Taming the Tongue

Taming the Tongue

Sometimes I just can’t control my tongue.

It was not a good day. For whatever reason, we were just off. I was irritable and impatient. I found myself correcting every little infraction, every childish noise. The more I corrected, the more frustrated I became. And the more my kids acted up.

After snapping at one of my children, I realized I needed help. This downward spiral was not going to improve without divine intervention.

“Lord, please help me control my tongue!”

As I whispered the prayer, the following verse came to mind: “…What you say flows from what is in your heart” (Luke 6:45b, NLT).

My shoulders slumped. If restraining my tongue is a difficult job, changing my heart is impossible. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to do it for many years.

Discouragement gave way to hope, however, as I remembered God is more than able to do just that. His power is infinitely greater than my sin. In love, He pointed out the root of my tongue troubles, not to condemn me, but to show the deeper level on which He wants to work (see Romans 8:1 and 1 John 1:9).

“Lord, change my heart, so love and grace can flow out of me.” My prayer had changed, just as my heart was changing.

Are you struggling to control your tongue today? Be encouraged. God is willing and able to change the heart out of which your mouth speaks. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Recognize the root

Ask God to show you the root of your struggle. I’ve realized I become most irritable when I feel out of control – like when the house is a mess and company is coming over and I can’t keep my kids focused on their chores. Or when I just want the day to run smoothly so I’m not inconvenienced or made uncomfortable.

  • Pray for heart change

God wants to deal with sin, not merely on the behavior level, but at its core. Once we realize why our tongues are out of control, we can pray for heart change in those specific areas. We’re also more equipped to recognize these heart issues early on, before our tongues take control.

Last week, I became increasingly frustrated during a family chore time. God reminded me that I didn’t have to control the situation, that if my friends arrived before the house was clean, it was okay. As I surrendered to His control, my heart calmed down and my tongue stayed in check.

  • See the good

As parents, it’s easy to focus on things in our kids’ lives which need correction. While correction is essential, our children also need abundant affirmation and praise. They need us to notice their effort, to applaud them for making the hard choice to do right, to affirm the work of God we see in their lives. They need to know we are for them. That we love them and enjoy them and would choose them out of all the kids in the world. God can help us see the good He wants us to affirm in our kids – we just have to ask Him.

The tongue may be impossible to tame, but our God is able to do the impossible. As we allow Him to change our hearts, we’ll notice a drastic change in our tongues, as well as in our parenting.

The Gardener

The Gardener

I have a garden this year. vegetable-garden-768342_1280

I love saying that. It feels so…earthy. So…natural. So…not me.

You see, I’m not really a gardener.

I want to be. I try to be. But I get a bit lost when plants don’t just…grow. I put the seeds in the ground, so now they should do their thing. Right? But when bugs invade or plants start dying, I don’t always put up a fight.

This year, however, I’m determined. I’m going to figure this cultivating thing out.

Last night I spent some time working in my garden – pulling weeds, pruning rogue cucumber plants, transplanting mint to improve its chance for survival. It was sweaty, prickly work. But it felt so good.

And then I saw it – a bunch of tiny green tomatoes growing in the middle of the tomato cage. I was so excited to see the plant I’ve been tending start to bear fruit.

It’s small, so far from ripe. But it’s fruit, nonetheless. It’s progress, the promise of more to come. And it thrills me.

God the GardenerAs I looked at those itty bitty tomatoes, it struck me that maybe God feels a similar joy over us. When He sees us growing, does His heart burst with happiness?

Sometimes I get so impatient with myself.

Surely I should be producing lots of mature fruit by now. I’ve known Jesus for so long, why am I not bursting with the fruit of His Spirit? Why, oh why, do I struggle with the same old sins? Why am I not more grown up in my faith? Why do I doubt? Why do I get irritable or angry with those I love?

Do you ever feel that way? Ashamed of yourself for not being…better? More productive? More mature? Closer to perfect?

And like the scorching sun on a mid-summer day, condemnation threatens to wither the fruit that’s growing, be it ever-so-slowly, in our lives.

I don’t think God looks at us that way. In fact, for those with faith in His Son, He declared us free from condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Like a patient gardener rejoicing over not-yet-ripe fruit, I believe God is okay with the process. More than okay, I think He’s excited to see us growing, responding to His master touch.

No gardener expects ripe fruit the same day the seeds are planted. There’s a whole season of tending yet to be done. plant-1474807_1280

In the garden of our hearts, our God is all about the process. Because, unlike me with my tomato plants, there’s a relationship being cultivated. In the tending – the daily watering, the pruning and pulling of weeds – we get to know the Gardener.

What do you think? How does the Gardener tend the soil of your soul? What are you learning about Him in the process? Please comment below! Let’s get to know Him better together!

Related Posts:

Thoughts in the Silence

Did We Take a Wrong Turn?

It Wasn’t Supposed to be This Way


Umbrella Ministry

Umbrella Ministry

by Meredith Mills @DazzledByTheSon

Don’t you just love rainy days?


rainy days

There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book and a cup of tea on a dark and rainy day. So cozy and comfortable. Ahh…I love rainy days.

Unless I have to run errands. With three kids in tow. Of those rainy days, I am not a fan.

Yesterday, I had a list of several places to go in a short window of time. I was a bit uptight and stressed. So when it started raining on the way to Walmart, my heart sank. And of course, there are never close parking spaces on rainy days. Seriously, they should have designated parking places for moms with more than one tagalong.

We grabbed our single umbrella and climbed out of the car. Gathering my little people close, we walked toward the store.

“Do you need an umbrella?” I turned toward the voice to see an older woman standing beside the open door of her car. She had a pleasant expression on her face as she offered us a bright yellow umbrella.

“Oh, I think we’re fine,” I replied.

“Are you sure? I have a sort-of ‘umbrella ministry,’” she said with a smile.


rainy days

I returned the smile, not quite sure what to say. I’d never heard of an “umbrella ministry” before. While I hesitated, she walked over and handed us her yellow umbrella, then returned to her car. “God bless you,” she said warmly.

We thanked her, opened the umbrella and again walked toward the entrance.

This unusual encounter made quite an impression on my heart. Such a small act of kindness, yet so very thoughtful.

I bet the “umbrella ministry” is not included on a list of outreaches on any local church bulletins. She probably doesn’t consider herself to be a missionary. I wonder how many people even know of her ministry?

And yet this generous woman is a vital member of the Body of Christ, lovingly meeting needs in creative ways as God leads. She was a beautiful reminder to me of how “outside my box” God is.

He has important work to do through each of His own in advancing His kingdom. We’ve all been given various gifts and callings, as well as different opportunities in differing seasons. Sometimes our “ministry” will look just like what we’ve imagined. Other times it may seem small or insignificant.

But whatever we do in the name of Jesus is beautiful and meaningful and precious to God. As we walk close to Him, humbly following His lead, He lives out His heart through us.

How about you? Do you ever wonder if your life makes a difference, if God could possibly be pleased with how “daily” your life is?

Be faithful, my friend. Walk with Him. Listen to His voice. Do whatever He leads you to do – whether it seems significant or not.


in Jesus’ name

Has anyone ever ministered to you in an unexpected way? I’d love to hear!

Related Posts:

Redefining Success, Pt 1

Redefining Success, Pt 2

When I’m not Enough



Did We Take a Wrong Turn?

Did We Take a Wrong Turn?

Did we take a wrong turn somewhere, God?


Did we take a wrong turn?

This path we’re on is bumpier than I expected. I’m not seeing many “green pastures” or much “still water.” It’s certainly not glamorous.

I was kind of hoping for something more exciting, less mundane. I know You lead down “paths of righteousness,” but isn’t there a less exhausting one?

That path over there…the pleasant-looking, grass-is-greener one? I think I’d like that one better. It looks easier, more productive, more… well, fun.

Can’t we give that one a try?

Do you ever have such conversations with God?

Ever feel frustrated, discontent, even disillusioned with the path on which God has you? Ever compare your life with others and wish your days looked more like theirs? Or maybe memories of past seasons or dormant dreams make you long for something…different.

Life has a way of not turning out the way we envisioned, no matter how good we have it.

Sometimes I whine and complain, as evidenced by the above conversation (“inspired” by this past month).

I’m so thankful that God isn’t impatient, that He continues loving and leading me, no matter how I grumble along the way. Sometimes I’m in awe of how gracious and “longsuffering” He is.

In my grumbling seasons, God faithfully reminds me that He Himself is the only Source of true joy and satisfaction. “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Is 58:11). “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (Ps 90:14).


Did we take a wrong turn?

He never promised that life would be easy. On the contrary, He said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk 9:23).

Some days are crazy hard, but “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

By faith, I trust that He has “given us everything we need for a godly life through the knowledge of Him…” (2 Pet 1:3).

When I grow weary, I remember that “at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).

Sometimes He leads through the valley of the shadow of death, yet He is always with us (even when we don’t feel Him). He knows when we become “weary and burdened,” so He invites to come find rest in Him beside quiet waters (Ps 23, Matt 11:28-30).

He Himself is each need’s satisfaction and every heart’s greatest pleasure.


Did we take a wrong turn?

Are you on a difficult path? Have you been grumbling about your circumstances? How does Jesus satisfy you when life is hard? I’d love to hear – please join the conversation!

Related Posts:

When Life Blindsides You

A Good Good Father


A Dose of Encouragement

Could you use some encouragement today?

I know I could. Sometimes my heart grows anxious. It’s easy to give way to fear, to let the “what if’s” take over. To look at our nation, our world, and feel as if things are spiraling out of control.

Yet, in the midst of turbulent times and an uncertain future, the words of the old hymn ring true in my heart – “When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand…” *


This Rock that is Jesus – He is secure and unchanging, a foundation that will never crumble. His love is everlasting. His truth still brings freedom. His justice is as sure as the rising sun. His faithfulness will never, ever cease. Come what may, God is good. God is with us. And God will complete His work in us.

This week I’ve been studying in Colossians. My heart thrills at the work of God on our behalf. Here are some highlights from chapter two:

  • God has revealed to us the mystery of Christ (v 2). Walking with God has always been by faith – from the opening chapters of Genesis (the promise of One who would crush the serpent), to the final words of Revelation (“come quickly, Lord Jesus!”). Yet the Object of our faith was a mystery until God made Him known. Oh, the riches of assurance and knowledge of Him!
  • God has firmly rooted us in Christ (v 7). It’s done, once and for all – by God, for us. Because we are rooted in Him, we can face the future with confidence. Nothing can uproot us from Christ!


  • God is building us up and establishing us in our faith (v 7). God is continuously, repeatedly working to strengthen us.
  • God has made us complete (v 10). As the fullness of God dwells in the Person of Christ, so we are completely filled with Christ. We lack nothing when we have Jesus.
  • God has circumcised our hearts (v 11). In Old Testament times, God commanded Israel to circumcise their hearts (Jer 4:4), but they were incapable of doing it themselves. However, He promised that one day, He Himself would complete this work. (“Then the Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him…” Deut 30:6.) And now He has done it! (“Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ (Col 2:11b). What we are powerless to do on our own, God has done for us. The power of our old life is broken!
  • God has cancelled our certificate of condemnation, nailing it to the cross (v 14). All those sins that separated us from God, which served as evidence of our guilt – they are all gone! Not a single sin stands to condemn us. We are fully forgiven in Christ.
  • God brings about our spiritual growth (v 19). Fruit-bearing is God’s work (thus the term “fruit of the Spirit”). For most of my life, I believed I had to try hard to produce fruit as a Christian. In reality, I’m just the branch displaying the fruit made by the Vine as I abide in Him (Jn 15:1-11)!


My dear fellow Jesus-lover – be encouraged! Rest in hope. Speak truth to your soul.

Nothing can sever us from the God who works on our behalf – no politician, no tragedy, no loss, no disappointment. If He has done all this for us (and ever so much more), will He not continue to show Himself strong on our behalf? We He not daily support, strengthen, sustain, and supply?

May we overflow with gratitude, walk closely with Him, and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…” 2 Chron 16:9a.

“I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them…I will rejoice in doing them good…” Jer 32:40-41.

What kind of soul-talk brings peace to your heart? Is there a particular attribute of God that especially gives you hope?


Related Posts:

Fly Like an Eagle

When Fear Invades


*The Solid Rock, by Edward Mote