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2014_05_19 L2L_Kind

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
{1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV, emphasis added}

There is something soft and gentle about kindness that makes it one of the most appealing traits to me. When the days, and often nights, run long and energy is wearing thin, kindness can slip through your fingers very quickly though. It takes energy and focus, requiring us to step out of the autopilot that we tend to slip into when the load gets heavy and be present and active in each moment. It requires us to be attentive and responsive. That is what makes kindness a challenge.

What does it mean to be kind?

[blockquote border_color=”#be92cf”]According to Thayer’s, the Greek word rendered as kind here means “to show one’s self mild, to be kind, use kindness.”[/blockquote] [blockquote border_color=”#be92cf”]Webster’s defines kind as “having or showing a gentle nature and a desire to help others, wanting and liking to do good things and bringing happiness to others, and/or being of a sympathetic or helpful nature.”[/blockquote]

The words that stick out in there for me are “mild”, “gentle nature”, “desire to”, “liking to”, and “helpful”. That means all abrasiveness, all rough dealings, go out the window and there must be an actual desire to be kind. This is not an act done out of obligation or to keep up appearances. It is done because it give you pleasure to behave that way toward another human being. It is done out of the abundance of your heart.

How does our kindness benefit our children?

When we exhibit kindness, consistently and with intention, toward our children it builds a confidence in them that they have a safe place to heal. The home is truly intended to be a haven against the ugliness of the world, especially in these present times. That kindness becomes their fuel. It builds hedges of protection around their hearts and inspires the courage to take on new challenges in life.

It also gives them an example of how to treat others, teaching them mercy and charity along the way. They learn emotional sacrifice through imitating what they see in you. As they grow older and that sacrifice increases, they often come to respect and honor you more as well, strengthening your relationship and pouring blessings about upon them {Exodus 20:12}. The foundation it builds in their lives makes so many of the other lessons of the heart much easier to learn.

What are some ways to add intentional kindness to your everyday live?

While there are certainly genuinely mean people out there, most single moms that I deal with regularly or not actually mean, they’re tired. Those opportunities to exhibit kindness to their children simply slip through their fingers because they are trying to stay afloat. There are a few things that you can begin to implement that will start the kindness flowing freely in your home and set the stage for more to come.

1. Get extra rest. Don’t look at me like that, I’m serious. There is likely something that you can put to the side once a week or so to grab a little extra rest. Please believe me, relaxation or “me time” is not a substitute for actual sleep. It is difficult to be truly kind when you’re drained.

2. Make it a priority. Using a realistic time frame {once a week, once every two weeks, once a month} make a plan to do something kind for your child. It doesn’t have to be huge or cost money, but it needs to be something that would be special to that child. Whatever you decide, stick to it. It is that consistency that will help build the bond and the write the habit upon your heart.

3. Practice it in the little things. Each and every day provides a moment to exhibit at least a hint of kindness. Be on the lookout for those moments. Take a deep breath and think before you speak. Pause every once and awhile and just think of your child. You never know what Ruach {Spirit} might lay on your heart.

4. Be genuine. One of the biggest enemies to a challenge like this is comparison. There is nothing wrong with looking to others to get ideas, motivation, or accountability, but this is your journey and it’s not intended to look like theirs. Seek the Father for how this is supposed to look in your life and make it your own. Your child will be able to feel the difference.

5. Trust God to care for you. Kindness takes time and energy, two things that most single moms have very little of to spare. Consequently it is very easy to slip into survival mode and begin protecting that time and energy fervently. It is only when we learn to trust Him to replenish us supernaturally that we can let go of that habit and give of ourselves freely and fully without fear.

Take your time and look at what kindness really means to you and evaluate where you stand in relation to that. Are you where you want to be? How would your relationship with your child benefit from practicing kindness intentionally? These are the questions you want to keep in your head as you go forth to keep you focused on the reason you’re doing this. How we love says a great deal about the condition of our heart and there is just as much healing in this for you as there is for your child.

I pray you a heart full of desire and passion and open to change. Shalom beloved!~

Surrendered to Him~

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{Be sure to check out the entire #Learning2Love series!}

What are some of your favorite acts of intentional kindness with your children?

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