Devotional by Jenny Rowan
I saw it right on his face. Big and glaring at me, like it was shouting “look he is so hormonal and I am here to prove it.” What was it? A giant zit on my son’s face. Right where his glasses sit on his nose. His very first and it was confirming what I had been seeing for weeks now – a very grumpy little boy.
This grumpy little boy now woke up angry and it showed all over his face. It showed as he packed his lunch for school after grumbling about not having enough snacks to pack even though the pantry was overflowing with options. It showed as he shoved past his sister to get his breakfast after grumbling about not having anything to eat for breakfast. But yes, you guessed it, there were numerous options for breakfast. Then it was the shoulder shrugs and groans when asked to put on his coat and shoes to get to the bus stop. And it didn’t stop there. Once in the van his hoodie went over his head and he slumped into the van seat so deep that I thought the van seat would eat him up like quicksand. The bus pulled up and continuing his morning saga of grumpiness he got out of the van oozing grump, barely getting in a “byyye mommm” as I looked on wondering where my sweet, kind and happy boy had gone.
So what did I do the next day when the day was repeating itself all over again? I said in my sternest mom voice I could muster, “You better cut this attitude out! I will NOT tolerate this ugly behavior! You stop it RIGHT now!” But you know what – that did not work. Now, we just had two angry people, my son and myself. So the next day I started praying. “Lord, give me wisdom. Help my son. Help me.” I prayed this all throughout the day. Whenever I would think of him throughout my work day I said a little prayer for him.
Several days passed. Every morning an exact replica of the last. The grumps controlled his morning and the hoodie went over his face as soon as he got in the van. But this time when he got in the van and we had pulled up at the bus stop to wait for the bus, I said, “Josiah, can I talk to you?” His eyes lifted barely from under the hoodie. I took a deep breath and went for it. I said, “Josiah, I love you! I love you oh sooo much! I am proud of you. You are an amazing kid.” Now his head was fully lifted. He was listening to every word. As tears streamed down my face I told him that he was a leader. That at a young age he has always said how when he grew up he wanted to be a preacher. I then threw in a line from his favorite movie, Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” We both laughed and then I continued. “God wants to use you to show kindness to others, to show Himself to those in your school, for you to shine His love to others. I believe in you and I think you are amazing!” I said, “It’s not like you to be so grumpy in the morning. How about we change that? Let our few moments that we get before school and before my work day be ones that are full of love and kindness.” He was smiling now and said, “Yeah, we can totally do that!”
You know what? Our mornings have changed. Of course, there are still times when we have to talk to him and there will be more times of grumpiness, I am sure of it. He’s a pre-teen boy going through many hormonal changes, but we had an “aha” moment and it was beautiful. Our “aha” moment was realizing the power of love, the power of encouragement, the power of showing someone that not only can love and kindness change them but that they have the power and responsibility to then take that love and kindness and spread it to others.
1 John 4:16b NJKV “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”
1 Peter 4:8 NLV “Most of all, have a true love for each other. Love covers many sins.”