Back to School Devotional: Day 4

Encourage one another and build each other up.
— 1 Thes 5:11

Sometimes my children come down wearing VERY creative outfits dressed for school. Loud patterns and crazy hair and amazing shoe choices. They look very different than how I would have them look. And I have about a half a second to fix my face. To smile. To not look at them and find something wrong, but rather delight in them and let them be themselves, show them love, and accept them for who they are.

There are so many things in our children’s lives that we easily tear into, comment on, and disapprove of that simply do not matter. I am saying WE. I am guilty.

In “Grace-Based Parenting” Dr. Kimmel says, “The primary way to give our children grace is to offer it in place of our selfish preferences. A grace-based home gives children the freedom to be different.” If our preferences are ruling the roost but our children are making good character choices, we need to fix our face and be quiet. Chances are we are worried about how others will see US when they see our kids. We focus on us, instead of actually thinking about our children’s well-being.

Let’s be parents, teachers, neighbors, and care-givers who smile, remain flexible, and leave a critical spirit behind when it comes to our preferences. Let’s be people who enjoy the creativity of our children, the ideas, and the imagination that makes them who they are. Let’s fan into flame smiles and laughter and winks in our homes.

Today's truth bomb: Let's minor on our personal preferences and major on our children's heart posture. 

Take a minute and think through the last 48 hours. What came out of your mouth that was critical of your children or spouse or co-worker? Was it well-founded because of character-formation (being respectful, being kind, sharing, serving others, loving others, etc) or was it based on your preferences? Ask God to show you.

Today, watch your words, your body language, and your posture toward your sweet children as well as anyone else in your path. Catch your children as often as possible in making good choices and celebrate their loving heart. High five, wink, smile, squeeze, cheer, tackle, and love on all the beauty that comes from your child. Celebrate when you see sharing, when you see love, when you see kindness. 

Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my critical spirit. For my nitpicking, nagging, and preferences that do not matter. Continue to reveal to me when I am tearing my child or others down or embarrassing them or not accepting them based on external things that do not matter. Speak to me and show me the way. I come humbly before you. I need you to help me encourage and build up everyone around me. Show me how to praise and celebrate the loving heart of my child. Amen.


Amy Seiffert