I had a kind of disturbing, but then really positive thing occur this week with my kids…It has been a rough week with attitudes, behavior, obedience…any body else? It just wore me out. I was feeling a little discouraged and sometimes like what I’m doing may not be the best focus or the right method…I don’t know…but Sunday night, I was really seeking the Lord’s heart for this past week (which in retrospect, I’m SO thankful I did…it was the REDEMPTIVE piece of our week!!) As I prayed and asked the Lord for a good focus for our week, I pictured my kids…then I pictured blessings all over them and what that might do for their spirits. I have been blessing them through prayer and speaking it over them in a fun little ceremony on the weekends (thanks to our great Family Pastor’s encouragement and inspiration…) ALSO, their family shared a great idea with me that I have been implementing. WHEN the kids are mean to each other, they have to stop, of course, and apologize (looking at each other and saying WHAT it is they are sorry for) but then they get to say THREE kind things to their brother or sister. At least one of these has to be something about their character…So, they could say, ” I love your hair…You are fun to play with…AND I love that you are an encourager…or funny, or kind, or patient, etc…” So, this is where the disturbing/good part came in…My kids had the hardest time doing this. I say disturbing because I suddenly thought of how many times a day I say, “Be nice”, “Be kind’, “Let’s only speak words of encouragement…or LIFE, or love…” but I suddenly was convicted of how often my days are heavy on the correction, discipline, training, and maybe not enough on the blessing and encouragement. I realized that speaking kind words specifically to each other, speaking encouragement and building each other up are all things that need to be shown by example day in an day out, but they also need to be taught. This was sort of a revolutionary idea to me. WOW….so the Lord gave me a vision for my week…which it really took me a week to accomplish what I envisioned on Monday, but it grew as the week went on and it did NOT go exactly how I dreamed it would…and some parts didn’t go well at all…and some pieces of it were WAY better than I imagined….so I’ll share what the Lord inspired me to do…
On Monday, we began our week by reading and studying the life of MLK. That was an awesome intro and we went from there…talking about how each person is created unique and beautiful and so special. I had each of my kids lay down on big colored butcher paper and I traced them and cut them out…we hung them on our windows and sliding door along the back of the house Next we wrote “___________ is SPECIAL…” on each kids’ shirt!! They were so fun…but it got better….and a little silly at this point. We then over a couple days, spoke BLESSINGS to each other around the dinner table (This works best for me, as Evie will only hold still and stop destroying things while she is contained and being fed
So the kids went around and we would fill up Caleb’s shirt with blessings…I tried to encourage them to look at Caleb and say, “Caleb, I love your spirit…or , You’re really creative!!” Then I would write all the special things about Caleb on his shirt, arms, legs….then onto Maija, Riah, and Ella…we still need to bless EvieIt was really fun and it was a great way to have them start speaking positively to each other…thinking of all the things they DO love about each other.
One of my favorite parts was as we were blessing Caleb he kept interrupting (of course!!) but every time someone spoke kind words to him, he said, “Oh, you just build my roof…you just added a brick to my chimney…you’re making me stronger…” I asked him why he was saying that every time…This was amazing. “Mom, because I feel like you are all adding bricks onto my house and making me feel stronger.” Wow…WORDS OF AFFIRMATION were BUILDING HIM UP!!! He could physically feel this and had such a great picture for it in his head…I LOVE THAT!! I love the way kids experience and express things…It helped me to understand better too how important ‘building up’ words are to my sweet son!!
After we were done, I talked to them about how their pictures are all the things God made them to be and what others see in them…I encouraged them to be who God made them to be…to BE a blessing!! Now, they can see these and remember WHO they are and how special they are…how LOVED they are by their brother and sisters…and know they each have unique, special and beautiful things about who they are!!
The Grand Finale was today!! During my prayer time, God helped me to let go of my weariness and capture more vision for how to keep this BLESSING going….
Well, what does your garage look like?? Here’s mine!!! My vision matched with my husband’s talent…and topped with my kids’ amazing mural abilities makes a pretty awesome garage!!! (I purposely didn’t picture the ‘other side’ of our garage…it’s normal–lots of junk–and a bike parking zone!)
Maybe I’ve never shared my garage…my space that has kept me sane for these 4 long RAINY months…a matted garage with swings, rings and recently a BOUNCY castle (Thanks to a really sweet, creative friend who is loaning it to us The kids get their wiggles, screams, bouncies, and LOUD out –out in the garage, not in the house all day!! It has SAVED ME!!! BUT NOW it has the best wall art EVER!!! I hung up all the kids cut-outs and we PAINTED!!! I know…if you are a Type A person reading this, you’re probably not able to even fathom this being fun, because it was NOT structured, nor clean…but it was FREE AND FUN!!! I think I am partially Type A, but it felt SO GOOD to let it go and just let my creative, beauty, artistic, fun side rule–just for a couple hours!!! The kids needed baths anyway! Poor Riah missed out because she slept so long, so I’ll let her contribute to our mural tomorrow!!! I loved it…as with many things, I was afraid my kids were going to fight and ruin the whole focus of the event…they tried, but I overruled this time…they recovered and let go of the idea that this wall would only look how each one envisioned it…It was amazing because Caleb ended up painting water under the whole picture and then said we needed a waterfall on one side…so we did that…Ella painted grass and then wanted a tall tree on the other side…then Maija added her purple kitty and Evie made incredible rainbow grass along the bottom and did a whole lot of body art…so the team effort created a masterpiece that would have never happened if I had done it alone, or if one of the kids would have dictated the whole mural…we talked alot about that and practiced encouraging eachother even about our project…by the end they were helping each other and talking about how excited Daddy would be to see it…and how they knew he would LOVE it so much…I am pretty sure he will …and I’m pretty sure I’m buying some more paint before he comes home so we can add on to it with him!!
Thank you God for YOUR Wisdom to teach my kids…thank you for YOUR words of LIFE to me, to each of us…that we are loved and chosen and precious. I loved the water fall…thinking of how we are to speak and allow our love and words to be a FOUNTAIN OF LIFE….and the TREE…that we should be like a TREE of LIFE rooted in the LORD, bearing fruit in every GOOD WORK.
This is a WORK IN PROGRESS, but my prayer and focus right now is that we would be a family that is LIFE GIVING….that we learn and grow to be people who have KINDNESS and BLESSING in our mouths at all times. I pray this idea can be used, tweaked, copied…made your own so that you can build your children up, encourage them, speak life to them and teach them how to do the same for others!! Let me know how it goes!! I love you Moms out there…keep seeking the Lord’s heart…HE DOES GIVE WISDOM…As you POUR OUT, HE will always fill you up, I promise.