I prayed over a friend the other night, a friend I love who has children I know and love. It's one of those friends who sees you more in your jammies than she does in regular clothes, the friend that you honestly don't care when she sees your house a mess, the friend where you walk in her house because you know you are always welcome, the friend that you know will last.
And so when I prayed I found myself resisting the words because I didn't want her to think that I was guiding a big decision that she must make. But I prayed them anyway…….words that were a combination of what I see and, surely, what God sees in her, in her children, in her family.
You see……….my friend?
She is fierce.
She is loyal.
She has a strong voice.
She has a strong sense of justice.
She is one who does not walk away.
Yet her heart breaks easily.
She is easily hurt……..even when she says she isn't :)
She loves much.
And her children?
Not because she has sat them down and taught them these things but because she LIVES these things.
And probably I have said these things before and, most likely, I will say them again. But they matter. It matters that we recognize that our influence comes from our lives. So many times we get caught up in the pretty and the organized and the well said and the lessons taught. There are blogs and websites and debates and OH.MY.WORD. that pinterest (yes, yes, I know it's a good thing and helpful and all that for the healthy and rational………but face it mothers are rarely healthy and rational at all times - guard your hearts against the perfection found on a page, rarely is it reflected in the every day, in the 24/7 business of motherhood :).
And so today as I walked into my girl's room and looked at their dry erase board hanging on the wall……well, I had a moment. One of those mommy moments when I might have cried a happy tear or two and felt that proud swell of my mother's heart. For on their board I saw what they had written…….
"I'm thankful for………."
And their board was beginning to be filled with their thanks. The childish, first time scrawl of my four year old writing "ANNIE" nearly broke me.
And I walked out and saw our "path" in our dining room. I had this GREAT idea from the bible verse "A voice of one calling: 'In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." - Isaiah 40:3 We were going to have quiet time EVERY NIGHT during December, our abiding month and then write things out on our construction paper path………..didn't happen. But it did happen some of the time :) And Nico always has something for me to write on the path.
"Lead on the path by the light of Jesus."
"He will like my gift."
I remember feeling anxious about the not knowing how to TEACH my child to hear from God. I mean it seems such a crazy thing, a far out there type thing and yet it happens. I wanted so much for my kids to experience JESUS and GOD and feel that peace and hear the words.
And it's happening.
Not because of a lecture we gave about hearing God. Not because we sat down and taught a carefully crafted lesson but because we LIVE it and are surrounded by people who live it. They have walked in on prayer times, on adults sitting at the knees of another, praying words that God has given. What seemed slightly weird and kooky to me just a few years ago is regular life to them.
So what's my point?
Don't worry so much.
All around me I see women, men who are ordinary people leading extraordinary lives. They are using the gifts God has given them. There are parents who battle for their kids who are raising kids who know how to fight the good fight and stand up to make a difference. There are parents who treasure and create beauty in their homes and in their lives; they are raising their kids to recognize and value our God as creator. There are parents who give generously with their time, money, lives and these parents - oh kids, please know that every time your mom or dad is away they are wondering how it is affecting you - and they are teaching their kids that "you before me" is the only way to live. There are parents who go to work each day, not loving what they do but loving who they do it for and they are teaching their kids the value of sacrifice and supporting their family.
You are teaching so much.
Your children are learning so much.
I stand in awe of the lives I am able to witness every day.
And I am so encouraged and blessed that my children are able to witness them too.
For I am not everything my friend is - not in the same way.
And that's ok.
We aren't just parents to our own. We belong to one another.
And so I am joyful on this day that together our lives are making a difference. I am joyful that our lives are able to speak for themselves and we don't need to rely on perfectly scripted lessons or perfectly crafted moments. We simply need to rely on Him…….and, well, it helps to have one another.
So thankful for my fierce friend and her not so easily contained heart.
So thankful for the others who have joined us, who are teaching our children how to be generous, how to love well, how to pray, how to stand strong in the word, how to go against the grain when it counts, how to forgive, how to have grace, how to speak truth gently and lovingly, how to experience joy, how to worship, how to have fun, how to be trustworthy, how to work hard and so much more.
You are a gift.
You are part of the reason I don't worry nearly as much as I might have before.
So don't worry so much, just LIVE who you want your children to be.
Oh and it helps if you have some AWESOME people join you along the way………