Friday, December 13, 2019

KIND SOUP, Jean Peterson

Hello! And welcome to Whispers in Purple blog. 
It's another Faithful Friday devotional post and I'm pleased to bring you guest author

It was a Christmas coloring sheet, given to each of our youngest children in their elementary school’s Friday folders from a local bank to color and hang in the lobby, and of course the lucky prize was a candy cane. The two of them sat before a box of oversized mismatched crayons and colored pencils, and the only thing they did was argue. “That’s my pencil,” “I wanted that color,” “You’re coloring it wrong,” “You’re too close to me, move over,” were some of the excerpts of their sibling banter that went from a muttered pestering to a dull roar of who ‘was right’ and ‘who was wrong’, and again, it was just a coloring sheet. So instead of continuing this live stream of contention and competition between the two of them, I was immediately reminded of how I could better foster this moment teaming with the good Lord and reflecting on the Fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.

One of the many things I’ve found helpful in these moments is to redirect the ‘said problem’, and this time the redirection was centered on asking them a few simple questions from this scripture like;” how can we be more patient with each other, how can we be joyful in this moment being together, how can we be kind?” They both immediately went to, “well, she’s doing ‘this’, and he’s doing ‘that’.” Then I said, let’s try again, “how would Jesus like us to be patient with each other, joyful during this fun time together, and…how would he want us to be kind?” That quieted and stilled the air. They both looked at me, pencil, crayon in hand, and big eyes. Something about rephrasing it and reemphasizing the virtues grabbed their attention and hearts with my sharing the importance on how it was an ask centered from what Christ would have them do. They then, both, took a split-second and looked over at each other. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was truly a blip of a moment looking at each other, but in that moment, I saw their little hearts melt into what they knew Jesus would want them to do. Their conversation changed almost immediately. Complimenting and suggesting colors became their co-coloring collaboration, and ‘good jobs’ were fist-bumped all around upon their coloring finale.

My hope was to redirect the emphasis off each of them, trying to ‘out do’ the other and fill the moment with an opportunity to share this snippet of the virtues within the scripture, but I had detected there was this momentary coloring sheet competition because they felt ‘less’ than the other.  There’s almost four years difference between them and skills are significantly different. During this moment of ‘needing’ to make the coloring ‘better’ than the other, I also sensed maybe it was because deep down they felt a little ‘less’ about themselves, too. Redirecting and focusing on the scripture, helped not only realign their hearts for each other, but also within themselves. They can have patience with themselves, enjoy the joy-filled time together which gives them personal joy, and to be kind. Yes, to be kind to themselves, give themselves a little grace and know that their unique, gifted abilities have value in every way when they least expect it and within the simplest of moments.

Gathered around the kitchen counter, creatively adding multitudes of colors adorning a regular ol’ coloring sheet, even then, God has a way of sharing his messages, gifts and even sweeter prizes found in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (NIV), that can be shared and remembered during not only this Christmas season but throughout the year.

Jean Petersen is the author of both a non-fiction children's book, Moose Shoes, and a cookbook, The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook, as well as magazine freelance writer and weekly newspaper columnist. Kind Soup is her most recent children's picture book published by Little Lamb Books, based upon the virtues of the Fruits of the Spirit. A graduate of Colorado State University, she resides with her husband, four children, and a menagerie of animals on their small farm in Montana. You can read her blog and learn more about her adventures at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for being my guest today, Jean. It's been a number of decades since I've had kids this age, but I remember those days very well.