A Tenderhearted King

A Tenderhearted King

Do you think Prince Charles (the next in line to the British throne) will make a good king? Most of us probably don’t care that much – after all, aren’t there more important things to be worrying about? However, in history, there were times when having a good King could make or break a nation.

Why am I talking about Kings? Well, there was a Jewish King (Josiah) who reigned in Judah at around 600 BC. Josiah is written about in the Old Testament of the Bible (2 Kings 22-23). Remarkably, he was just 8 years old when he became King.

More remarkably, Josiah was described as having a tender heart.  

In my efforts to be a more loving mum, I’ve found that a good place to start is to try and keep my heart tender, just like Josiah’s was. 

Josiah came to the throne at a time when his nation had turned away from following God. The book that contained the words of God had been lost and forgotten. When he was about 26 years old, Josiah ordered that God’s temple be repaired. During the repair work, God’s book was found and read.

On hearing what was written in the book, Josiah wept bitterly. He and his nation were far from living as God wanted them to. So he sought guidance from one of God’s prophetesses, Huldah.

God commended Josiah for having a sensitive heart and for humbling himself.

Josiah listened to God’s word. However, instead of making excuses, he was sad and sorry for not obeying. He then recommitted himself to following God.

How is this relevant to a 21st century mother? Let me take a personal example: the struggle of trying to remain patient with my children. I expect some (if not all) mothers will be able to relate to this!

In my last blog, I mentioned  another chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. This same chapter describes what real love looks like. Love is patient. It does not get annoyed. It does not insist on its own way. God also says we should be slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen (James 1:19). When I am short tempered with my children I am far from modelling God’s description of love.  

So what do I do?

I’ve  found that there are two possible responses.

The first is to make excuses. “Things are very difficult at the moment, when I’ve got less on my plate I’ll be able to be more patient…”  “It’s impossible not to snap at children, surely everyone does it…”  “Those standards are too high, I’ll never achieve them anyway…” 

In my experience, this can take away the immediate feelings of guilt, but it also has the effect of making me a little less sensitive. Choosing this response has made me colder, and more inclined to snap at my children. Leading to a ‘hardened’ heart.

But, there is another option: the one King Josiah chose. When my impatience gets the better of me and I speak harshly to my children, I can instead feel remorse. I can ask God for forgiveness and then turn to my children and say sorry. After, I can recommit to loving my children by God’s standards. 

God was pleased with Josiah, not because he had perfectly obeyed him, but because he acknowledged his failure and was genuinely sorry.

We keep our hearts tender if we don’t get tired of apologising when we get things wrong. This leaves them pliable, like play-doh! God is then able to work with our hearts, and change them for the better (Ezekiel 36:26).

The words we speak overflow from our hearts (Luke 6:45). Only with changed hearts can we change the way we speak to our children, and each other. 

Thankfully, God is in the business of changing hearts – if we’re humble enough to ask him. Josiah had been reigning for 18 years when he humbled himself. Better late than never!

Birthday Card Craft 

On the subject of late, this is a great craft to do at the start of the year. It can then be kept in the cupboard for birthdays, as they come up. Helping to avoid being late, or having to rush out and buy a card. It also makes use of all the ‘masterpieces’ your toddler churns out when you set them loose with paper and paint! Older kids can do the prep themselves.

You will need:

  • A4 Card – any colour
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Paint (Watercolours work well and in my experience are less messy)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Yarn
  • Glue stick

Instructions:

  1. Fold card in half
  2. Cut balloon shapes out of masking tape, 3-5 per card and stick on the front of the folded card
  3. Let your child paint anything they like, encourage them to paint around the balloons
  4. Leave the paint to dry completely
  5. Peel off the masking tape
  6. Cut short strips of yarn, tie knots 1 cm in and stick onto the balloons (optional)

 

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