My Big Fat Mouth

Many evenings during summer, after brother and sister were tucked into bed, my oldest daughter and I would talk. We’ve worked our way, one page at a time, though the book, Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle.

I’ve mentioned before that this book is not for the faint-of-heart, as would be expected with a book about sexual purity. (Yes, 10 years old is young, but I wanted to tell her before the world did. Now anything she might hear can be compared to the standard found in the Bible.)

But the chapter on how we talk really got to me:

I smiled as she squeezed toothpaste onto a paper plate at my instruction.

“Now,” I said dramatically and paused. “Put all the toothpaste back into the tube.”

She looked at me, confident, at first. But soon, she was covered in minty goo and knew the task was impossible.

After she washed her hands and snuggled back into my bed, I explained how our words, like the sticky toothpaste, once spoken are impossible to get back. And we just made a big mess trying. We talked about respect and thinking before we speak. We talked about the power of the tongue, how it can bring life or death.

She scooted off to bed and I remembered how often my mouth got me in trouble when I was her age. Talking-back and being sassy were some of my biggest struggles. (I was bestowed the gift of sarcasm at a very young age).

And then I thought about how often (EVERY DAY, it seems) I say something I shouldn’t. I’m not a kid anymore. I nag my hubby about stuff I WANT DONE. I gripe at my children for messes I don’t want to clean up. I complain to my friends about something I don’t agree with. There are a lot of “I’s” in that last sentence.

I want this: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:4

It was a devotion for her.

But the words hit me in the big fat mouth.

_________________________

Do you struggle with your tongue?


Comments

  1. says

    Me? Struggle with controlling my tongue? No, never. Huh-uh.

    Except that…yes. My biggest strength is also my biggest weakness. And, two weeks ago, I started wearing tape over my mouth (literally) to help me erase old, bad habits and learn new, God-glorifying ones. It’s actually working wonders…for me and my three-year-old carbon copy.

    http://bit.ly/d6Fi93 – The post where I talked about it can be found here.

  2. says

    Reminds me of the punishment ascribed in the Bible for bearing false witness. The person who brings the false testimony/accusation is to receive the same punishment that he sought for the person he accused. What we say is serious stuff.

  3. Vonda says

    Hi, I came across your blog while reading bake at 350, one of my favorites. I enjoyed reading about the ground beef trip and you sharing the kids art idea. You are so much like me. You want everything to run smooth and it rarely does. I often wonder is it just me? So, I am glad you are THAT family….just like mine. Have a great day! Vonda

  4. says

    DO I struggle??? nope those things that I never want to say seem to pop right on out with little or no effort from me. Most oftn mybrain never even has to fire a neuron… Thanks for a great start to my morning!

  5. says

    I too was blessed with the “gift” of sarcasm and a quick wit, which I tend to exercise on a daily (hourly?) basis. Just the other night as I was driving home from dinner out with friends I felt convicted about many of the sarcastic, gossipy and just plain old mean remarks I’d made about other people that night. I want my conversation to be “full of grace, seasoned with salt”, and I’ve asked God to help me filter my thoughts before I speak them (or, in many cases, refrain from speaking what I’m thinking at all!). The battle over my words is a constant one. Praise God that His mercies are new every morning, and that His Spirit lives within me to transform me day by day.

  6. karen says

    I too struggle with my mouth, especially with my very sarcastic and sassy 13yo daughter. And many of my thoughts have too many “I’s” in them. You are not alone, Kristen!

    My daughter and I also read through Preparing Your Daughter For Every Woman’s Battle this summer, and she now proudly wears a purity ring as a sign of her heart and our study this summer. :-)

  7. Caroline says

    I really should see about getting that book!

    My daughter’s only 7, but it’ll take me a while to get through the book :)

    I am going to try the toothpaste thing with her though. We’re constantly struggling with her not thinking before she acts/says something.

  8. Nancy says

    Oh, the toothpaste….I’m smothered in it much more often than I’d like to admit! (What a great illustration!) At least I smell minty fresh….no?!!

  9. says

    Kristen, thank you so much for this post and for your blog in general. It is both a challenge and an encouragement to me as we seek to live our lives in a way that brings glory and honor to God. The toothpaste is a great illustration! I can’t wait to use it with my own children. What a challenge that it is not only what comes out of my mouth but also HOW I say it that matters! Thanks again for your honesty, insight, and striving to live out what the Bible says!

  10. kate n. says

    oh boy! yes…on a very regular basis…that’s a “gift” that i have bestowed upon our kids…and it’s slapping me in the face every. single. day. i recently found this idea on a blog…i forget where or i would give credit for the idea…anyway, we just made some the other day and i can see a difference already.
    you use letter beads ( we had a ton of different styles so i just made a buffet of letters) to spell out THINK…we put smaller non-distracting beads on either side of the word (i wanted us to focus on the word…not flashy beads). it is to remind us to make sure that what is going to come out of our mouths or the action we are about to take is:
    Thoughtful
    Helpful
    Intelligent
    Necessary and
    Kind
    we say it to each other during the day as a gentle reminder…so far so good…we will see. i also made myself a key chain to put with my car keys…it always seems like that’s where i do a fair share of screaming at kids. :)
    i hope this helps someone else!

    kate n.

  11. says

    oh wow! GREAT post today.
    And…YES, I do struggle with my tongue. I have been trying to think more before I speak. I thought about it more after I read the book “Friendships for Grown-Ups” by Lisa Whelchel. She explained what a “safe friend” is. Basically if a friend you know is talking about someone else’s problems to you then they are NOT a “safe friend”. If you tell them something private, more than likely they will tell someone else.
    SO I have been REALLY trying to chose my words carefully.
    Oh I think I will blog about this today since I was already thinking about it before I read your post. I will link it back to your so my readers can read your post.

  12. says

    every.single.day.
    Proverb cut to the bone on it this morning about how a wise man *woman* knows when to keep her mouth shut. hmmm. I paused to realize that agreeing with this during devo time is one thing….DOING during the day it is a whole ‘nother universe!

  13. kathy stafford says

    that reminds me that the toothpaste illustration, also works for purity, sadly, once the toothpaste is out,it can never be put back…and yes I have the words problem too, and have been admonished by my husband and daughter, how sad is that

  14. says

    You know Kristen, something God recently showed me is that I need to be more aware of the way I talk to MYSELF…that what is in the heart comes out and cleaning up my speech begins with what I say inside to myself. Things like the self-condemnation and criticism and the comparisons, etc. I didn’t realize that I had so much negative self-talk until I really started listening! Wow, it is really changing my speech!

  15. says

    I love how intentional you are about parenting….that you actually take the TIME to do object lessons. This one is one we ALL need to learn. The tongue really is quite a weapon…for good and evil.

  16. says

    I am constantly apologizing to my kids! CONSTANTLY because I tend to fly off the handle all the time with them. I wish I would truly repent and turn that 180 degrees and never fall into my bad habits again.
    Augh!

  17. says

    I read this and BURST into tears!! My second daughter struggles SO BADLY with her tongue and it is painful to watch because I was (and still can be) the same way. She is me 30 years ago. I want to help her!! We talk and talk and I bought a great book, “Word Are Not For Hurting”, but it’s such a struggle. This analogy is beautiful!! We will be doing it for sure! Oh and did I mention she’s only 5…….

  18. says

    I found you today on Twitter. Our 9/11 experiences were similar and I am now following you. I also have a ten year old daughter. I love this toothpaste idea. We are going to do this!

    I am also going to look into that book!

    Thank you!

  19. says

    I have a quick temper and at times, a sharp tongue. I was just thinking today about how my girls talk to each other. Today was a very bad day. They were going after each other like crazy with angry, hurtful words…and SO MUCH yelling! I thought, “I did this.” But how, oh how do I reverse it? Is the damage done? I hate that what I hear them mimick is possibly what they have heard from me. How much of it is sibling rivalry and how much is mimicked behavior? I consider myself a relatively good mom, but in this area I get a big, fat “F”! :(

  20. says

    good post! so true.
    my friend gave me a book once called “me and my Big mouth” by joyce meyer (i think) (or kay arthur?) and i looked at her and said “HEY!”
    but she was right!
    love this post.

  21. says

    Um, yes. I wish I could take back every hateful word I spoke to my mother as a sassy teenager. Truthfully, they should have muzzled me….I regret it to this day…especially since I can’t apologize any more since losing her 10 years ago.

    I STILL struggle with it…I like to blame it on Irish & French heritage (and that’s reaching back several generations), but I think it has more to do with my willpower. Thanks for the reminder.

  22. says

    What a wonderful reminder.

    I can often be heard saying, “Well, ya can’t put that back in the tube, can ya?” But I haven’t ever thought of actually asking my son to put toothpaste back into the tube. I might have to steal this for a lesson this week! ;)

  23. says

    Oh wow, I just found your blog. This post is amazing, really makes me stop and think. And the toothpaste, perfect! Thanks, I’ll be back often to read.

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