By: Sarah Oates-Walker
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
My husband is a pastor and I have heard him say several times,“You can always tell how much time someone is spending with Jesus, you just have to look at the fruit in their life!” Are they increasingly loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and showing self-control? Are these qualities present in their lives, not just on their good days, but are they existent during hard times or conflict?
Some days I take a step back and think, “I am doing pretty good with my “fruit” these days!” But the real test is when I am at home with my children. Having kids helps you take a second look at your fruits of the Spirit! They can help you by being a daily reminder in what areas you are lacking. When there is constant fighting, never-ending whining, sleepless nights and a variety of endless demands, it can be so easy to become irritated and quickly lose some of those much-needed fruits.
I had felt like God was placing this topic on my heart this week. As I sat down to write, my two little ones climbed into my chair and began with a never-ending series of requests:
“Mommy, play with me!
Mommy, I’m cold!
Mommy, I dropped my toy!
Mommy, I’m hungry again!
Mommy, I more to drink!
Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY………….!!!!!”
Sadly, it did not take long for me to use my stern “mom voice” and say, “Knock it off! I have told you several times already, and I WILL NOT TELL YOU AGAIN! I will help you and play with you in just a few minutes!” This caused my three-year-old to burst into tears. How convenient that, just as I began to write on this topic, I was instantly reminded this morning that I am sometimes lacking in patience, kindness and gentleness! Yikes!
We are not always at our best, especially with those we are most comfortable with – the people we love the most. They see us at our worst and at our best. It is in those moments that I realize how much I need Jesus in my life and that I cannot make it without him!
My children are watching me every day and taking note of my behaviour. They often imitate me perfectly, through their actions, words and tone of voice! Sometimes, it is cute to watch – other times, it is shockingly revealing.
It is my prayer and my hope that more and more they will see me at my best, shining with God’s love and grace. Overflowing with the fruits of the Spirit. Inspiring them to live their own Jesus-centered life.