The world tells our children who they are and who they are not, in a hurry. It begins as early as the playground, the basketball team, the classroom. It crushes harder with social media and magazines. They become teens and then adults who struggle to know their value, their worth. They often wonder if they are enough.
But what if we, as their mothers, had the power to change that? What if we became intentional about building our children up in truth, about reminding them of their true identity, about speaking life-giving words over their hearts and minds? What if you became deliberate about helping your children know their worth?
Last weekend I had the rare treat of hanging out with just my oldest son for the afternoon. One on one time is hard to come by in our bustling household and this boy, a freshly minted 11 year old, gets most of his one on ones with his dad. But Saturday is was just him and me.
Our time together was nothing flashy, but rather the mundane of running errands. We were looking for a new dresser; grabbing office supplies and household needs.
I apologized for the boring errands our date consisted of and warned him that Hobby Lobby was next on my list when he surprised me and said, “Oh, I actually kind of like Hobby Lobby”.
“Yeah, they have all kinds of cool pictures and stuff for my room and you know me, I’m a pack rat anyway.”
I stopped short for a minute. “A pack rat? Who told you that?”
“You did, mom.”
The silence was weighty as I realized, he was right. I did. I told him that.
When he wanted to keep that box from his favorite Lego set he received 2 years ago, I told him that. When I have found numerous odd and bizarre momentos in his bedroom, I have told him that. Those times his room is a mess and he can’t seem to part with anything, I have tossed that label out there like a blanket and he has slowly wrapped himself right up in it, claiming it as his own. And there was no denying it came straight from me. I told him he is a pack rat.
Listening to this podcast recently I was convicted. My children, and yours as well, are uniquely gifted. They were created with distinct talents. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. And sometimes, in the struggle of real life and sharing space, in the mess of motherhood and household management, I fail to see it. Those very gifts can make us a little crazy – we find them annoying or they wear on our nerves, particularly when they are gifts that don’t quite match our own.
I am decidedly not sentimental. When I was in 6th grade my mom spent hours creating for me one of those lacey crocheted vests that were all the rage. I know that really doesn’t sound awesome right now, but I promise it was cool. Trust me on this.
Anyhow, she spent hours crafting that vest for me and I was thrilled to wear it. But, by the time fall was over the styles changed, my tastes changed and I tossed that vest in the yard sale pile. A little later when my mom found it, well, I clearly remember her wanting to toss me in the yard sale pile.
I’ve always been a tosser rather than a keeper, but somehow, I birthed a keeper. God gave me a keeper – a boy who has an incredible memory that has wowed me since he was 3, a boy who was born with a naturally kind and grateful heart, who truly appreciates gifts and memories, one who loves to reminisce and cherishes our family stories.
And I minimized him to a pack rat.
I hate those words, friends. Death and life are in the tongue and I am as guilty as anyone, but God gave me the gift of seeing it all with my very own eyes while I still have time to correct it.
So where do we begin?
Recognize your child’s gifts.
The truth is, nearly every trait that occasionally annoys us about our children is directly related to their God given strengths. That strong willed child can be a valiant fighter for truth. That slow and careful child will see details the movers and shakers may never see. That shy and quiet one may hear more, discern more and eventually speak the wisdom this world needs to hear.
And do you know what our job is as their mothers? To grow that. To speak life to that. Our job as mothers is to incubate the unique seeds of life our children are growing, not to simply see them all as weeds.
This is the truth your child needs to hear you speak.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
You can do all things with Christ’s strength. (Phillippians 4:13)
You can do hard things. (Romans 8:37)
You are seen, known, protected and called by name. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
You are forever loved. (Jeremiah 31:3)
As a mother, I want my words to be life and hope. I long to speak truth over my children, to grow their gifts and encourage their strengths, but it doesn’t happen when I’m simply calling out their weaknesses.
God, help me to control my sharp tongue and short sighted heart.
I’m committed to speaking God’s truth aloud over my children, that they might leave my home knowing exactly who they are, fitted in a firm foundation of their worth.
So very much more than a pack rat.
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