I am a momma to three beautiful kids (ages 3, 4 and 7), and recently I found myself struggling through a parenting season of daily insults, negative self-talk, and constant talking back. I tried to combat this with yet another positive parenting strategy and intentional prayer…but let’s just say, this season allowed my patience to be, *ahem*, “strengthened”.
During this time, I found myself gently reminding my children to speak light and life over one another, almost on a hourly basis. Inevitably, by the end of the day, boundaries were tested and tears were falling.
After an agonizing couple of weeks of this, my dearest four-year old daughter came to me one day in tears after her older brother had given her a hurtful label. In that moment, my normal impulse was to help her see the ultimate truth within my power and my use of words. Instead, something miraculous happened. Uninvited, the Holy Spirit whispered, “Is it true?”.
So I slowly took my daughter out of my arms and said to her, “Abiyah, is it true? Are you what your brother said you are?” She stopped tearing and said, “No! It’s not true!” And ran off to play.
I felt immediate satisfaction and thankfulness that the Holy Spirit had spoken in that moment, but then later I ruminated on the many identity verses I could start giving my kids after each instance of unkind words:
- I am God’s child. (John 1:12)
- I am inseparable from the love of God. (Romans 8:31-34)
- I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) and so on…
Later that evening, however, I found myself afflicted by a similar situation: a harsh set of definitions, opinions, and judgements were hurled in my direction by some close family members. The dark words slowly began to unravel my heart, while tears started to fall down my cheeks and the cycle of defense rose up.
As I felt myself sink deeper into the valley, I heard a whisper: Daughter, is it true? Who do I say you are? Are you not chosen as my masterpiece and my beloved? I hear your heart, I see your pain, and I know you. Do not hide in the valley – rather come to me and rest.
I felt a silent peace within the stillness, and thankfulness, once again, that the breath of life had reminded me of the TRUTH. It didn’t take much to convince me of what the dark one thought of me; yet, it didn’t take much to silence him either (much to my surprise!).
So very often we are too quick to dismiss the “small” revelations God gives us for our children when they are actually the small beginnings to something greater for ourselves. Are we not his children too?? Everyday we are being raised from our dead state and being renewed and trained by him – sometimes one breath at a time.
Next time the world tries to compare you to its standards of parenting and success, or when the darkness tries to creep in and steal your identity and peace, take a deep breath and remember, “Daughter, is it true?” If it’s not true, then we can simply let them fall off of us in reckless abandon as we internalize the LOVE God has for us. Either way, we have a choice.
So today I lovingly challenge you to to evaluate your self talk and all of the uninhibited labels, voices, and opinions vying for your attention, and gently weigh them against this statement: “Daughter is it true?
Esther “Annie” Rhoades is a mom to three, wild and free kids and has been happily married to her best friend, Jon, for over 10 years. Annie values experience over things and loves yoga with worship music, diving into the word, hosting, thrifting, making healthy goodies, and traveling.