Week 2 of The Gentleness Challenge

As I read through the hundreds of comments that came in on last Monday’s post (the start of The Gentleness Challenge), I saw so many emotions of guilt, regret, defeat, and even received some emails filled with despair.

I want to say that there is hope – there is hope for all of us.  You have taken the first step in making true change by calling sin, sin.  When we lose our temper and spout off angry words and lectures at our children – we are sinning.

The second step is to not remain isolated and stagnet in your struggle.   When we are isolasted, we become vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks.  Having accountability with  this community here at Women Living Well will strengthen you – you are not alone!  Sally Clarkson says: 

Just by showing up here to read today’s post you have completed steps one and two.  Now this week we are onto step three.

This Oak tree stands in our front yard and it will tenaciously hold its dead leaves all through the winter. When spring arrives, the new buds will begin to appear and THEN the leaves will fall to the ground.

As I look at those dead leaves, I am reminded of all the fruitless words I’m tempted to use under pressure.  It’s not a pretty sight!  It’s amazing how running late can make me lose all discernment with my mouth!  Like the Oak tree, until I create new life in the space the dead thing holds, I will never change. The Oak tree shows us how adding in something new – pushes out the old.

To break the cycle of sin in our lives we must add in the virtue of gentleness, by default the old vice will be replaced.

For some – this cycle of sin did not start with your generation.  Maybe you had a mom who yelled or criticized you regularly and your mom had a mom who yelled and criticized her regularly and now you are repeating that cycle with your children.   There may be a strong hold in your family.  We cannot do this on our own. We need the transforming power of God within us to make us new.

 2 Corinthians 5:17 says: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

What is the newness that we walk in?

 Galatians 5:22,23 says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Our Assignment for the week: I encourage you this week to smile more, hug more, SLOW DOWN, listen, take a deep breath.  When you feel like screaming – whisper.  Pray pray and then pray some more.  Take time to write out, meditate and memorize the 2 verses above, as you pursue gentleness.






Walk with the King!



  1. Thanks again for posting these videos and being faithful in helping us Moms become who God truly created us to be. I am embracing gentleness!

  2. Thank you for your post! I definitely need help. I have noticed too that my son will mirror my mood and get more and more agitated as I get more agitated. The louder I speak the more agitated he becomes too. So this week I will try to whisper whenever I feel like getting louder and pause to breath before I react. Lord, give me strength and the fruit of the Spirit.

  3. Hello. I just wanted to say thank you. This challenge means a lot to me and my family. See I chose to do.this challenge and shared your first post with my husband. It moved him to take the challenge too. While this in itself is great you need to know my husband has fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. The wear and tear of life gets to him quicker because every minute is a challenge. THANK YOU!

  4. I cannot begin to express to you how grateful I am for this challenge. And for me IT IS A CHALLENGE.
    I told my hubby that I was taking this challenge and begged him to remind of it when he saw I was close to losing it. And he did, and it helped. I have whispered more this week than I think I ever have! These next couple weeks are going to be ESPECIALLY challenging for me because my hubby is gone for work for 2 1/2 weeks. And my goal is to just be super gentle and kind and loving this week!
    Thank you again for this. I so need it!!!!!

  5. Thanks again for an inspiring post Courtney.

    To be honest I only skimmed over week one’s post.
    God has still been able to do something within me though. I have become a lot more aware when I am not talking to any member of my household the way I should be.
    The first step has been taken.

    These verses will help me and I thank God for them.

  6. I love what Melissa wrote about whispering when she feels like getting louder. I actually just practiced that. I had such a frustrating morning with my 3 year old and baby. I just feel so overwhelmed trying to meet their basic needs when they both need me at the same time. So my 3 year old is potty trained and I sent him to the bathroom and he peed everywhere (1st time since he’s been trained- over a month). I had just finished a very trying time of feeding my fussy baby and then I walk in and it’s wet everywhere. But I decided that I need to break that cycle and just very calmly I handled the situation. Thank you, Lord! I love those verses and I actually have a Seeds Family Worship album with the Fruit of the Spirit song that I will be singing.

  7. Joining this challenge has helped me to be more aware of how I’m speaking to my son this past week. I’m generally not a “yeller,” but somehow when I’m extra exasperated with this precious gift of a son God has given me, I sometimes find myself raising my voice more than necessary, or using tones of voices or body language that are not helpful in the situations or a good example to him. I’m thankful for the accountability here.

  8. I must say, I have failed miserably this week. I am at least aware of it more now. Trying to stop before I lose my temper when speaking to the boys. I find that my tone is not very good most of the time. Praying for more awareness before I open my mouth not after.

  9. I have noticed in the past week how often I say things I shouldn’t and that are defeating to my sweet babies. I didn’t realize how often until I had this challenge in mind. Thank you so much Courtney! My family thanks you!

  10. I was aware today that even before someone starts losing it with their mouth in my house, the others can perceive the edginess. We are trying to make each other aware quickly when an edginess is detected, because that other person is not usually aware that they are becoming louder, or harsher, impatient, or critical, etc. because it starts off as such a subtle change….but it’s amazing how it changes literally the feel of the very atmosphere around us. I think most of us don’t want to become grumpy and lose it, we just don’t stop it soon enough before it gets out of control. Your suggestions are great. Look forward to more.

  11. Thank you again, for this wonderful opportunity! My kids have really pushed me to the limits this week, but I am trying to remember to whisper when I want to yell and I am slowly trying to eliminate so much nagging with more praise.

  12. “Like the Oak tree, until I create new life in the space the dead thing holds, I will never change. The Oak tree shows us how adding in something new – pushes out the old.”.. this quote really speaks to me.!
    Thank you Courtney…your Gentleness challenge came right in Time & in line with Jesus Christ whispering to my broken heart of Suicide loss.
    You have no idea how much that statement penetrates deeply into my soul tonight..
    Bee Blessed sister in Christ!

  13. Thank you for this; one of my goals for the new year is to change how I speak to my girls as well as my husband. I don’t like how I speak to my girls when I get frustrated, tired, angry or am just having a bad day and I have seen how that is rubbing off on them, especially on with my oldest. Already I have seen this helping me as I have been making a conscience effort to speak more softly and lovingly to them and to not yell when I am angry.

  14. Accountability for me is the key. Knowing that other moms are in the same boat as me encourages me so much!! We’re still not settled from our move and it seems like uprooting everyone has caused bitterness in all of us! This challenge is helping me remember that I’m getting no where from yelling and bickering!

  15. I’m taking the gentleness challenge and making some BIG changes around here! I’m anticipating that 2012 is going to be a great year, and I’m seeking God’s grace to grow me and change me into a more gentle, tender mama to my two little ones. I’m writing the weekly challenge down on my fridge, and thanks to your Bible study tips, I’ve highlighted every scripture reference that I could find that references temper or tongue. THIS is the year that I want true transformation in ME, taming my temper and tongue and molding me into the mom (and wife) that HE wants me to be!

  16. Thank you for the encouragement of hope! I come from a family where anger is something we struggle with. Thank you for saying there is hope!
    I am excited about this weeks challenge and verses!
    Oh, and I love the idea of those ” joy stories” 🙂

  17. Well I think I did horribly this week, I didnt yell as loud but I still yelled. But what changed for me was in the middle of my reaction its like I knew I was being tested. The problem was I was still sinning. I do think I prayed more for God to help me with my anger and reactions. I also come from an upbringing where I was lectured, labeled, and analysed. So I realize now that in order to break this cycle I will need God and His word. I am different because I am new through Christ.

  18. I have 2 children, the oldest is a red haired 4 yr old girl with a Very independant spirit, the youngest is a boy, 3 months old. For the past 2 yrs we have had no church to attend so having all the others support/ accountability n reading their struggles/victories is a huge encouragement to me…. I also like that you shared about there maybe being a strong hold in the family….i always had this vision that I would never yell or lose my temper with MY dear children…. when all a sudden I woke up and in horiffying shock saw myself doing n being exactly wat i had determined I would never be and do … just like my Mom and Dad! I can’t tell you in words the grief and yea, panic I felt! i really prayed and sought God n He showed me that it was a generational strong hold/ family curse that i inherited …. I broke that strong hold in the name of Jesus, and I have been free of it… I do still struggle with being impatient and loosing my temper at times …. the devil sure knows my weak areas… since I started this Gentleness Challenge last week all was going so well … till Saturday… I’ve found that one big thing that helps me is apologizing to her when i do something wrong… like getting impatient … or just holding my tongue when a situation presents itself… its encouraging when I even SEE the look of surprise on her face when I dont explode like I would have normally… The devil doesnt like what we are doing and will be very diligent so let’s pray earnestly for each other! Thank you so much for YOUR prayers and may God bless each one this week also! -jenn

  19. For me, the final straw was when my 2 Year Old son, who is learning how to speak mirrors his words in tone and inflection, just how I and my husband speak. I was crying inside realizing that I was repeating the same patterns that I had grown up with (and my husband) and that they had probably grown up with. I remember always telling myself (nner vow – not good!) that I would never do these things to my children because I remember how it made me feel. Alas, here I am doing these exact things that I never imagined I would do.

    So when I found your blog last week, it simply brought me to tears, as an answered prayer from the Lord! Literaly! My prayer has been to walk in greater gentelness towards my children. I haven’t even told my husband about this challenge. But it’s so awesome because he is becoming a “Gentleness Convert” as well! LOL Just by me making a conscience effort to focus on God’s Word in this area and applying it to my children, my husband is doing the same!

    You know, 1 Peter 3 talks about a wife winning her husband to Christ. Though my husband is saved and lives a Godly life, I think we can still win them to Christ daily, so they can grow in Him! It even talks about the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.


    I am seeing this manifested in my life right now! God’s Word is truly powerful

    Thank you so much for your ministry! I praise God for all he is allowing you to do through it!

  20. I want to thank you so much for starting this challenge. I think there are so many women out there facing this situation!!!! I know I used to, but I am still joining this challenge. I have been a yeller since my first child was born. In the last few years, I have been able to control the volume and words that come out of my mouth – so I am here to tell you there is hope!!!!!!! I am still joining this challenge because there is still an issue I need to address – my tone. I have managed to control the volume and words that I use, but I still tend to use my “mean mommy” tone when talking to my children – especially when I feel stressed. I want to be able to gently discuss things with my kids – not meanly lecture them. That is my goal throughtout this year!!!!! Thank you for leading the way and empowering so many to stand up and change!!!! Staci

  21. I am taking the challenge Courtney and it has been truly amazing! I am learning so much about myself and my parenting. I never realized how badly I was doing things! My tone of voice is quite ridiculous at times and I thank you so much for this challenge!

  22. I just want to say thank you for starting this challenge. This is an area that I struggle with daily, weekly, monthly, yearly…you get my point. You’re so very right about how we often mirror what we were exposed to in childhood. That couldn’t be more truer for me. I struggle daily to overcome those memories and hurdles. So thank you from the bottom of my heart…your blog has truly given me inspiration and something to work on and for. Have a blessed day!

  23. Thank you so much for starting this series….it couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I found it interesting and helpful that you encourage us to begin the new habit of gentleness to squeeze out the old habit of anger. That seems so much more “do-able” than trying to completely eliminate the old habit before starting the new one; which seems more like the method self-help books will use. I am looking forward to putting these techniques into place this week! Be Blessed!

  24. I do pray that alll involved in the challenge will “overcome” the need to yell or get stressed in the home. As far as gentleness goes, I don’t have a problem with my son in this area and I think it is because I know how it feels to have yelling in the house. My parents did not argue or yell at me often BUT when it did happen (if they were yelling at each other) it made me feel VERY AFRAID. I don’t want my son to have fear that is why I am taking the challenge to be more gentle in the way I speak to everyone in (and not in) the company of my son. FEAR is a terrible way to live and our behavior in the home and as parents really does translate into our children’s lives. So even if you don’t feel you need this challenge because you are gentle with your kids, ARE you being gentle in all aspects of your life and are your kids seeing this? Just my thoughts.

  25. I have stumbled upon your site through Tracis’
    Ordinary Inspirations for the everyday Wife, Mommy, & Homemaker. AND BOY DID I NEED THIS! I am here to take this challange, put it to heart and get ride of the angryness and bitterness I have been showing. I tend to stress so much over everything and when the stress is high it comes out at my kiddos. Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. Courtney,…..when i say these posts are leaving me speechless (humbled, convicted, broken, encouraged, aware, etc.), I mean it. Such a unique feeling of sadness and encouragement all blended together. THANK YOU for bringing this topic into the light and grace of God and His word. The Sally quote is incredible. And your tree analogy….Courtney, it’s TERRIFIC for making your point clear to us. Now to recite those verses throughout my coming week. I’m so glad you are walking in obedience to God’s call to ministry.

  27. I find that I begin to be more ‘short-tempered’ with my children is when I spend less time with them, by either being on the computer too long or am too busy with household chores. I made a point this weekend to spend lots of time with my two kiddos and their behavior AND mine were so greatly improved! Not that mom’s don’t need a break every now and then, but I when I am not ‘present’ with them mentally I end up being more easily angered and snappy. My goal this week is to try and include them more in my every day tasks and letting them know how important they are in the everyday.

  28. I am taking the gentleness challenge. I home school. I feel like I’m raising my voice with my kids all the time.

  29. This is SO in line with what the Lord has been doing in my life over this past year! I am so blessed by God’s faithfulness to bring me to this site so I could enjoy the encouragement, challenge and iron sharpening! I have felt so defeated in this area of my life and so ashamed to even talk with anyone about it. I can talk about the surface issues, ‘oh yeah, I lost my temper a bit’, ‘I raised my voice and yelled instead of gentleness’, but never the root causes…family history, personal pain, sin and selfishness. I have felt very alone in this sin in my life, that no mother is as bad as I am, or could possibly feel the way I feel sometimes towards my children. But as Courtney said it today that is perfect grounds for the enemy to steal, kill and destroy. My prayer is the Lord would give healing, and also like-minded friends I can be open with and trust. I am so desperate for the Lord to change me, cause there is nothing good in me, only Him! Thank you Courtney for sharing this!

  30. I am so excited about this challenge because I have a history of losing my cool under stress. Now that I have children, it’s extremely important for me to exercise self-control and give grace. My prayer for the new year is that the Lord will make me a channel of grace, not only to my children, but also to my husband. I believe this blog came to me as the first part of the answer to that request. Thank you for inviting us into this challenge. I’m excited about how the Lord will work in all of us participating over the course of the year!

  31. Well, just as with any new Christ-based effort I take on, Satan has been testing me! My two year old daughter has suddenly begun screaming at my at the top of her lungs within the past week. Joy! So, that has provided me with PLENTY of opportunity to practice the fruits of the Spirit. It’s very challenging but I am trying my best to react as little as possible when she is reacting and to address her calmly afterward to explain to her that her screaming is upsetting to me and hurts my and Jesus’ hearts. I ask her how she could make mommie and Jesus feel better. She immediately says, “I sorry Mommie.” I think it’s more of a game for her right now but I am hoping that by explaining to her the affect her screaming has on me and Jesus it will help her to understand that she should want to be kind and please him just as much as me, if not more. Also, to help her understand the consequences of her actions. Who knows…I guess only time will tell 🙂 God Bless!

  32. Wow, Thank you WLW for this challenge. I just want to encourage all mommies to really also think about the tone of your voice. I am no longer a yeller but my kids have pointed out how mean I sound. And nothing gets your attention like a 13 y. old using such an ugly tone and saying she was just taking like you. Please also be aware if your kids are older they will not accept the change in Mommy as easily. I am so dumbfounded by the fact that the calmer I remain the more worked up my oldest gets. Like she’s testing to see if I will actually fly off the handle and is looking for that old pattern. And it makes id much harder to remain calm when they are pushing bottons. But pray and don’t give satan that foot hold. Stay consistent with disapline but calm and it will pay dividens. Thank you again Courtney for your encouragement and dedication to women and moms!

  33. Thank you for your encouragement and challenge. I am really taking this to heart and am working very hard at being more gentle with my 2 precious boys. I have even said out loud, “Mommy is trying to stay very calm and use a gentle voice right now and I need you to…” I love the strategies and challenge you gave us for this week. Whispering really worked this morning. And praying over my 2 year old when he was reluctant for nap time today worked too. Thank you for your awesomeness!

  34. Courtney,
    Your challenge could not have come at a better time then NOW. This is something I’ve been struggling with, and it’s encouraging knowing I’m “not the only one” struggling with using gentle words, and sweet speech. It is truly a “God Thing” because this is one of my goals for the new year. :0) Thank you!

  35. God truly is so amazing, I happen to stumble upon this post as I was reading some updates from other bloggers that I follow on FB. I seen the gentleness challenge and was struck by the fact that this is exactly what I have been praying about. I also, like many others, grew up in a home where my mom was constantly yelling at me and calling me names and telling me how ignorant I was every time I made a mistake which was constantly. That being said I have been praying that the Lord would help me not repeat the cycle. Today, I chose not to yell at my son even when I was frustrated with him for yelling in my ear, getting paint all over the bathroom after art and trying to tell me how to do things. Instead I paused and prayed and asked the Lord to help me correct in a more gentle and loving way. It turns out that my son listens and response better when I do it God’s way as opposed to yelling. I pray that as we work on this challenge daily we not only grow our hearts closer to the Lord but that our children’s hearts grow closer to Him as well.

  36. Thank you so much for doing this! I wrote the two verses down in my notebook to memorize. This challenge is really important to me and I want to make sure I don’t follow the same patterns as my mother with my children.

  37. I am excited about this challenge. My children are older and I have been a yeller most of the time. It takes alot to get me to that point, but when I do it is not good. My oldest is 12 and I have an 18 yr old boy. I have seen a change in my daughters reaction to me over the past week. We went camping this past weekend and without any distractions it was a great weekend. I pray God will help me continue to recognize my actions and the changes that need to be made. Thanks for helping me see how this was hurting both my children.

  38. Courtney, Thank you so much for sharing more of The Gentleness Challenge. I am really in need of this right now, really in need of prayer. I have been less patient with my children lately, quicker to raise my voice in anger and lecture until I’m blue in the face… your challenge motivates and inspires me to do better and set a more patient, loving example for my children.

  39. I couldn’t wait to get to read today’s gentleness challenge. I just finished watching the Made to Crave webcast earlier and have been pondering it as well as reading here. A quote for Lysa Terkeurst tonight was “Exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world.” That spoke to me so highly because I feel like I shout at my children all the time. I want my reaction to be Christ like and for my children to see His love through me, so maybe by whispering with God before reacting to my children will help me with that.

  40. I have been noticing {as well as my husband} that I am reacting like my mother. I am learning how to respond and react. It takes everything in me sometimes but today, turned out good! Tonight, I raised my voice but did not yell. I am still disappointed for raising my voice but so proud of myself for keeping my cool the rest of the day! I am so thrilled about this challenge bc it is falling at a time when I have been struggling and noticing this flaw in myself!! Thank you ladies!!

  41. The Judy Rogers song below (from http://judylyrics.klsoaps.com/G2tA.html) has been on my heart and on my lips so much since beginning the challenge.

    Thank you for all you are doing to encourage moms!

    Oh, the tongue – it can cut like a knife!
    Oh, the tongue can ruin an innocent life
    Stop! Think about, think about the way that you say the things that you say
    Oh, the tongue can encourage a friend
    Or the tongue can cause a friendship to end
    What will you say today?
    What will you say today? – with your tongue

  42. Thank you so much for this! I really need this. It’s funny that you said, “SLOW DOWN”. When I am rushing is when I see myself slip into anger more easily. Last week, I was always telling myself to slow down. I loved that I heard it here too. Thank you again. 🙂

  43. I have been trying to take more deep breaths and just listen more. It is crazy how one thing that goes wrong can change your whole attitude and you tend to want to loose it. Thanks for sharing and giving us somewhere we can support one another,Courtney!

  44. I just opened an e-mail that my mother sent me. We had spent LOTS of time together over Christmas and had some discussions about me, losing my temper with my daughter. I am the single mother of a five year old little girl and a two year old little boy. I get so worn out with him that I wind up taking it out on her. I HATE that I do that! And yet I find myself doing it again and again. This morning I saw this e-mail and I went and read through the first two weeks. I’m at work early, and can’t watch the videos until I get home, but I just HAD to comment. This is an answered prayer! Yesterday, I asked God to help me show Him to my children- I prayed that they see Him in my actions and hear Him in my words. And here you all are! I’m SO happy to take part in this!

  45. I’m enjoying the challenge – I was writing my post while my children were all doing something that they shouldn’t have been (I did link up) and while I did yell I was still more stern that I should have been when speaking to them but it’s the small steps right. Only by the Grace of Christ.

  46. Thank you for helping me be accountable for my actions. I raise my voice way too often, and I really want to change that. I am new to your blog, so I know God sent me here for a reason.

  47. I must be doing better – my 7 year old son said “Mom, you haven’t lost your temper for 2 days. You’re doing really good!” Talk about being humbled!!! And when I did lose my temper and give in to yelling, there wasn’t the height of emotion that there usually is. So, I will take my small victories and allow newness to grow to push out the old and hopefully not damage my children while I’m learning a new habit.

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