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Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Mom's Greatest Gift

There's one thing the Lord consistently uses to touch my heart when nothing else will— My three pint-sized princesses. Through them, He shows me more of His heart and more of my need for Him.

My girls greet me with hugs and kisses and tell me I'm, "the most beautifulest and wonderfulest mommy in the world" even when I feel every bit the opposite. A precious glimpse of His unconditional love.

When their sad eyes water because of the hurtful lies they believe when I speak harshly, God uses those little faces to drive me to my knees and back to Him.

When I want to hide from the world because of all the pain and unhealthiness I see "out there" and in me, my little girls smile and tell me that when they grow up they want to be like Jesus and help people and tell them God loves them. Their pure enjoyment of God and desire to share Him with others reminds me that even in the bad, God is good and He has good plans.

But I have to say the neatest thing they've shown me is a picture perfect example of a truth I learned at the Smalley Marriage Intensive. I'll share two illustrations...

The first is from the day after my husband and I returned home from the Intensive. After four full days of not seeing our girls, we went into each of their rooms together to say good morning. We shared a little of how God answered their prayers in that He was working in our hearts and healing our marriage. My oldest daughter's eyes danced while we talked. Then when we were done, she jumped from her bed and hugged us at the same time~ a very long and tight hug. Our middle daughter had the same intense reaction and added, "I'm so happy you went and that you're home." Our youngest wiggled with smiles.

My girls all danced with hope that God was indeed healing their mommy and daddy's hearts. I will always treasure the look in their smiling eyes. Eyes full of joy, anticipation, and brimming over with love.

Another illustration is from a few days later. As the girls and I settled back into our everyday routine, I shared many of the things we had learned at the intensive. We talked about living out of fear and how to get out of that fear cycle by running to God and asking Him what's going on in our hearts. Then asking what He says about the heart messages.

One morning's chaos gave an opportunity to put into practice what I'd been teaching. My oldest spent the morning talking over people, talking when she was supposed to be working, and not giving anyone else a chance to speak. I pointed out her demand to be heard was coming out of a heart wound. She looked at me with sad eyes and said, "I don't think anyone will listen to me. I'm afraid people will think I'm not good enough to listen to."

My heart hurt. We sat on our couch and I asked her when was the first time she could remember feeling that way. She talked about me yelling at her years before over a handwriting assignment. I listened and my heart broke for the pain I'd opened her up to with my unhealthy way of handling stress by yelling. After she finished sharing her memories, I suggested she head up to her room and grab her teddy bear and talk to God about all that hurt and ask Him what the truth was.

She went to her room and the crying I heard nearly shattered my heart. She bawled and bawled. I bawled with her downstairs, but didn't go try to make it okay. I knew God could do a better job than I could.

When she came down we talked about her hurt. I listened and cried with her. I shared how I was so wrong to yell and how sorry I was that she hurt. We talked about the lies she believed when I yelled. The lies that she was “not good enough” or “not worth listening to.” I asked her to forgive me for yelling. She did. She went on to share what truth God spoke to her hurt. "He told me that He loves me no matter what I do."

Such simple truth shone from her eyes. I knew she'd heard the Lord and He'd worked in her heart. But what she shared next, I will forever treasure in my heart. My oldest looked at me and with tears in her eyes said, "Thank you, Mommy. I'm so glad you went to that marriage thing." She hugged me with a fierce hug and skipped away.

I sat there awed by what God had done in my heart and in hers.

In my daughter’s eyes and thanks I saw an amazing truth: The greatest gift I can give my children is my own health.

Without getting with God to heal my heart, I could not have helped my daughter learn how to run to God.

Without being healthy, I could not have heard her pain, cried with her, and asked forgiveness.

Without God’s healing in my heart, I could not have shown my girls what Christlikeness looks like in skin and bones.

And without both my husband and I receiving the healing that only truth from God brings, we could not have shown them the power of forgiveness, the picture of Christ and the church in marriage, or given the gift of a healthy home.

All these things will aid them well in their walk with the Lord. They won’t have to spend thirty plus years wondering around in a desert of longing and pain with hurts and lies from the enemy filling their hearts. Those lies that constrain us like the grave wrappings Jesus commanded taken from Lazarus when He raised His friend from death.

My girls will have to make their own choices as they journey with the Lord. My heart health won’t prevent them from experiencing pain. But living from a whole, full, and healthy heart will show them how to handle that pain. It will show them truth not hidden by an unhealthy life.

And we know as absolute fact, “You will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”

That’s the greatest gift of all.

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