“God…gives life to the dead and speaks of things that don’t yet exist as if they are real.” Romans 4:17 ERV
“You may speak but a word to a child, and in that child, there may be slumbering a noble heart which shall stir the Christian Church in years to come.” Charles Spurgeon
My kids never quite fit into any mold. As a matter of fact, I had the ones (particularly one) that would always get into trouble everywhere we went. I was usually the mom leaving the play-group with a crying child and who felt discouraged and sad because going places with this child was so hard! My Christie was the one who constantly had to touch every little thing she saw. She frequently had her little toe right on the edge of the line that you told her not to cross. And to make matters worse, she possessed more energy than any other child I had ever known, and this energy kept going and going until the very last moment when we put her to bed at night. Oh, I’m still tired just thinking about it!
But you know what I learned? God made Christie hugely curious, not the normal curious but the curious that constantly wanted to learn and engage her brain. The only problem is that sometimes it came across as disobedience because I could barely keep up with her. She appeared to frequently challenge me, when in reality, she just wanted to keep going, learning more and was rarely content to sit on her laurels. She needed constant activity and stimulation for her little growing brain. The world would label her strong-willed, and I was often exasperated in trying to control her. Oh, how I wish I would have understood her better when she was little and given her more grace and patience.
My mama heart prayed for my little girl, and I cried out to God day and night for help and wisdom. During this time, my husband was reading The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge. Through this book, he became aware of the power of focusing on the good in people and seeing them as they could become, not as they presently are. We both agreed to apply this principle of speaking of things that don’t yet exist as if they are real (Romans 4:17 ERV) to our daughter. Our words have power and can show our faith or lack of it. My daughter was not well behaved all the time, but we began to treat Christie like she was the sweet, godly, purpose-driven person she could become. I believe this one habit changed our relationships with our daughter and set the stage for the beautiful, close relationship we all enjoy as a family now.
Thankfully, God gave my husband and me wisdom each day to know how to change our old habits and speak “life” into our children. He gave us the strength, patience, and perseverance we needed to raise up our children for Him, and He can give you everything you need to be the best parents for your children too. Pray daily for your children and for you and your husband to see their hearts and accept them the way God made them. If speaking kind, edifying words doesn’t come naturally to you, ask God for the words to say to build them up. Lean into your heavenly Father and try to give grace as much as possible.
Start to speak life to your children as much as possible, even in the little things. Say things like “You are so kind! That was so sweet of you to let your sister have the big chair” or “You are so trustworthy! Thank you for waiting for Mommy to help you cross the street.” When your child makes a mistake, call their attention to it, discipline them as quickly as possible, and move on. Don’t drag out your discipline! Take care of things before Daddy gets home. Don’t make poor Dad come home to a house of turmoil and stress. Lastly, let your children know you forgive them and that Mommy and Daddy make lots of mistakes too. Most people, including children, will rise to what’s expected of them.
Oh, and if you happen to have a Christie, take heart. They are wonderful blessings! My Christie is now happily married to an amazing, godly man, and they both love Jesus with their whole hearts. She graduated with a computer science degree, devours several books at a time, and is still curious and loves to learn. She is also a patient, attentive, and kind-hearted mom.
I have decided that I am so happy my children didn’t fit the mold. Life is just so much more interesting this way!
Faith-Filled Idea: Pick a Hymn for Your Child
Do you have a difficult child? Instead of complaining about him or her to your friends, pray instead. Ask God to give you a list of encouraging words you can speak over each child. Write them in your journal and use them to “call forth” the possibilities in your child’s life or your situation. Pick a hymn for your child and sing it to them. Frame it and hang it in their room as a special declaration.