I’m not usually aware of it the second it begins. But it slices right to the core of me. It stomps and spits all over a beautiful day and leaves me bewildered as to how we got here.
And mere minutes ago I was deliriously happy at the thought of us side by side all day.
Our tone toward each other. Without the words changing, our tone slaps in the face or evokes love.
And I step away not knowing what to think. Get alone with God to bring some clarity. And I’m hurt and angry about what could have been but what happened instead. How all the beauty that is between us is strangled.
All this when there was such unity in our decisions, laughter shared, arms wrapped around each other tight, and a firm kiss mere minutes before?
It doesn’t happen very often, but too often nonetheless. Our tone polluting the air and driving arrows straight to the others heart. A shadow of the dark, dangerous places we ventured to in the past.
I’m aware of the damage that a tone or sarcasm can do to a soul, to relationships, and I know.
I know that we will not allow it to define our family.
As I am praying I see a picture of a ‘tone’ chart. We prop up this white board on the aged piano and put a mark under our name anytime a demeaning tone or insulting sarcasm is used and will continue to for 21 days. The whole family involved because it has not only been an issue between husband and me, but brothers as well.
We decide to do whatever it takes to disable our habit and protect and nurture what we have.
Rewards to those who do well! Awareness to those who don’t.
9 days (with almost all of us together everyday) is behind us now and it’s waking us all up to what it looks like. To what loving each other in all situations looks like.
Big brother had several marks beside his name the first day. He’s had none since. Years of trying different ways to get it through to him (when it comes to speaking to his younger brother), and we just began recording it on this board, and now he gets it.
Our 6 year old daughter, who excels in patience and love, has had only one mark and she put it there herself, insisting she had earned it. No surprise. We can all learn something from her gentle ways. She is by far the winner thus far.
Husband and I have had more than we care to admit. Not between each other but it has surfaced when speaking to the kids. When we allow that frustration to build.
The first time I let out a harsh tone was toward our sweet Ellie and I didn’t realize it until I saw that look in her eyes. My heart melted in that second.
It wasn’t a yell, but it wreaked of frustration. I was shocked that it slipped out even on such high alert.
I wish I could say I have it down now. I have certainly improved, almost always catching it before it slips out, however this with great struggle and focus.
That large white board in the center of the home with those ugly marks doesn’t allow me to forget. The thought of my marriage and our children’s hearts drive me onward.
From the dark dining room I look over at my beloved sitting on the couch with all the kids wrapped around him. He meets my eyes quickly, a flash of love and an inkling of a smile.
Imperfect we are. But we’re in this together, doing whatever it takes to keep our family in step with Him.
And we rely on this God who takes messed up people like us and does something beautiful. He’s this ever present, never stopping, always working in us God.
And I smile back at Husband, twinkle in my eye, fully confident in the story God is weaving.
always counting the ways He loves.. some taken from my journal:
6) how Ellie’s eyes lit up when she saw her ballet recital costume
9) Quinn and Ellie happily playing ‘house’ together in the laundry room, for days
13) a pastor who regularly seeks out time with Husband
14) a cat sleeping under the Christmas tree
25) the boys sound effects as they fly their planes around the house
33) laughter from the bathtub
37) Gav, Ellie, and I soaring all over the property on our horses (otherwise known as