Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blessing My Blessings

No doubt about it: children are a gift from the Lord;
the fruit of the womb is a divine reward.
--Psalm 127:3

It's already NOVEMBER! Woo hoo! I'm so excited about the holidays! I've already dug out my Christmas CDs and lit my minty candles. Seriously, y'all are going to have to stop me from putting up my Christmas tree already. :)

But first... I need to slow down and enjoy Thanksgiving. After all, November is the month of gratitude, right? So instead of skipping over this month and rushing ahead to Christmas (like I really want to do), I'm going to try to fill each day of this month--NOT with memories of the pain that happened last November, but with thankfulness for the joy that lies ahead.

I choose to redeem the month of November for my family.

With that in mind, I'd love to start off this month by sharing something special I did with my kids.

A couple of months ago, I began studying passages in the Bible about blessing your children. Not just a casual "I love you and have a great day" kind of blessing, but a well-thought-out, intentional blessing.

A blessing that gives children....

An assurance of identity.
A strong sense of belonging.
A clear vision for their future.

The more I read about blessing your children, the more I realized that was exactly what my kids needed. They had been very hurt and shaken by the divorce. And they needed to feel secure. They needed to know, for sure, that God created them with high value, that they belong in our family, and that God has a plan for them... no matter what circumstances they may encounter in their lives.

I could go on and on about the signficance of blessing your kids, but these articles pretty much sum it up.

So I prayerfully wrote out a blessing for each of my children using the five biblical elements:
  1. Meaningful and appropriate touch
  2. A spoken message
  3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed
  4. Picturing a special future for him or her
  5. An active commitment to fulfill the blessing
Then I took the kids to my mom's house, where my extended family--my mom, my sisters and their husbands, and their kids--joined me in surrounding the kids as I spoke these blessings over them.

(Note: that's my mom's ginormous Bible study whiteboard behind me, still set up in her living room from her Precept Bible study the night before. Anyone wonder where my love of teaching the Bible comes from?!?)

Do you mind if I share these blessings with you? I've omitted some personal details for the sake of privacy, but I'd like to post them here to remind myself of how grateful I am for each of my three precious treasures.



[[Miss B]], your name means “royalty.” And I’ve always called you “my princess.” But much more than that, you are God’s princess. You are a daughter of the King of kings! May you always remember that you are royalty—God is your heavenly Father and you are His much-loved princess.

And your middle name is in honor of my dad. You are not only the precious daughter of your heavenly Father, but you bear the name of my earthly father, who was a very godly man. My dad loved God very much, and He loved others. This is your legacy to carry on.
Sweet [[Miss B]], you are the first child God gave me. And because you are the firstborn, you are a leader. In our home you are a role model for your younger sister and younger brother—and as the oldest female cousin, you are a leader for your younger cousins as well. Whether you realize it or not, they are looking up to you. May you always set an example for them of faith, love, and kindness.

God has made you a leader not only in our family but in all you do. You have a natural gift of leadership that shines through at church and at school. Your friends look to you to lead them. May you use your gift of leadership wisely, to lead other people toward God and His kingdom and His righteousness.
[[Miss B]], you also have a strong desire for knowledge. You want to know everything about everything! God has gifted you with intelligence. But more than that, God has given you the gift of wisdom—the ability to use your knowledge to make right choices. As you grow up and continue to learn, I pray that you will have more than just "book knowledge," but God’s true wisdom—the ability to use your knowledge in a way that glorifies God and makes His name great.
Not only are you wise, [[Miss B]], but God has given you a special kind of knowledge called discernment. When you were three years old, God placed His mark of grace on your left eye. And that “God mark,” as we call it, not only saved your physical sight, but it’s a reminder that God has given you a special “heart sight,” or insight into the hearts and motives of other people. You have a unique gift of being able to perceive what others are truly like, of looking beyond their words and actions and directly into their hearts. May God use your gift of discernment to help you make wise choices and stand up for what is right.

[[Miss B], with your gifts of leadership and wisdom and discernment, I envision a future in which God will use you to lead others to Him and to teach Him them about His love.
Together with our family here, I pray God will use you to bring many people into His kingdom. We pray that you will use your gifts to serve God by serving others as a teacher, ministry leader, and friend.



[[J.J.]], your name means “beautiful.” And you are beautiful, inside and out! I pray that you will continue to see that true beauty comes from within, from the beauty of Christ shining through your heart and life.
And your name is a special name I chose in honor of my grandmother and my mother. Both G.G. and Gran are godly women who love God very much! G.G. loved to pray and to help others. And Gran loves to teach the Bible and to share God’s love with everyone she meets. So you are not only beautiful and loved, but you are carrying on the legacy of two very godly women!
I call you “my jewel,” because that’s what you are—a precious jewel, a treasure. And you know what? You’re not only my jewel, but you’re God’s special jewel! Like a diamond, you sparkle and shine wherever you go. You are God’s treasure, a glimmering gem reflecting His light into our world.

And like a diamond, you have so many facets and sides! You are creative and artistic and musical and filled with zest for life. God has made you unique, and He has a great plan for your life. The Bible says you are God’s “masterpiece,” like a special painting filled with His light and joy. May you always remember that you belong to God and that all your unique gifts and ideas and beauty come from Him.
You are not only creative, but you have a very tender heart. God has filled you with compassion and empathy. That means when others hurt, you hurt with them. And when others are happy, you are happy with them. May your heart always stay sensitive toward others: to listen when they need a friend, to reach out when they need help, to comfort them when they are sad, and to show them the love of God.

[[J.J.]], with your gifts of creativity and artistry and compassion, I envision a future in which God will use you to shine His light and love to others around you. Because you think outside the box and see things that no one else sees, I pray that you will expand God’s kingdom by doing things that have never been done before. God has uniquely designed you to make a great big difference in the world.
Don’t be afraid to take big risks for God,  [[J.J.]]. Remember, you have no reason to fear. God is always with you, as close as the smile on your face. You are God’s precious jewel, His treasure, His masterpiece. Your heavenly Father cares for you, and He will always protect you and guide you every day of your life.

Together with our family here, I pray God will use you to help others see God’s love and beauty. And we pray that God will use you to take big risks for God’s kingdom and to shine His light into this dark world.
[[Buddy]], your name means “strong.” But being strong is much more than having big muscles. Being strong means having the courage to do the right thing. It means being brave enough to stand up for people who need help. It means protecting those in need. And it means letting God give you His strength when you need it. I call you “my little superhero,” but the truth is, you are God’s mighty warrior. I pray that He will fill you with His strength and that you will always be strong for Him.

You are named in honor of my dad. You not only have God as your heavenly Father, but you bear the name of my earthly father. My dad was a strong man. He didn’t have great big muscles, but he had a great big heart that was full of love for God and for others. He also had a strong sense of justice; and I see that in you as well. I pray you will continue to have a strong sense of right and wrong and the courage to make godly choices your whole life, like my dad did. This is your legacy to carry on.
[[Buddy]], you are my only son, the man in our family. In our home you are the protector of your sisters—and of your younger cousins too. Although you will grow up to be physically stronger than they are, don’t ever use your strength to hurt them in any way. Remember, you are strongest when you remember that your strength comes from God. He will make you strong to protect them and help them.
And just like my dad, [[Buddy], you have a contagious laugh! You are full of giggles and joy. I hope you keep laughing and having fun your whole life. Don’t ever feel like you’re too “grown up” to giggle. The Bible says the joy of the Lord is our strength, so keep on laughing and showing others the joy of the Lord.
[[Buddy]], you have a lot of friends. People love being around you! God has given you a charming and charismatic personality. Because people are naturally drawn to you, you will always be surrounded by friends. May you be strong enough to set a good example of right choices and brave enough to stand up for what is right in God’s eyes, no matter what others do. Have fun, but always remember who you are.
And you have such an imagination! You have an amazing gift of telling stories that amuse and entertain us all. And you know what? Jesus was a storyteller too! He used stories to help people understand important truths about God. I pray that you will use your gifts of storytelling and imagination to follow Jesus’ example of telling stories that teach others about God and His Word.
[[Buddy]], with your gifts of strength and joy and imagination, I envision a future in which God will use you to draw others to Him through your stories and your strong friendship. God can use you for His kingdom as an influencer, someone who introduces people to Jesus and helps them know Him more deeply.
Together with our family here, I pray you will use your gifts to serve God your whole life by being a strong and courageous follower of Him.
I know this is a crazy long post. But I needed to remind myself that I am exceedingly blessed to be the mother of these three gifts from God.
Thanks for letting me share my "blessings" with you today!

Jesus put his arms around the children
and blessed them by placing his hands on them.
--Mark 10:16