“A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath.” ~ Proverbs 15:1
Let me start with this confession: This is hard for me.
I don’t know if you struggle with being snippy and harsh with your loved ones, but I do.
Not too long ago I confessed that to someone close to me, and their response startled me a little: “I have a hard time believing that. You are always so mild-tempered and never seem frazzled by anything.”
Why did this startle me? Because I know the truth in my heart that controlling my tongue is hard. It was during that conversation I realized something about myself. I intentionally invest and expend a great deal of energy in appearing “in control” at work and, in general, when away from home. What I don’t do often enough is give my family that same level of energy. They are often stuck with the leftovers of my relational energy.
How can this be?!? These are the people I love the most, and yet, they are the ones I treat the worst!
It turns out that James’ caution about the tongue is spot on (James 3), though that really should be no surprise. At times, taming my tongue seems impossible. And it takes an amount of energy and restraint that I struggle to have.
The more important issue I have to deal with, though, is not what comes out of my mouth but my attitude and the condition of my heart. Jesus said that my mouth speaks from the overflow of my heart (Luke 6:45). So when I let my guard down and speak with anything less than a respectful, gentle tone to my family, what is really happening in my heart? It typically boils down selfishness.
Regarding sin, Paul says “whoever thinks he stands must be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12) The only “cure” for the real issue is the transforming power of the gospel, that is, the Spirit of God’s renewal of my heart and mind (Romans 12:1-2). After all, the fruit of the Spirit is… gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) I must daily… hourly… moment-by-moment submit myself to the Spirt of God and let Him transform my heart.
God, cleanse me from my hidden faults and keep me from willful sins; do not let them rule me… may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:12-14).
June 3, 2017, marks the tenth birthday of our stillborn daughter Carsyn. I have written about her impact on our family a few times over the years. The most recent post can be read here: http://jeremypcarroll.com/celebrating2livesonjune3
My wife and I have tried to make the date of June 3 as a memorial stone on our family’s calendar. In Joshua 4 God instructs Joshua to have the Israelites take stones from the Jordan river to remind of God’s faithfulness and miraculous provision as they cross on dry ground. After collecting the stones, Joshua told God’s people: In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones? ’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the water of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.” (Joshua 4:21-24) We will find great benefit in life if we establish landmarks in our lives to help us remember God’s provision lest we fall into taking God’s graciousness for granted.
It is difficult for me to believe that season of our lives was only 10 years ago. So much as happened since then: lived in 3 different states, added 3 more children, welcomed into several church families, God has healed our family from that dark place in ways we could never had imagined at the time.
This year we were blessed to be able to celebrate in a special way with almost everyone from our extended family in TN. Just spending an evening of together. Enjoying each other’s company. God’s faithfulness was on display.
God’s faithfulness is most often on display during life’s trials. An interesting thing about life’s trials… they do not play favorites. Someone once said about the trials of life:
You are either in a trial, just coming out of one, or… buckle up because one is likely around the corner.
We all face them. This means we all have various opportunities throughout life to witness and be thankful for God’s faithfulness. In fact, how we deal with the trials of life reveals the depth of our own faith. In fact James said in the New Testament:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. ~ James 1:2-3
Now, I have NOT reached the point that I can consistently rejoice in the trials I face in life, but by God’s grace and with the support of my wife, I have been able to find the strength to submit to His leadership through them. I am inspired by Paul’s dependence on God’s grace in the midst of his “thorn in the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12). God’s power is perfected in my weakness.
Whether you are in the midst of a trial, heading into one, or in a place of healing from the last one, may God’s grace be your abundant supply at all times!
My family went out of town for Spring Break today so I thought I’d entertain myself by logging my day in SnapChat.
Like many of you, our family has much to be thankful for this year! We have been humbled by God’s graciousness to us over the past decade.
I began this post last Thanksgiving and dropped the ball on posting it. I thought I’d pick it up today and see if I could finish.
When we moved to Keller, TX, in 2007, we were in the middle of the darkest years of our married life up to that point. Moving to Keller was the answer to much prayer, and we had no idea how refreshing the years that followed would be. During our time in Keller, we were blessed part of an incredible church and community. We have so many friends who have had dramatic impact on our lives. When we moved to Keller in 2007, we were a small family of 4. God graciously added 3 kids to our family in those 7 years.
Growth was not only familial; there was spiritual growth, as well. I had the great honor of being ordained into the gospel ministry by our church family and baptize 2 of our children.
The deep friendships we made during our time in Keller continue to have a meaningful impact on us even today.
September rounded out our first year in Tuscaloosa. While we miss our friends from TX, the Lord has been gracious to us over the last year. Here are some highlights:
- Moved to a new town
- Moved into a new house
- Began a new ministry
- Lovingly welcomed into a new church family
- Began new homeschooling endeavors
- New soccer opportunities
- Began new friendships
- J: soccer (being able to continue to play after our move and for new opportunities)
- C: 10th birthday
- R: our home
- H: our family (“& that I can draw a ghost on paper” Haha!)
All the way around, we have so much to be thankful for. We are grateful to have had another year together and know that we owe our gratitude to Jesus. We know that many have not had a great… or even a good year. Many of you have faced incredible challenges in 2015. To you, know that my family is praying for God’s sustaining grace and mercy be present and evident in your life. We pray that God will engulf you with His faithful love during this holiday season.
One of the verses that hangs in our home is Philippians 4:12-13, and it is one we pray envelopes our family.
In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Today, my wife and I celebrate 13 amazing years together as husband and wife and the beginning of our 14th year. 156 months, 676 weeks, 4,749 days…not that I am counting. Those 4,749 days have brought a wide variety of emotions and circumstances. We have had 6 pregnancies which brought us the births 4 of the most incredible children I know and the loss of 2 in my wife’s womb. We’ve moved our home more times than I care to admit, living in both Tennessee and Texas, purchasing our first home together a few years back. We have had the privilege of serving 4 different churches in various roles and capacities, and celebrating 5 years at First Baptist Keller las Fall. We’ve had next to nothing; we’ve had more than our fair share. We’ve walked with dear friends and family through marriages, births of children, loss of jobs, loss of family members, and so much more. We have been blessed by the communities God has placed us in over the years and are incredibly blessed where we are today.
My prayer for our family in 2013 is to take the attitude of Paul in Philippians 4.
…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret ⌊of being content⌋ — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
As long as I have known my sweet wife (nearly 20 years now), she has been as close to a Proverbs 31 woman as I have ever met.
10 Who can find a capable wife?
She is far more precious than jewels.11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will not lack anything good.12 She rewards him with good, not evil,all the days of her life.13 She selects wool and flaxand works with willing hands.14 She is like the merchant ships,bringing her food from far away.15 She rises while it is still nightand provides food for her householdand portions for her female servants.16 She evaluates a field and buys it;she plants a vineyard with her earnings.17 She draws on her strengthand reveals that her arms are strong.18 She sees that her profits are good,and her lamp never goes out at night.19 She extends her hands to the spinning staff,and her hands hold the spindle.20 Her hands reach out to the poor,and she extends her hands to the needy.21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,for all in her household are doubly clothed.22 She makes her own bed coverings;her clothing is fine linen and purple.23 Her husband is known at the city gates,where he sits among the elders of the land.24 She makes and sells linen garments;she delivers belts to the merchants.25 Strength and honor are her clothing,and she can laugh at the time to come.26 She opens her mouth with wisdomand loving instruction is on her tongue.27 She watches over the activities of her householdand is never idle.28 Her sons rise up and call her blessed.Her husband also praises her:29 “Many women are capable,but you surpass them all! ”30 Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.31 Give her the reward of her labor,and let her works praise her at the city gates.
So I finally feel like I’m making some progress!! The battle with the plumbing has been insane!! (I replaced all of the plumbing except the supply pipes coming into the bathroom, but getting everything to fit has been the hard part.) There have been WAY too many trips to Home Depot & other local plumbing supply stores, but everything finally fit together & not leaking or water coming out where it shouldn’t. Hopefully just a few more days left as the drywall compound sets. Then I can put the surround on & fix the flooring (gotta replace a few tiles as the new tub does not come as far off the wall as the previous tub). By the way, once this part is completed, we will have replaced everything in this bathroom; nothing is left as it was when we bought the house; everything is new.