New Year’s Eve 2015 greeted me with anxiety and dread. The fear of repeating the events of the past year was overwhelming. Would I let the anxiety catapult me into a year similar to the one I was bidding farewell, or would I open my heart to my Father to transform the upcoming one? That in itself was a scary proposition.
The temptation to give in to fear came from years of practice, but this time I made a different choice. In the face of fear I surrendered and asked my Father for a plan (James 1:5). Afterall, doing things over and over again expecting different results is insanity and I had had enough of that (2 Timothy 1:7). He illuminated the fact that we had no goals in place individually or as a family, so I set two:
- A craft project for the family
- The Love Dare for Parents, a goal for me personally
During our New Year’s Eve dinner I asked everyone to think of a word that expressed something they wanted to work on in the upcoming year. Their responses left me awestruck. It was as if they had just been waiting for someone to ask. I realized I do not need to keep telling them what they need to work on, they already know. They just need to be encouraged, so they will feel free to overcome.
The physical result :
The emotional and spiritual results are still developing. It is freeing to be able to ask my children in the midst of a struggle are you being (fill in the blank with their word)? We have checked in a couple of times as a family to hear how everyone is doing. I also encourage them when I see their words displayed in their behavior or actions, which is helping me practice “nurturing” them.
My personal goal although a seemingly clear and simple one has proved to be much more challenging. It exposed things in my own heart that need to be healed and pruned. Day 1 of The Love Dare is “Love Blooms” and instantly I was challenged, which is how my word became so clear to me, “NURTURE.” For some it may be the simplest of dares, but as I read it, my own woundedness and imperfections were obvious. I was grieved with how difficult it was, but was determined to complete it. I think my children were startled by the spontaneity of affection, but began to soften under the words, “I love you.”
What if God never expressed His great love for us? What if we did not have His Word to remind us daily of that great love? How would we know He loved us if we were not in constant communication with Him and Him with us? It is the same with my children, it is not enough to just “know” mom loves me, they need to hear it – verbally and often.
Can you easily let “I love you” escape your lips or do you struggle with it? What has helped you overcome? Do you have another area of nurturing your children that is more difficult for you? I would love to hear your heart and pray for you. We are not in this journey alone.
Father, may we be so rooted and established in LOVE that it will overflow into everything we do. Replace the fear in our hearts with Your perfect LOVE. Thank you that Your LOVE won on the cross and wins eternally. Amen.