"Your gentleness made me great." ~ Psalm 18:35b

There are few things I wouldn't do for my kids. I get up early, make plans, make meals, clean up, teach, do laundry, settle squabbles, drive across three counties and *states regularly, and facilitate a myriad of activities.

I want greatness for my kids. Not in the sense of superiority, but in the sense of the best they can be. And I know the best takes time. A lot. And sacrifice. Even more.

But gentleness?

In the craziness, gentleness is hardly my frame of mind. At worst, I tend toward loud and harsh. At best, toward controlled and tense. 

While making a hurried dinner last night between runs, I opened the microwave and saw my reflection. 

It wasn't pretty. Or gentle.

Eyebrows furrowed, face twisted up in a way that made me look . . old. And I wasn't especially mad. Just busy and rushing. Is that what my kids see most of the time? Probably. Ouch. 

Igentleness is what makes greatness, I need help.

I'm tempted to be discouraged. How could I love so much, even be willing to sacrifice so much, yet go around looking like the Grinch so much of the time?

But here's my hope. The book of Ephesians says that gentleness is a "fruit of the spirit." It's the result of living from a source that is deeper than myself. Living in the grace and love of God.

"But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard - things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart (gentleness), and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely."
~ Galatians 5:22-23, The Message paraphrase

Affection, exuberance, compassion. Gentleness. I want this fruit. If His gentleness accounts for any greatness in me, then I will put my trust in Him and His ability to produce this fruit in my life. 

For the sake of my kids and His greatness.

*Confession: I do live at the border where three states converge, but it's still a lot of driving. Just sayin'.

We celebrated the greatest virtue with the traditional greatest taste yesterday.  

A sugar feast.

Courtesy of loving big sister, Emy.

Courtesy of Daddy. 

You can already see the sugar coma coming on in Sam's eyes . . ahh, Valentine's Day.