In which our gentleness is evident to one first


We had a full house of friends the other night. It was a “serve yourself from the stove” kind of evening, and Joseph hollered and crashed dinosaurs together in the living room while the football game blared, tinies danced to music, and crumbs covered the floor. After most everyone had left and the dishwasher was roaring, I collapsed on the couch, overstimulation complete. I’d lost my temper earlier in the day with one of the tinies, and I was still stinging with it.

One young couple remained behind, intending to put their little baby down to sleep at our house so they could stay a bit longer and visit. My three were sound asleep, and the house was dark, just a few lamps lit, and I waited with my knitting in hand, enjoying the quiet while this beautiful young mama tried to put her baby to sleep. But, as any parent knows, many are the plans in a parent’s heart but often it is the baby who prevails. (“Sleep alone in an uncomfortable playpen in a strange house? No, thank you, Mumma.”)

I listened to her sing soft and slow, she has a lovely voice. I couldn’t discern a word she sang, but the sound and melody of a mama-lullaby overheard melts armour, unfurls muscle knots, exhales the lungs, and releases tension. Eventually, my friend gave up to the inevitable with good grace, carrying a bright-eyed small baby back out, and she rocked her girl slow in my old red rocking chair until the baby blinked longer between yawns and lolled back. She said something so wise while she rocked, I wanted to write it down: “Paul told us to let our gentleness be evident to all*, and I want my gentleness to be evident to our baby girl, too, even when no one is around to overhear or notice but her.”


*Philippians 4:5


  • hopejem

    The footnote in my bible interchanges “graciousness” for “gentleness”. This spoke straight to my heart this morning. Thank you lovely one.

  • Melissa

    i REALLY needed to read those specific words today. thank you sarah. yes let our gentleness be evident to all

  • Lisa

    mmm… yes. just to one first.

  • Krystle

    Oh man. Spot on.

  • Mary Ann Hounsell

    You always seem to speak to me – everytime I visit your blog. Today you remind me of the gentleness of patience – something I have been struggling with – especially with my little one. I want her to move on my time, my agenda. But you have reminded me to be gentle with her (and myself). And if I can’t show my gentleness to those closest to me – I really can not claim to show it to my neighbours.

  • SortaCrunchy

    Oh Sarah. My whole heart’s message, captured beautifully in this picture. Thank you, thank you for this.

  • the Blah Blah Blahger

    Wow…that just gave me the chills. What a beautiful picture of Paul’s message!

  • Katie

    Yes. :)

  • Allison

    This was just perfect for me today. For the past week, I’ve been feeling that the word I’d chosen as my “one word” in 2013 wasn’t quite right, and yesterday, I realized why. The better word for me this year is GENTLE. What lovely timing to read this post less than 24 hours later, reminding me that my little boy will be the one most affected by my gentleness this year. Thank you for sharing.

  • Dixie Livingston

    Gentleness is my word for the year. And congratulations for being the first place I’ve actually articulated it. The Lord use this verse the Sunday before Christmas to inform me: Isaiah 40:11 says “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” It was the ‘those that have young’ part that got me. I have young. Look how He gently leads me. More and more I feel like a shepherd to my 3. I want to be a gentle one who leads with a kind voice, a tender touch, carrying them near my heart rather than one who uses sheep dogs and biting words to make their flock do what’s right. Jesus, as the good shepherd, says his flock follows him because they know his voice. Same as I want for my little flock of 3.

  • Paula

    I love (“love” is not a big enough word here) the way you write… Your words are like art and I’m glad you’re in the world Sarah.

  • Kristin Lee Williams

    Thank you so much, that just spoke to my heart right where I needed it today. I think of how many times my gentleness has not been evident to my children (just this morning, in fact, when I was “encouraging” them to get moving as we were late to school). Oh, how I want them to see me as a gentle mom!

  • Linda Stoll

    yes, let’s start at home … so they don’t end up with the crumbs …

  • Leanne Penny

    Yesterday I was the source of bitter words ringing through our home, I was anything but gentle and the guilty, huge lump in my throat is only now subsiding. I gave three very tear filled apology hugs and even more requests for forgiveness. Thank you for this, so much of mothering is unseen by all but our children.

    You’re like medicine sometimes, you know that? Actually probably all the time to some one, somewhere.

  • Natasha Metzler


  • Janice DeFluiter

    This is so beautiful. I remember when my first was born that I committed myself to speaking kindly to him no matter what. I remember having to stop and take deep breaths in the deep of night when he had woken me up AGAIN so I could swallow the frustrating words and say something kind. Even if it was just repeating, “It’s ok. It’s ok.” I was never sure whether I was telling him or myself.

    But now it’s the third that wakes me up and after all these years that commitment has slipped. I cringe to think of the tone my kids have heard from me.

    So right here, publically, I’m renewing that commitment. I will commit to speaking kindly to my children.

    Thank you for a post that reminded me of such good things.

    • Jennifer

      Janice, I join you in this commitment. Lately I have been looking at photos of my two elder children (5 & 3), and I can glimpse that gentleness in the images of myself during their earliest years, but I am all too aware that I have become harsher with them as they have grown. Thanks to you, Sarah, for these beautiful thoughts, and thanks to you, Janice, for your inspiring public commitment. May the good Lord bless and strengthen us all in our efforts.

  • Kelly @ Love Well

    Chills. That is beautiful, mama wisdom right there. Wisdom for all of us. Lord, help us listen to each other.

  • Carol Vinson

    Lovely. Just lovely. It’s always those small things that make the biggest impact in our hearts. Thank you n

  • Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    ay ay ay, that’s convicting right there, when I think about applying that to my 3yr. old junior terrorist in training with his EPIC temper tantrums & clingy emotive self in which I am STRUGGLING to find my gentleness. sigh. Yep, I’m down for the count with this one.

    • Kristen

      This is exactly what I was thinking! It was easy when they were helpless newborns who didn’t have fits and fight back… but now? Gentle is a hard thing. And I need grace and HELP! Sigh.

  • Anne Judd

    That is beautiful!

  • wendy

    Ah, beautifully said… I need to remember this often. Sigh.

  • James Prescott

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.

  • mrsmarieosborne

    Love this. Exactly what this young mama needs to hear. Even if no one is around to overhear or notice but my son, may my gentleness be evident.

  • Angie

    Simple, beautiful, and so powerful.

  • KimberlyCoyle

    So lovely and such wisdom from a new mama. I need this more now than I did when my kids were tiny. The tween years definitely don’t bring out the gentle in me. I cringe to think of the ways in which I’ve spoken to my children. Thanks for this, Sarah.

  • Joni

    You have painted a lovely picture for my memory. Thank you so much, Sarah, for posting.

  • Anna White

    I can just picture this. Lovely.

  • pastordt

    Cripes, girlie. You even have beautiful friends. (Of course, you have beautiful friends. What am I thinking!)

  • Canita

    The simplicity and truth of it breaks my heart a little after a difficult parenting evening. But obviously this is a message I needed to hear.

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  • Stephanie

    Wise words, indeed.

    Sounds like she is a gentle and caring mother. As you are, my friend.

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