We have a weekly tradition in our home...it's called Daddy date night. Most Thursdays my wife (who is a stay at home mom) is set free for an entire evening while Daddy and the kids run rough-shod over, in and through the house.
Most weeks are uneventful; some weeks are deeply insightful for me as a dad. Tonight was one of the deeper nights. Yes, chaos was the flavour of the evening, but prior to bed time, my daughter blessed me with the gift of an insight into the inner workings of her heart...and to be honest, mine as well.
My son Cannon had just finished responding obediently to a task I had asked of him, so I paused to thank him and tell him how proud I was of him. All of a sudden, Saydie burst into tears uncontrollably...I had no idea what I had said or done. When I was able to decipher her broken speech in the midst of sobs, she in no subtle way shared with me that she was crying because I didn't say I was proud of her too.
I was a little shocked...how does my four year old possess the courage to share a deep longing with me and her big strong dad have difficulty to share this same craving with others? What spoke to me tonight was not only Saydie's willingness to share with me, but also the truth to which this question resonated in my own heart.
As human beings each of us is longing to be loved; to have someone share that they are proud of us. And what's super cool about this all is Jesus had this same desire. The Bible records the story of Jesus' baptism. Just after Jesus was being lifted out of the water, the very voice of God...His Father...spoke from the heavens and said "this is my son, in whom I am well pleased" (different wording in some translations). We want someone to believe in us...to notice us...to take the time to encourage us.
I'm convinced that if there is any gift we can freely offer to others en mass its the way we choose to utilize our ability to speak. Are we known as encouragers or discouragers? Of course, our words become empty if they do not line up with our actions...but there are times when we need to speak into the deep longings that others have. So...if you haven't done so yet and you are reading this rant...share with others through the gift of language in some form of what they mean to you. Who knows, maybe you will discover that this is what they needed in that moment. Speak the truth in love, and ensure that your actions speak of the same love that your words do.
How can we navigate through the uncertainty of conflict in relationships? Where do we start?
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