**The winner of the “Whits End Mealtime Devotional” giveaway is…JOY MALONE!! Congratulations!**

This week I probably should be posting about Mother’s day or something. But I feel like I need to come clean about a struggle I’ve been having…it’s related to motherhood…

More than once I’ve found myself enraged by some sort of injustice relating directly or indirectly to my children (like one of those crazed sitcom moms…Claire Dunphy, perhaps?)

During a 1st grade birthday party I straight out “teacher yelled” at a boy, finger pointing and all. He had thrown his classmate on the ground and then walked away…I didn’t like it. But of course then I spent the next 30 minutes in conversations with the other moms who heard my “outburst”, convincing myself I did the right thing.

Going on and on about how “boys should be boys” is not a good reason to allow boys to be mean. How boys can be taught to be kind and treat each other special AND still run around, have fun and wrestle. How mean-spirited aggression is different from young boy energy.

But I left that party with a pit in my stomach. 

Why did I care so much? Why couldn’t I just bounce Knox on my hip, chat away with the other moms and ignore the “Lord of the Flies” moments between boys?

Then it happened again…after Price’s soccer game…my Mama Bear made another appearance.

The situation didn’t start off to be that big a deal. Instead of the usual trophies handed out to every boy at the post-game pizza party, his coaches hung dollar store medals on their heads right on the soccer field.

If Price had been a first born child this wouldn’t have been a problem.  But he has an older brother who has 3 different soccer trophies, each one given to him during a party.

The clincher for me was what happened next. They proceeded to pass out additional award ribbons. With each one they announced the category: “For best practice attendance…”, “For best dribbling…”, “For best attitude…”

All of this would have been fine…except for one thing. They gave ribbons to every single team member except for two boys. Price anxiously awaited hearing his name, standing as close to the coach as he could. His eyes following the ribbon to its recipient, occasionally shooting a nervous glance my way. While his teammates names were announced, he continued to wait.

As quickly as this informal ceremony began it was over. And they were out of ribbons. Price just stood there. One mom pointed out his lack of “recognition”…to which a coach hastily grabbed a medal identical to the one Price already wore around his neck. Placing it over his head he said, “For best double soccer medals…” Um what?

As they gathered for one last team pic, I make the side-comment (somewhat loudly): “Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to give away ribbons if not every boy could have one”. 

Price walked over to me a gently holding a medal in each hand. I saw the unsure look on his face, the wheels turning in his head, trying to make sense of what just happened. No trophy? No specific, special ribbon for him?

He began to develop his theory and process his feelings.

“I guess mom I’m a little disappointed. But maybe I got two medals because I am the best at soccer. And I did all those things double good.”

And to reinforce his positivism, I took a proud picture.

While my blood slowly simmered down, I answered,

“I bet that’s right Price. You had the best attitude, made lots of goals, helped your teammates. And you know what I also loved? When someone got hurt you stopped to make sure they were okay. You noticed. That definitely deserves two medals.”

Price taught me how important it is to interpret life with a positive attitude.

I truly can’t control the actions of others. I can’t control other children or other mothers. I can’t help a coach make better choices.

But I can decide for myself how I will interpret the situation.

Most importantly I can make sure I’m spending time each day in God’s word so I can hear His Spirit say, “Woah Heather. Settle down Mama bear.”

My “love litmus” test, a barometer of sorts, stems from: how well I react to life’s curve balls…how well I love in unlovely situations…how easily offended I am.

If love is patient, kind…does not dishonor others, not easily angered, then my “love level” is low when I’m impatient, unkind, dishonoring and easily angered. Right?

Yes I can speak out about injustice, but not with a passion that turns off the listener. Or not in a way that makes me appear reactionary instead of rational.

 “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” … (Good Samaritan story)

 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 25-28; 36-37)

Do you over-react in situations? Do you notice a pattern of reacting more when you’re out-of-sync with God? 

 “Christianity means community through Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ…Whether it be a brief, single encounter or the daily fellowship of years, Christian community is only this…Among people there is strife. ‘He is our peace.‘ says Paul of Jesus Christ (Eph 2:14)…Christ became the Mediator and made peace with God and among men.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer