This question should be on the forefront of my thoughts every day. Unfortunately far less important things fill my brain and take up almost all of my thought-capacity all day long...things like are her teeth brushed and do her clothes match and is the homework finished and did he eat anything and did he flush the toilet and do we have any milk and does she have any clean clothes to wear to school today?
Not that those things don't matter, they just matter far less - yet they take up far more of my active brain-time than the most important questions: like - Does she know I love her? Does she feel the love of God today? And Do my children know who they are?
There are many ways in which we determine our identity or worth these days, aren't there? By the size of our home or the street on which we live. By the size of our paycheck or the number of dollars in our account (somedays we're doing well to keep that above zero here...so I best not base my identity on that...) By the size of our jeans or whether or not we fit into our pre-baby clothes (By the way, why do we do that? Babies are supposed to change our bodies...)
By the number of children in our house or our marital status.
By our facebook statuses and how many people liked it.
I was deeply convicted yesterday as I talked with my very wise friend who's just a bit older than me... just enough ahead of me in parenting so she can teach me things to be looking out for down the road. She told me about the significant peer pressure her middle school daughter experiences to get more "likes" on her instagram posts...and how worth and social status in middle school is deeply connected to social media popularity. As I listened, I was convicted about how that's me too. That silly little like button has far more power over me than I ever want to admit. Maybe you too?
There are so many ways for us to determine our worth if we are going to base it on worldly, outward measures. No wonder our kids don't know who they are. Most of us adults struggle to know who we really are, so how can we teach our children?
But friends, we must. We must teach our children who they really are...that their truest, deepest, most core identity has nothing to do with the numbers on the scale or the numbers on the bar bell or the number on the like button. Rather, their deepest, truest identity has everything to do with the God who created each one of them on purpose, for a purpose, and the Savior who loves them and set them free.
Gideon was a young man in the Old Testament (Judges 6) who lived during a time when Israel had strayed from God and was being attacked by a neighboring country. Gideon was an unassuming young man who, based on his story, clearly felt small, weak, poor, and insignificant. As he was doing his chores one day, an Angel of the Lord showed up unexpectantly and said to him, "Greetings, mighty warrior."
Say what? Gideon is like, "Umm excuse me?...I'm from the smallest clan and I'm the weakest in my family." Gideon is clearly thinking 'Ummm...mighty warrior? You've got the wrong guy..." (I'm paraphrasing).
Gideon and the Angel of the Lord talk a bit, Gideon whines and complains a bit, but eventually the Angel convinces Gideon that God really has created him as a mighty warrior, that God made him strong, and that God has an important battle for Gideon to lead, fight, and win because God will be with him the whole time.
Gideon becomes, in fact, a mighty warrior. Why? Because that's who he is. That's who God created him to be. Whether he felt like it or not, God created him on purpose for a purpose. To fight a battle for God's justice and truth, and to win.
Friends, Gideon's story is the story of our sons, too. They are created as mighty warriors to fight battles for God's truth and justice and goodness in this world. It's who they are, and we must teach them.
In our house, we have a four year old boy who gets carried away being a ninja turtle every single day and ends up ninja-ing to the point of hurting his siblings. We know he means no harm (usually), but nonetheless harm occurs and wounds happen and it's a struggle.
Every day, my rockstar husband takes this boy aside and has a talk with him about how his job as a brother is to be a protector...to protect his sisters and his little brother. It resonates. He knows it's true because God has written it on his heart. All we have to do is call it out, name it, and remind him every day.
The other day I overheard this same boy telling his sisters "Did you know my job is to protect you? Yep. I protect you."
Our deep heart-cry for our boys is that they will always do just that.
A boy or young man who doesn't know how to use his strength for good will likely use his strength for harm. Teach him young. Teach him constantly.
In Proverbs 31:10 we are told that a virtuous woman is worth far more than rubies. Did you know that since ancient times, rubies have been the most valuable gem on planet earth?
In a culture that treats women and girls' bodies as if we are just pieces of meat, used to sell anything from cars to hamburgers to sex, God says that a woman of virtue, a woman who knows her value in Christ, is actually worth far more than the most valuable gem on planet earth. That means that nobody can buy her body...the value is too great. Nobody can buy her heart, soul, mind, body...because she's a treasure to be adored and cherished, not to be purchased and sold.
And you know what gems do, right? Gems radiate light. Beautifully. Light shines on a gem and radiates in a rainbow light-burst into the darkness. That's how God created the heart of each beautiful daughter. To shine His beauty and grace and love and truth and strength into a dark and hurting world that so desperately needs the love of God. That's our identity as daughters.
I started telling my girls that they were far above rubies when they were babies...it's painted across the top of their doll house and written on many-a lunch box note. And one day, when my eldest was four years old, rocking her baby doll named Emily, I overheard her singing to her doll, "Emily, you are far above rubies....Emily, you are far above rubies."
My heart soared, I tell you. Because if she was capable of telling her doll about her identity in Christ, then she certainly knew it herself.
Our deep heart-cry for our girls is that they will always know this.
A girl or young woman who doesn't know her worth in Christ will likely search for her worth in all the wrong places. Teach her young. Teach her constantly.
It's a daily thing. Does she know who she is today? Will she know who she is tomorrow? Will he know how to protect his sisters when they really need their brother? Will he know who he really is when he's 18? Will she know her true worth when she's 16? 23? 29? 32?
That's our responsibility as parents..to teach them who they are. Through whispers at bedtime, and notes in their lunch boxes, and prayers at the dinner table, and in times of discipline and correcting and in times of praise and accolades.
You are a child of God.
You are created in God's image.
God created you on purpose for a purpose.
You are loved.
You are a sinner and you need a Savior. His name is Jesus.
You are freed by Jesus.
You are a mighty warrior.
You are far above rubies.
That's who you are. And if you forget, I'll tell you again tomorrow.
Sidenote: If you are interested in hosting a Parent Seminar at your church,
"Teaching Your Children Their Identity in Christ" please contact me.
I would love to bring this seminar to your congregation.