The water falls gentle over my hands as I clean and pluck grapes off their dried up stick-vines in kitchen sink. I’m thinking about tackling the prep for dinner next when my eyes wander up to the swoop of a cardinal past the window. My grandma used to say this meant a loved one was visiting, now I wonder if it’s a little hello she’s sent us from Heaven.
I’m quickly brought back to reality as I hear the thunder of my boys out in the driveway. I recognize the angry tone even with their muffled voices. As they grow louder, I sense the frustration rising in me growing bigger. I’m surprised how quickly it gets to me, yanked from my little moment of bliss. I feel the little tap on my heart reminding me I have a choice in how this all plays out. I wrestle with it and choose to ignore it. They should know better. I hear them yelling now. Enough. I stomp out the door. They see me coming, seething. The words that spill out next aren’t kind, life-giving or even helpful. They hang in the air between us ugly and I can’t take them back. We all let out a collective sigh and lower our shoulders defeated. I give myself a big black mark on the mental scorecard I was keeping for the day. I resign to the notion that often comes after a blowup, I’ll have to start over tomorrow.
But, do we really need to wait until the next day to redeem it? Or can we reclaim the very next moment in the name of Jesus? Yes what’s done may be done, but it’s not over.
You see, I’m the same mom with the same intentions to use good words, kind words with my family when I start the day as when I end the day. This hasn’t changed no matter what happens in between. I want to speak well into their lives and I won’t diminish the role I play or what God has entrusted me with. I will ask forgiveness when I match their anger with mine. I am the responsible adult to help diffuse the situation, to show them a better way, not add gasoline to the flames.
But still, I am human and I am limited by my humanness. When I mess up, I can continue burning down my house with my self-loathing thoughts or I can take the steps to rectify the situation. I can choose to continue to work on myself and invite God in to help me every time I fall and to call on Him to strengthen me even before I get to that point—to be a steady, enduring, consistent and encouraging voice in their lives.
It is said the way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice. I’m not sure about you, but every time I say something I regret or even something I could have phrased better, I feel like I am solely responsible for anything negative my boys will ever think. There are other voices in their lives, but I feel like it’s all up to me to keep that voice positive and encouraging at all times. As their mom, I do have a significant role and need to recognize the enormity and gift of it absolutely, but what if there was another voice, louder than mine, louder than my husband’s, louder than the voices of their brothers, friends, coaches, teachers, teammates and future spouses?
Oh friend, I am so grateful there is—a much more important voice, a divine voice, one who will never fail our kids. The voice of God needs to be positioned louder than any other voice in their lives—positive, negative or indifferent. Our kids need to know beyond mom’s blow ups, beyond dad’s brush offs, beyond the trash talk from the kid at school, they are loved, chosen, worthy, set apart, and whole in Christ. When this truth is rooted deeply in their heart, when they call upon the Holy Spirit to help them remember, the voice of God will triumph over any voice in their head, even ours. And I am so good with that.
It is true that the words we use and the way we speak to our family matters. We choose to speak life. And when we stumble, we choose to get back up and try again. Because this is what they will remember, our commitment to them. Not how many times we messed up, but all the times we kept trying. Isn’t this what we want for them? To keep trying?
There is power in speaking life-giving words over our family because it postures our hearts and theirs to hear God’s divine purpose and plan. It helps reveal what He desires for us and to root ourselves in His truths above anything else. When we’re spending time with God and letting His voice speak loudest over our own lives, when we feel the divine kiss of grace, we are less likely to snap and regret. Here are five little but mighty ways that have helped me to cultivate a culture at home of using life-giving words that affirm my family and confirm God’s voice above all else in their lives:
+ Begin with our 5-Day Rooted Kids Devotional and connect with God and each other.
+ Keep a family rhythm of prayer to stay connected with God throughout the day together. Start by joining our 7-Day A Rooted Home Prayer Challenge.
+ Model the grace of second chances and keep our Second Chances Served Daily print on your table or gathering space as a reminder.
+ Develop rooted statements your family can use based on these verses. For example, I am a child of God and I know my Father’s voice.
+ Guide our children in awareness of both the power of their words and their access to the Holy Spirit working on their behalf. They aren’t in this alone, they have a Holy Helper. And so do we. Put up our Holy Spirit print and invite holiness inside your home.
Stay Rooted Sis, always grateful to be growing together.