The Words Your Child Really Needs to Hear

“You’re the best Mom ever!” She proclaims, as she grins and squeezes me with her small arms, and my mama heart expands to near bursting.

“Well, you’re the best daughter ever!” I smile back down at her.

And it’s true. She may be my only daughter at this time, but she is also the best.

It may sound like a simple, sweet exchange between mother and daughter, come and gone in just a few breaths. But I know better. I know these words are building a foundation in her, one sweet word at a time.

I say all the words that need telling because I know she needs to hear those words; I know she needs me to tell them to her.  I know because I need those words, too.

I need the “I love you”s, and the “you’re the best”s, and the “you’re the beautifulest mom ever”s, and the “I missed you”s. If I, a grown woman, need all the words that need telling, how much more does a child need to hear these same words?

So much more. So much more.

They are the words your child really needs to hear.

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So I tell her all the words that need telling – the words about love, the words about like, the words about her character, and the words about her Savior – because she needs to hear all of those important words. She needs to hear them often.

She needs to hear them often.

She may be little now, but soon enough she’ll be heading into her senior year of high school just like her oldest brother. And then she’ll leave for college (Lord-willing), and who will tell her all the words that she needs to hear then?

When she leaves the safety of our home to venture out on her own, she’ll find plenty of messages about how she’s not enough, how she’s no good, how she’s less than.

Those words are enough to crush a person, especially if she lacks a secure foundation.

The Words Your Child Really Needs to Hear

We’ve only a few years, friends, a few short years to speak the words your child really needs to hear.  Only a few years to tell of our love for them.  Only a few years to tell of the Savior’s love, too.

And they need to hear them because love is so central to the Gospel, so important.

That foundation of faith and love (or lack of one) can help determine your child’s life course. Such a foundation is a refuge in life’s storms, a comfort when staring down rejection, a balm when wounded.

The words your child really needs to hear develop a confidence in them that isn’t easily shaken.

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Don’t be shy; don’t hesitate, friend.

Even if the words don’t come naturally to you, tell the words today, the words your child really needs to hear, because we are never guaranteed tomorrow.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut. 11:18-19

Speak words of life to your family today, friend. Make the most of every opportunity.

Tell all the words your child really needs to hear.

Tell Love

and Truth

and Kindness

and Peace.

Don’t wait!

Jen

For When You Just Want to Give Up

It was bound to happen eventually.

I didn’t really have much experience to go on, but it felt like maybe the honeymoon was over, like maybe I just want to give up already.

Like all new ventures in life, blogging was fascinating and exciting at first.

Every page view was cherished, every comment celebrated.

Some days I would check the blog first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.  It’s the truth; I became just a tiny bit obsessed.

Maybe, just maybe, I even made an idol of it, to my shame.

Then somewhere along the line, the new thing stopped being quite so much fun and started to feel more like work, like just another burden to carry.

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Some people may say, it’s just a blog – let it go! But it’s not “just a blog” to me. These words are part of me that I’ve put on display for the world to see.  And there are these nifty little graphs that measure that part of me day by day by day…

And some days they just don’t measure up to what I’d like to see.

Even when they do measure up, no matter how high the bars of the graph reach, there’s this insatiable desire for more.

And the inspiration isn’t always there.

And busy schedules get in the way.

And sometimes…

I just want to give up.

Let’s be honest – it happens to all of us!

When that new baby comes home smelling so sweet, and everyone is exclaiming “how perfect”…

when that new job is so exciting that you just can’t wait to go to work, and people tell you how happy they are to have you there…

when that new ministry that you’ve been planning for and dreaming of finally comes to fruition…

when you make that purchase that you’ve been saving up for and it’s just. so. amazing….

when that mountaintop experience leads you to a faith-high that just can’t be matched…

Inevitably, a valley follows, and you just want to give up.

That perfect baby that slept so well in the hospital cries all night long, night after endless night.

That new job has its own set of challenges.  That new ministry has flaws, too.

That new purchase grows old or outdated.

Thus the mountain gives way to a valley, and those feelings that had us on cloud nine dissipate like mist burned off by the morning sun, so we wish for more.

But friends, our lives are not lived just on the mountain tops.  In fact, those mountain tops most likely add up to a very small part of our faith journey here on Earth.

The truth is that the valleys often naturally follow the mountains, not because anything has changed but because our physiology is built that way.

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Our bodies cannot sustain a constant state of “high,” so we must experience a “low” to bring us back to equilibrium.  Perhaps even more because we were not meant for this imperfect world, so we yearn for something better.

While I know that my faith isn’t meant to be built on feelings, as a woman emotions do come into play!  How often I’ve wished those pesky emotions away even though I know they serve a purpose. :)

So what’s a girl to do when she just gets a case of the blahs and the honeymoon seems to be over?

What’s a girl to do when her daily refrain becomes “I just want to give up”?

She recognizes the valley for what it is – temporary.

She remembers that she is not a citizen of this world.

She blogs/serves/works/mothers anyways because that’s what God led her to do. She loves anyways, she trusts anyways, she clings to His promises anyways, she speaks truth anyways, she leads anyways, and she hopes anyways.

She keeps seeking.

Sometimes she even stumbles and falls, and she’s so ashamed of her weakness.  But He’s right there to help her back up again.

Along the way, she learns a little more of the unfathomable depth of God’s grace.   She grows a little more confident in an overwhelming, unconditional love. She grows a little more confident in His timely provision. She grows a little more confident in the work He’s doing within her.

Because He promised that one day, one glorious day, that work would be complete (Phil. 1:6).

On that day the valleys will cease to exist.

And the mountain top lasts for all eternity.

And we see His face.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Heb. 12:1-3

When we just want to give up, we don’t.

So we wait, like so many others before us,

And we do not lose heart.

Jen :)

How to Overcome Food Fixation

Every evening around 9 p.m. the cravings begin.

I want chocolate. I want Cherry Pepsi. I want All The Things that are not good for my body, especially that late at night.

Looking back, I see how that habit developed. When our children were younger and my husband worked second shift, I would reward myself for getting through the tough evening hours alone with some “me time” in front of the tv.

Of course, I couldn’t leave out a bedtime sweet, or two, also part of the reward.

Thus food became intimately connected to my idea of relaxation.

It’s taken years of the Lord dealing with me in this area of satisfaction and contentment for me to realize that I use food in all of the wrong ways a majority of the time! And to be honest, I’m still learning.

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*Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book Full in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links*

I recently finished reading Full by Asheritah CiuCiu, who writes about my very struggle – to find satisfaction in Christ alone.

This particular book took me three times as long to finish as it should have because at first, I just plain didn’t want to read it.

In fact, I spent the first half of this year in full out rebellion against what the Lord had previously taught me about caring for my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. I ate whatever I wanted. I exercised only when really motivated.

And I picked up and put down Full about ten times over the course of several months.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I decided that I didn’t want to submit to the Lord in the area of healthy eating.

It was just too hard!

Enter Full and Asheritah CiuCiu’s humble yet truth-filled approach to “Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.”

It’s easy to relate to the author because I am her, the woman who can’t stop putting brownies in her mouth even when she’s full. I’m also the woman who sometimes feels confused about the role of food in my life.

I recognize that food is a gift from our Heavenly Father and that all things are permissible in moderation, but how that plays out in my life isn’t always clear-cut.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay?

In fact, often avoiding sugary sweets results in an unhealthy obsession about when I might be able to have them next!

This is precisely the conundrum that Asheritah describes in her book, and she rightly refers to it as “food fixation.”

According to CiuCiu, Full isn’t just for those struggling to honor God with their food choices, but it’s also for those who have an unhealthy obsession with food in general – the crunchy mama who will only eat organic, the woman fighting against gluttony, the one obsessed with body image and every morsel she puts in her mouth.

The author points out that any type of food fixation (whether the fixation is on brownies or wheat grass) leads us into slavery – it’s a form of idolatry that even committed Christians often fail to recognize.

By the time I came across the sentence “Food is not the enemy,” I understood that this was a book I desperately needed.

My battle to overcome in the area of my health and weight led me to a place of extreme control rather than a place of freedom, which explains my six-month rebellion.

The battle to overcome food fixation

Rather than succumbing to food fixation, Asheritah suggests that we learn to find satisfaction in Christ, to take in the Bread of Life and to be full. Her research into food addiction and the Bible itself help us to see that food fixation is, at its core, a spiritual issue rather than a physical one.

As a spiritual issue, we must learn to address the root causes of our food fixation. We must learn how to find fullness and satisfaction in Christ alone, how to meet everyday temptations with spiritual truth.

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The final section of this book, in particular, teaches many practical ways to overcome food fixation:

  • learning to recognize past patterns
  • overcoming temptation through scripture memory and prayer
  • celebrating every little victory

Aside from the first few chapters, this was my favorite section of the book. With these tools and the power of the Spirit, we can break the chains of addiction and find our way to freedom!

If any type of food fixation keeps you in bondage, if you long for food freedom, be sure to pick up a copy of Asheritah CiuCiu’s book Full.

Above all, keep seeking your Heavenly Father and invite Him to release you from the bonds of food fixation once and for all.

He is able!

Jen :)