I’m teaching the importance of words. I hope my kids learn this. But first I have to learn it myself and these lessons are hard learned.
The things we speak to each other frame the content of our lives. The things we speak to ourselves determine what we believe.
So I teach my children God is good. His Word is good.
I teach them to usher in praise when the world seems to crumble and groan and stretch in anguish. I teach them that every broken thing cries out for redemption and there is but one Redeemer. I let them see me cry when injustice rolls across my news feed and my life and the world, and I don’t press the tears away when my lips mumble, Lord, have mercy.
I teach them to lean in close to God, tucked right up in His presence.
When she traces her finger along the page while reading The Hiding Place and her history texts begin to talk of nations splitting, a world at war, and a leader infecting with hate and murder, I tell her wait until the end of the book. She will the see the story of a God who would be with Corrie Ten Boom as her family hid Jewish people and paid the price with their lives. She will see what it means to live and die with integrity, with faith, with mercy. She will see what it means to live claimed by God.
I teach them nothing can rob us of our faith, we can only give up on it.
I teach her that when we cannot bear the brokenness we start with lament. We start with grief and repentance and turning our hearts over to God. Without that, we have nothing to offer the broken and hopeless and grieved because mercy starts there. I teach her that God is close to the oppressed.
Mercy mends the broken the way justice binds truth to action.
Justice is God’s righteousness made right in the restoring of what is good in the same way grace is His love language.
I turn on praise songs even when my eyes are weary and tear-stained. I tell them this is not hypocrisy; this is obedience and there is a difference. Hypocrisy is born out of make-believe, lies, and pretense, but there is nothing flimsy about this kind of faith. This is the faith that says: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. It’s profession, petition, and praise.
I teach them in their weakness to always ask for help. It’s wise to know we need it.
So I raise my hands even when my arms are tired and the void seems so much greater than the abundance. I let them see joy and sorrow are not opposed. I turn on the music and sway my hips, grasp their hands in mine as we sing and dance and make art with colors splashed across canvas. I let them see beauty in the brokenness. I try to see it, too.
I let them know our God hears and answers and is close to the afflicted and the brokenhearted. I teach them about a God who knows suffering and dancing and every pristine color streaming through our window in the morning light.
When I get it all wrong, and my words come out fiery and weighted full of flesh, I say sorry first. I let them see me ask forgiveness readily and often. A repentant heart is what I can offer as an example of what it looks like to live claimed by God.
My tongue stumbles some mornings when I’m ushering in praise. I pour the coffee and pray when all else fails, give me Jesus.
I teach them my need , my want, my gospel on repeat.
I teach them Jesus is enough with every whispered prayer.
When the world seems unsteady and so very loud, when the future seems bleak, I teach them the peace of a humble heart. I teach them to pray. I teach them to speak out against injustice and know the cost of doing what’s right. I teach them our security is in God alone and none can come against Him.
I teach the importance of words when we say we’re claimed by God. I’m hoping they’ll know words matter.
Truth matters. God is so good. We spoke it every day.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. ~Corrie Ten Boom