and full of threats. My home had a stench. I had a repulsive smell. It lingered in the air between my family and me. It was harmful and ugly.
However, in the goodness of my Lord, He used the book of James to change everything.
James 1:19-21 reads, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." From this passage, conviction (in a good way) flooded my soul and I knew I needed forgiveness. A change had to occur in my words and heart because my harshness and negativity were repulsive.
Why would my children want my God when my attitude and words turned them off? James 1:26 continues with, " Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless."
This verse means that being a Christ-follower is not appearing to be religious. It is so much more. It is living full of His goodness that even if my children pushed my buttons, I would respond with gentleness and control. Why? I am an example of Christ to my children in public but even more powerfully in private. I realized that is not the volume of my voice that creates change within my children. However, a loving and consistent training would mark them with a long-term positive outcome. A gentle and lowly guidance is much more effective. I began to teach them life lessons that are Christ-like. I wanted them to see Christ in my life and want Him in theirs. I longed for my family to enjoy my Jesus. His words changed me and I changed my words from that day forward. I have not lived it out perfectly. However, I am testifying that Christ changed me drastically. The aroma in my home is now peaceful and pleasant.
Friend, can I ask you what kind of scent are you? Are your words repulsive? Are you harsh? Does your family get the best part of you?
From one sister to another, I want to say, don't be a mothball. They are horrid. Be a sweet-smelling aroma. You can control your words through the power of the Holy Spirit. You will be frustrated at times. You might be exhausted most days. However, as you are quick to listen and slow to speak, you and I can speak with grace and the aroma in our lives and our homes will be sweet smelling reflections of our good God.