Welcome Lindsey Bell today, my teammate from Do Not Depart & the MOM Initiative teams. Lindsey’s new book is called Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from Parents of the Bible. She is an honest, practical, truth-filled writer, and I’m excited to have her share today about how to speak life into our children!
We were in the process of transitioning our two-year-old son to a toddler bed, and it wasn’t going well.
I was tired, and he refused to stay in his room. (That was before we bought a heavy-duty baby gate to help teach him). About an hour into our typical routine (and by “routine,” I mean full out bedtime battle), I yelled at him.
Something inside me just snapped, and my poor son took the brunt of my anger. I spewed words at him he didn’t deserve.
Was he disobeying? Yes. Was he pushing the boundaries? Most certainly.
But did he deserve my words of anger? Not at all.
I am the grown up, and in that moment, I didn’t act like it.
My words, instead of speaking life into my child, spoke frustration and anger.
He went to bed after that; I, on the other hand, lay on the couch and cried over my loss of control.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “the tongue has the power of life and death.”
As parents, we have the power to speak life into our children.
When speaking life as a parent is hard
I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard at times, though.
- When we’re tired
- When we’re over-scheduled
- When our children refuse to obey
- When we’re sick
- When we’re struggling through infertility treatments or other difficult circumstances
- When our marriages aren’t going well
- When finances are tight
Speaking life into our children isn’t always easy, but it’s one of our greatest privileges as moms and dads.
Our children, especially when they are young, hang on our every word.
Here are a few ways to speak life into their lives:
1. Pray for them and with them.
One of my favorite things to do each night is pray with my children. I often begin my prayers by thanking God for the privilege I have of being my sons’ mother. I do this to remind my boys that no matter how hard the day was, I am thankful for them.
2. Encourage them.
My oldest child is a perfectionist already. We’ve been working on tying his shoes. The other day, as he tried again unsuccessfully to “loop, swoop, and pull,” he said in frustration, “I’m never going to learn how to do this.”
In that moment, I had a great opportunity to speak life into him, to encourage him to keep trying, and to remind him that everyone struggles when they first learn a new skill.
So encourage your children by telling them…
- They are good enough—just as they are.
- You are proud of them.
- They have a special purpose given them by God.
- God made each of them unique.
- They have many God-given abilities. (Or better yet, tell them what these abilities are!)
- You love them, not because of how they behave or what they do, but because of who they are.
- They are a great addition to your family, and they are important.
3. Fill your home with Scripture.
Nothing brings more life into your home than the very Words of Scripture. Put Bible verses on your bathroom mirrors. Decorate with Bible verse plaques. Use Scripture in your everyday conversations. For instance, when your child speaks hatefully to another, remind her that “love is patient and love is kind.”
The book of James reminds us that our tongues are like fire. Fire, used wisely, can heat a home or cook a bowl of soup. Used unwisely, though, it can set an entire forest aflame. Our words have that same kind of power. The question is…will we use our power for good or for evil? To speak life or to speak death?
Let’s talk: What other ways do you speak life into your children?
Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:
Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com
Her website: www.lindseymbell.com