Think back in time when words from someone you looked up to had an impact in your life. Negative or positive.
As a five-year-old I was staying the weekend with grandpa and grandma. As a five-year-old, for some reason I was fascinated with the toilet. I began placing tissue into the mouth of the porcelain monster and would flush it all down with excitement. Until I put too much tissue in and it did not flush…it began to overflow! Afraid that I had broken the toilet I ran and hide under the bed in the next room. Moments passed by until I heard the scream of my grandma as she entered the bathroom. Grandpa came in and saw the mess. Upon their realization, I was nowhere to be found. The frantic cries of my name filled the house. I could see from under my bed the feet of my grandparents going back and forth in the hallway. Then my grandpa stopped in front of my room. I watched his feet with anticipation as he opened the closet door and then made his way to the edge of the bed. He knelt down and I could hear his voice with relief yet frustration, “Get out of there!”. By this time, I was crying and scared. After admitting to my act of curiosity, my grandpa picked me up, hugged me and said the following, “All you had to do was come to me, I love you.” And with that he gave me the biggest hug. Forty-five years later his words and action still ring loud in my life. I have used his action and words so many times throughout my life. As a pastor to share God’s loving grace. And when my children plugged the toilet the first time, the memories flooded my mind as I too hugged my child and said “It’s all right….”
As a ten-year-old I remember when I was driving with my dad on Super Bowl Sunday, 1977...we were driving home from church. For some reason it was just me and dad. I felt like a big boy because I was riding up in the front with him. I will never forget as he put his hand out and I placed mine into his palm, he then said “I love you.” It was the first time that I had heard those words come out of my father’s mouth. I knew my dad loved me, yet he came from a background that did not communicate to well with loved ones. So for him to say it was probably a moment that extended out of his comfort zone. Yet for me it was a moment that was etched in time. Forty years later I still see it and hear those precious words. As a father that moment flooded my memory when my children were born and I promised them and myself…” They will hear and know the words ‘I love you’.”
I share these two moments in my life to make this point…the words of a parent can change the course of history for their child. It can change the course of the family tree!
Maybe you experienced words that beat you up. Words that caused pain or doubt in yourself. You have a family now, and those very words hold you down from pouring into your children. The words have festered and actions have been taken out on your family. Maybe it’s the heaviness of life and the pressures of supporting a family that have silenced the words you truly want to say. Whatever the obstacle that gets in the way of speaking into your children’s life…hear the word of the Lord as he speaks promises to the Israelites in their time of judgement and despair:
“For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens? Who is God? Who formed the earth and made it? Who has established it? Who did not create it in vain? Who formed it to be inhabited? I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret…In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.” Isaiah 45:18-19 (NKJV)
Let us not forget that the Lord can remove the pain and despair from our past lives. He can give peace when chaos rules the day. If God who created the heavens. Formed the earth and made it. Formed all inhabitants of earth. Is not a God who hides the answers of salvation and hope in secret, yet speaks truth and righteousness. Has given us salvation through Christ. How much more does God have to do to prove that He can transform us into something greater?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV).
Do not hide the words of the Lord that can bring joy and healing to your children. Do not hide the words that speak truth and blessings into their life. Do not hide the words that can etch a memory that will last a life time! Be transformed by the renewing of the mind which will present those around you what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God. Where does the renewing of the mind take place? Where does the transformation begin? Through His Word (the Bible)! Through His Word our minds are transformed to reflect the love and grace of God which in return is presented to our children through our words and actions. Do not hide the words that can speak life into the future of your children!
Ways to Speak into your Child's Life
Take the Headphones Off!
Forgive me if I sound condescending. This comes from years of “Drop Off Duty” at school. Mom and Dad tell your kids ...no headphones in the car! It’s sad seeing students dropped off with the headphones on. Or pulling up to a car at the traffic light, and the kid is in the passenger seat with his/her head phones on. Please stop!!!! What a great time to speak into your child’s life. Conversation takes place. Wisdom can be shared! We had a rule in the car, no head phones when driving around town. On long trips it was acceptable, once we got on the freeway. Making the demand that headphones are not acceptable sets the premise that our time is important, even in the car on our way to school or to run an errand. It’s a great time to listen to music together, sometimes even talk radio. As my youngest finished high school a few years back, I remember her sharing how she was going to miss our drives home together. College was going to change everything, yet still today when we get together we will turn on the music and have a concert of two! Try this.....at the end of the day when you pick your child up or even before going to bed, ask them this: “Share with me one exciting thing that happened to you today.” Of course they will probably say “Nothing.” But do not let that stop you, repeat, “Share with me one exciting thing that happened to you today, whatever it is. I’m not leaving until I get one, no matter how stupid it is.” As it becomes easier and easier, eventually the routine will be set in place to start a conversation that opens doors for you to speak into your children. Guess what? There will be moments that your children will start the conversation, “Mom/Dad share with me something exciting that happened to you today.” Take the headphones off mom and dad. Yes, there will be some resistance at first, but the more you engage into your child’s life the easier it will be.
Pray with your children
I believe there is no greater comfort in knowing that mom or dad are praying for you. Not only saying it, but doing it! Meaning, taking the time to ask, “I how can I pray for you today?” If you have a preschooler-elementary child, lead your child in prayer by saying, “Let’s pray…”. If you have a pre-teen or teenager, lead your child in prayer by asking them their need for the day. Prayer allows our children not only see our humility towards God but hear the very words that cry out, “Lord we need you…”
Find a Verse that Speaks to the heart of your Child
Both of my girls are very unique in their personalities and the way they do life. That is to be expected! Yet in reading God’s Word (the Bible), passages would speak to the very core of my being. God’s Word strengthens me as a husband and a father. As the girls grew into their own personalities I would come across a passage that described them. As a father the passage became my prayer for my girls, that God would shape and mold them for His glory. That their lives would be a reflection of God’s grace and hope through Christ. When the girls became a pre-teen I shared with them daddy’s verse for them. It opened up another door to share God’s faithfulness to my children as they heard the Word of God be spoken upon them. To this day, their passage is hi-lighted in my Bible, for every time I come across it, a prayer is given.
Reaching the next generation together!
His call. His gift to you. Your purpose. Irrevocable.
God sees all the things we don’t, even the deepest hearts of political party leaders. I’ve been thinking lately about Romans 1: When people do not honor God or thank him, He “gives them over” to the consequences of their futile thinking and poor choices.
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