Awakened by rustling in the bathroom next door and the clank of decor swinging on a bedroom door, I roll out of my bed, slide my feet into slippers, then throw an old sweatshirt over my pajamas so I can go straight to getting breakfast ready before the 7am bus. During the breakfast prep, I slide a horse-sized vitamin down my throat with a glass of water. A biblical teacher once taught me to visualize dressing myself with the following Colossians passage as if each attribute were clothes to put on in the the morning but never before have I realized how much I need this spiritual clothing, or daily vitamin, as to address my attitude, language and heart as I parent.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Graced with a unique cross-section of parenting, my home and heart embrace teen, tween, elementary-age and infant. Different stages, personalities and temperaments require a diverse set of needs and training. Each golden head requires a varied amount of endurance, creativity and energy on part and I deeply desire to respond to every encounter with a godly attitude; one of those listed in the Colossians 3 passage. Truthfully, I fail miserably mostly. But sometimes, by God's grace, the Holy Spirit speaks louder than my selfishness.
Angered by the waking baby in the middle of the night, I mutter to this crying infant, "Why can't you just sleep? Momma wants to sleep!" In that moment of frustration, I am convicted by the Holy Spirit, Put on compassion. After all, he's just a baby.
Skirting past middle schoolers in the morning kitchen as they rant and rummage through cupboards assembling lunches. I'm just trying to make my way to that glorious first cup of black coffee. I'm tempted to snap, "Can't you be less messy? Fight less? Bicker less? And could you stop slamming the cupboard doors?" Again the Holy Spirit nips on my heels, Bear with one another. 
A hungry, snappy 9-year old claims she "can't load the dishwasher because it's just too hard." I want to yell, "You'll load the dishwasher because I said so!" The Spirit's voice says, Meekness (humility) is not demanding what is rightfully yours: help in the kitchen before a crazy night of taxiing three kids after you've just made the entire meal. Rather in patience, teach her how in a moment of non-conflict. (I admit, I have to get back to that teaching part...)
The most important vitamins I can take are the virtues of Colossians 3. How do we take these one-a-days? I must daily ask the Holy Spirit for these attitudes so that I can respond in holiness to each parenting encounter. It's not about trying harder but letting God in the person of the Holy Spirit work through you. In essence, praying that I take a compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and love daily vitamin, is inviting the Holy Spirit into my day, setting my mind on the things of the Spirit (Romans 8:5) and letting Him work in me (Colossians 1:29).
After inviting the Holy Spirit into my life, I can naturally " thankful," (Colossians 3:15b) for these family moments that sanctify me and give me opportunities to die to myself and live to Christ. And I am thankful for the words of the apostle Paul that instruct my attitude while I train them in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). 
When I desired to become a parent, it never crossed my mind that it would be my chance to grow in holiness. Did you think of this? My mind went to teaching them diligently the words of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Yes, this is biblical but I have overlooked the sanctifying work in motherhood.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16
If seeking the words of the Lord in scripture were not part of my daily routine like taking a multi-vitamin, would I hear the Holy Spirit convicting me of my sinful attitudes? This is how the message of Christ dwells in me richly during these days of parenting: teaching, advising and encouraging these children every day in every activity in every word and action.
Maybe you're not in the throws of parenting, but where are you? God sanctifies us in every stage of life. Where in your life could you be reminded to take compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and love vitamins? Let these words from the Apostle Paul dwell in you richly this week as you set out on the course God has called you.

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