In my home, this happens on the micro. God exposes an issue to tackle with my kids and I faithfully harp on it until the point makes headway.
I find that every time He puts an issue on my heart or leads me to speak on it, write on it or act on it, He is preparing me for a personal test.
Lately, the topic I've been grappling with is anger. No, not the avoidance of anger. That's too ordinary. God has been dealing with me on those times that I should be angry, because those times do exist. There is a purpose and a plan for my feisty spunky self. God doesn't see it as a character flaw but a tool. I just have to let Him use it instead of holding the reigns myself.
I've been talking on Finding His Temper on my radio show all month.
I thought this was all He was teaching me. It felt like enough.
Today I learned that, in the quest to know when to stand up with righteous anger and make some noise and when to bite my tongue and keep my anger from spiraling into sinful rage, I have been trained in discernment. I can actually spot the struggle in others.
Like every lesson He teaches, He gave me an opportunity to prove my knowledge with an unexpected test.
Here is my brief (internet reader abbreviated) back story:
There was a woman a few years ago who attempted to take something valuable from me. When she didn't win, she went on an all fronts attack of my family in a quest to get her way. Damage was done. She was wrong in every way and yet met no consequence (that I have ever seen).
In so many ways I have healed from that hurt. My anger towards her is so far below the surface that it's rarely felt any more. However, my children aren't there yet. They still have feelings they haven't come to terms with and emotions that haven't yet settled.
I was running an errand today when I ran into this woman. She was in a parking lot one space over. Our eyes met and I drove through illegally to find another spot. I didn't do it for myself. I did it for my twelve year old daughter who sat angrily simmering from the backseat.
See, my daughter has valid reasons for her anger. Righteous reasons. However, if permitted today, those feelings could have led to sin in my child's heart.
Seeing my daughter's reaction momentarily elevated my own as a mother. I hate to see my children upset and my daughter clearly was. Then God cautioned me. Heather, are you healed? Is your anger really controlled the way I would choose to control it? Are you leading your children by example?
It was an ugly inner interrogation ending with "Prove it!"
When you understand a problem well enough to correct it in yourself and you can spot it in others on a dime, you are making progress.
How do you prove you understand a lesson? You use the opportunity to encourage another through the battle you have just fought. You make disciples.
So today, I made disciples of forgiveness in my backseat.