Let It Be Said
I loaded dishes into the dishwasher, rinsing nearly every particle from plates and cups, trying to convince myself again that my OCD isnâ€™t that bad.
My oldest son walks through the kitchen and begins telling me a story as I work. I listen and make comments, but then Iâ€™m overwhelmed with this feeling of love for him and pride at who is.
To be honest, I feel that many times. I have great kids who try hard and love deeply on most occasions. Many times though, things get in the way before I express these things. The busyness of life, the thousands of thoughts running through my brain, the prayer request I received by email earlierâ€”they demand attention and Iâ€™m sad to say they win it too often.
Sometimes though, I stop everything Iâ€™m doing and say what Iâ€™m feeling. This was one of those days.
â€œNoah, Iâ€™m so proud of you. You care so much for people. Iâ€™ve seen how you try to help your brother and sister. You help me and Mom so much too. God uses you already, like when you raised money for our new church building.â€
â€œYeah, $75 for paint. Did that pay for the paint?â€
â€œWell, the paint cost a little more than that, but it definitely helped. God is going to do more great things in you and through you. You have such a great heart, and I just want you to know how proud I am.â€
He stared at me a little dumbfounded with a silly grin plastered on his face, eyes rolled up as if he were trying to see his brain. Heâ€™s perfected a goofy face similar to the one his daddy makes when he receives a compliment.
Soon after, Mom came into the kitchen so I started to tell her how proud I was of Noah at which point he had enough embarrassment and made a break for it.
â€œI love you, Noah!â€ I called after him.
â€œI love you too, Dad.â€
I’m glad for their sake and mine that I keep learning. I may focus more easily on the messy room, or shoes left in the entryway, or trash left in the kitchen; but I notice how special they are too. I see the moments when they step out of their comfortable places to try new things, when they care for someone else in small ways, when they begin to understand the importance of the truly important.
And it makes my fatherâ€™s heart very proud and very thankful.
I know the heat of the moment makes vocalizing my displeasure about messes or undone chores easy. It seems all-consuming at times. My wife is a brilliant mother who is able to remind me of these things without the children coming to think Iâ€™m a horrible father. I listen to her.
Iâ€™m also praying that the moments like this one with my son will become equally consuming, and I believe theyâ€™ll grow stronger as I learn to listen and give in to them.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. â€“Hebrews 3:13
I donâ€™t want my kids to harden their hearts because the majority of what they hear from me is complaints on their shortcomings. I feel the pride in who they are just as deeply, but I can suppress it far too easily. I donâ€™t want it unsaid.
Itâ€™s not about self-esteem. Itâ€™s about my recognizing their value and worth in God and expressing that love, praising the heavenly Fatherâ€™s beautiful handiwork. They need encouragement daily because I always want them secure in knowing God planned out an incredible person and life when He made them.
I want them to place importance on important things. I know learning responsibility for their actions and keeping up with chores is important, but even more important is knowing Who made them and trusting He made them just the way He wanted them.
I want them to see they are learning and growing… just like me.Â Of all my jobs, this is certainly one I want to invest time and effort into. The dividends are huge.
How about you? How do you make sure the important things are said? Do you have (or have you had) trouble expressing these things?