And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Comparison is rampant in our culture. Social media has made it worse. When there were no messages flooding hearts and minds every day online, when people lived in their homes without commercials, (before television) and without the internet, they were much more likely to be content with the limitations of their lives. They did not expect to have the body of a 20 year old model or actress, or the home of the rich and famous, or the education of a Harvard graduate. They just lived within the limitations of their own culture and home.
And now, children are pushed and pulled, tested way too early, expected to perform well for the sake of the mama’s self image and developing anxiety at far too early of an age.
There was a period of 4 1/2 years when Clay and I did not make a regular salary as we were getting Whole Heart Ministries off the ground. My kids mainly played on the land where I was living with my mother-in-law!!!! But we had devotions, then read a while and they would play out on our land, build forts, run wild, dress up, imagine and pretend the stories we had just read. They were free to be who they were, to live in the grace of a childhood without the confines of cultural expectations.
Giving your child the gift of acceptance for who they were designed to be is one of the most valuable foundations you can provide. If we want our children to be able to embrace their own spiritual convictions and to be able to go against a secular culture, they must first learn to feel comfortable and confident in who they are, as they are.
I came across this blog post I had written a few years ago when several of my children were still living in and sometimes out of our home.
After being away from home for 10 days for Joel’s graduation in Boston, I jumped back into real life because Nathan had joined Clay and Joel for a boys week the last few days Joy and I played. I requested that Nathan stay an extra day so that I could spend the whole day with him before he went back home.
Going out with him for a 3 hour meal was the place where dreams were shared, struggles defined, antics and stories of life were told. I learned many years ago about the importance of really focussing deeply on my children so that we could become best, heart-close friends. Nathan likes to talk, alone, focussed and about everything. He likes to be heard and understood.
And so today, we honored our friendship that had been built from hundreds of hours of doing this together in his young life.
As a mother, mentor I have had to learn to study each child--figure out what they were created to do with their lives, how God made them, what inspired them, what irritated them, what caused them to listen to my teachings about God. In figuring out their hearts, I could fill in their felt needs and be a source of influence in their lives.
Most mamas are taught formulas: treat all children the same, give them the rules, expect them to fit. But God did not make them to fit in conveniently to our expectations of what a person should be. Yet, as a very “out of the box” woman, I knew that my children didn’t need the poison of comparison, but the grace to fully develop into mature individuals within the context of their personalities.
Sarah is a dreamer, introvert, deeply idealistic and artistic about life and a woman of profound and beautiful words.
Joel is also introverted, also idealistic, but a crafter of designs—as a little boy lego cities, now a photographer, writer, composer, a creative.
Nathan is my passionate extravert, lover of life, pretender with costumes, actor, filled to the brim with ideas, thoughts, and needs to express them, very intuitive about life, stories, messages.
Joy is is charming, hysterically funny, spiritual, academic, extravert, driven to action, teacher and confident from the get go.
Two quiet, two verbal processors, but all wonderful. And giving them the gift of affirmation for who God gave them to be helped them to move into their worlds more confident of what story they would play in their world.
Nathan and I wrote this book with the hope that we could help mamas share pictures that would stick in their children’s minds of how very wonderful it is to be unique, a one of a kind design from the hands of God. I hope you will read this to your children, engage them in who they feel they are in the pictures and tell them how much you love them just as they are.
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