The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us

Focus On the Good


Sunday, I was slightly hurt when a good-intentioned friend brought my darling little girl out of the nursery at church and said, “Dra-ma!”  Worried, I asked what had happened.  Laughing, she told me how every time one of the other babies cried, Ariana would look up at her with puppy dog eyes because she also wanted attention.  She then went on to say, “I know you’ve told me how dramatic she is before, but I had never seen it.  She was so funny!”

Looking at a teacher with attention-seeking eyes didn’t seem so dramatic to me, and I wondered why she made a big deal about it.  It struck me that the key was in those words, “I know you’ve told me how dramatic she is…”  She was focused on it because I had brought her attention to it. 

All children are sinful, and there are definitely appropriate times when we should discuss their sinfulness with others.  One such time would be when seeking counsel about how to deal with the sinfulness from someone who has experience in that area.  However, as a mom I tend to only draw people’s attention to the evil in my children instead of the good.  This is a form of my pridefulness.  I don’t want others to think I’m vain about my children; instead I want them to think I’m a good mother who is aware of every area of sin that my children show (a.k.a. that I’m not one of those parents who somehow manage to overlook their child’s obvious sinful patterns–please note sarcasm toward myself) .  

God began convicting me deeply that day about my attitude toward my children.  Why do I never tell people how fun and joyful Ariana is or how concerned she gets when any member of the household is upset?  Why do I not talk about how easy-going she is (especially considering she has a two-year old brother)?  Why do I rarely talk about Liam’s compassion and tenderness?  Why do I focus on his boyhood energy as if it’s a bad thing?  Why do I not talk about how obedient he is most of the time or how his little mind is like a sponge (you should hear him quote memory verses and catechisms)?  And why do I not share with people how much joy both our children bring us and how much I praise God for these little jewels almost every day?  How sad I would be without them!

The reason I don’t is because I am still the worst of sinners regardless of the grace God has given me.  I am focused more on people’s attitudes toward me than I am the blessing God pours out for me every day.  I would rather make myself look good and my children look bad.  I am discontent with the (wonderful) lot God has given me in this world.  I still want to take all glory from God instead of living a life that is focused on His gospel.  Praise God that Jesus is still interceding for me every moment so that despite my vileness I will one day stand in the presence of His holiness!  How amazing!

My prayer is that God will show even more grace by opening my blind eyes to His goodness and the lovely children He has blessed me with instead of allowing me to give in to my instincts to see only evil when I see my children.  I pray that each time I am tempted to see their evil, I will first see the evil in my own heart and will show them a similar grace to the one God shows me each minute.  Will you pray with me?

8 thoughts on “Focus On the Good

  1. This is awesome Coutney- I do the exact same thing. I thank God for this reminder today.

    You are right about the root of it too- sin and pride. It’s so ironic that it’s okay for me to point out something negative about my children in the interest of “humility” (which isn’t humility at all-it’s more pride than anything) but when someone else points out something I get all bent out of shape. The fact that I get bent out of shape shows me that my intentions were completely wrong in the first place.

    Thanks again for this convicting reminder.

  2. My heart ached when I read this. Conviction – that’s all I can say.

    Thank you putting your thoughts into words and allowing me to examine my own heart this morning.

  3. Wow! This is so awesome Courtney. I am so so guilty. Especially with Sam. It is so true what you said about wanting to let people know that you are a good mom bc you are aware of your children’s sinfulness. Thanks for this post.

  4. I really needed to read that! Thanks Courtney! Can I link it to my page?

  5. Sarah,

    Feel free to link to this post. BTW, it baffled me to see Dorothy sitting and eating solid foods on your last post. I can’t believe she’s old enough to do any of that yet. Time flies!


    I’m glad you mentioned something I meant to put in the post–the irony of feeling free to criticize your own children but then getting upset if others do. The extent of my sinful heart never ceases to amaze me.

  6. amen, courtney. i’m so glad you wrote about this. i do the v. same thing! i focus on how dramatic ruby is..instead of how passionate she is about things. thank you so much for writing from yr heart/listening to yr spirit. it’s touched me this morning!


  7. hey courtney. this is such a neat story, and very convicting. I just remembered how many times I have “commented” to others on Kilee Anne’s shortcomings rather than what a blessing she is! Thanks for sharpening me by sharing what God’s doing in your heart.

    By the way, I got my Pampered Chef invite tonight and I would love to come, but I am starting to tutor on Monday nights starting next week and can’t make it. I hope you all have a wonderful time!


  8. wow….that really hit home!!!

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