Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Passing it on... (And a GIVE-AWAY!!)

A BIG welcome to those of you joining me from the Encouragement Cafe, I'm grateful you are here. In my devotional, "A Role You Can Play," (Read it by clicking HERE.) I write about being a mentor and how that role is one we all play. Friend, whether someone refers to you as their mentor or not, setting an example for others is something we all do.

I've been blessed with wonderful mentors through my life, but God reminds me I can do the same for others. The ones I need to be most mindful of are the 5 "J's" who call me "Mom". My children must not just hear me talk about faith...they must see me live it out. I can share what I'm learning with them. Years ago God gave me an opportunity to do just that...

When my oldest daughter Joy was just 6 she came home from AWANA's and we shared the following conversation - "Momma, 2 girls were laughing at me." I respond, "How do you know they were laughing at you?" "They were whispering and they pointed at me. Then they said I look like a boy..." Tears fell from my eyes before she could finish her sentence but she eventually continued, "It hurt my feelings and made me want to cry, but I didn't want to cry in front of them."

That night as Joy shared her experience with me, I was determined to not let these lies and doubts take root in Joy's heart like they had done in mine many years ago. This thought of roots led to another...

Anyway my teacher mind got going and I thought - how can I get Joy (and my other children) to understand this better. So the next day the kids helped make a tree to put up on our school room wall. The entire time they were cutting and gluing, making branches, roots and dandelions, questions were being asked, "Why are we doing this? What is this for?" and on and on.

After talking about trees, I asked, "How are we like a tree?" The responses were varied with a few being quite interesting and then our lesson began.

We all gathered around our newly decorated school wall and I shared Joy's recent experience with all the kids. I asked, "Is she a boy?"

Her 4 year old sister looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "No!"

I responded, "Jaylyn, you are right! So were those words about Joy true?" Again I hear, "No." So I ask, "What is the opposite of the truth?"

My 8 year old answers, "A lie." And little Jaylyn adds, "They are bad!!" "Right again, a lie is bad, kind of like weeds in the garden or dandelions around the tree."

We then turned our attention to the tree that had caused so much curiosity. Only now there were words on the dandelions (as you can see art is not my strong point - they are the yellow lollipop looking things!!) and on some of the roots.

We talked how we are like a tree and our roots are what make us strong and help us grow and stand tall. But sometimes things happen in our hearts just like they do on the other side of the window - weeds creep in and mess things up.

So I asked, "What do we do with weeds in the garden?" Three little voices tell me, "We pull them out!!" "Right again! So Joy why don't you come up here and pull out this weed!!" She thought that was great!!

But there was more, I went on to share when the weeds aren't there, the roots have a better opportunity to grow. Then we focused on one root specifically, one that said, "Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord." Psalm 45:11

We read the verse, talked about what it meant and Joy added some construction paper so the root could grow!! I pray the one in her heart grew as well!!

Later I asked Joy what she thought about our tree or what this meant to her...this is what she had to say, "Some things that people say might make me cry, but they're a weed. I need to think about that and try not to cry and remember God made me. My roots need to grow and that's stuff that is really true cuz He thinks I'm beautiful just like you think that too."

Five years have passed since I shared this lesson with my kids and God continues to give me opportunities to relearn this lesson myself and share it with them again and again. Joy is now 11, and I'm pretty sure she hasn't been called a boy since, but this Mom knows she still struggles with words others say and in the years to come will be tempted to measure her beauty thru the eyes of the world instead of the Word. 

I long for my kids to know who they are in Christ and as mentors the same should be true for all those I know and meet. This is a longing, but I also realize I can't teach what I don't know. I understand it's important to replace Satan's lies with God's Truth and I must do this in my mind and my heart. Abiding in God's Word will help me do just that and recently I read through another valuable resource that added to my learning. 

Mary DeMuth has a newly released book that will help us as women grow deeper roots. In "Worth Living" she addresses lies we as women deal with and shares Truths we must replace them with. For example in the chapter on beauty she writes,

Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them.People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT).

God looks at our hearts, values them.

We look at our bodies, devaluing them, while our hearts emaciate.

There has to be a better way, a way of peace, where we embrace who we are and Whose we are without abusing our bodies or shaming ourselves."

Friend, if you are a woman, wife or mom who needs to better understand your worth from God's perspective I recommend Mary's book to you. It challenges and convicts, but at the same time reminds you, you're not alone and progress is possible. Her words will touch your heart while God's words will transform it.

As you grow in your faith and follow Christ others will be impacted as well. I'm looking forward to the day when I work through the book with my beautiful daughter Joy who last year had the opportunity to meet and learn from the beautiful Mary DeMuth!

Today I'd love to give you an opportunity to win a copy of this book yourself! To enter just leave a comment sharing your thoughts on one of these questions -

What lesson have you learned about your worth from a mentor in your life?

What lie about your worth do you need to replace with a Truth from God's Word?

If time is short, just leave a quick "Count me in!"

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8


Sandy said...

I love your object lesson!

I'm a singer at our church, and one Sunday morning, our pastor complimented me on the solo I'd done. I immediately responded with all the things that I didn't like about it. He kindly looked at me and said, "If you tell me why I shouldn't like it, you insult my taste. Thank you is the proper response." It was an amazing lesson that putting myself down is not biblical humility. It's speaking ill of God's daughter.

Unknown said...

Joy... You ARE beautiful. You show me God's grace, His humor, His love... Your beauty shines forth from your heart to your contagious smile. You rock my world!
Jill, thank you (and thank you Sandy who commented above) for bringing such truth to light.
My big sis has mentored me in countless ways. She has helped me take off the "Hello my Name is Never-Going-to-Amount-to-Anything" label and replace it with being God's treasure.

Harmony Vuycankiat said...

Really loved this! I had a wonderful mentor who told me once, "God is more concerned about your heart than He is about your comfort." Sticks with me even today and I really believe it.

Rick and Michelle said...

Q2: I struggle with believing I was/am a good enough mom to our children. It's a long story I won't go into here, but any confidence I had in my mothering skills has been chipped away at for many years. There is very little confidence left that I've done anything right or good enough as a mom. I guess I really need to read Mary's book!

Jackie said...

When our pastor was preaching through 1 Peter, God really used Ch. 2, verse 9 to speak truth into my life about my worth... "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..." That was pivotal for me at that point in my life and helped remind me that I am precious to Him and He has made me for a purpose. God has brought me a long way in this area, but unfortunately there are still times that I base my value on unrealistic expectations that either myself or others have put onto me. I need to the reminder just as much as Joy did that I am beautiful in my Father's eyes. Thank you for the lesson!

Jill Beran said...

Thanks for sharing Sandy! Your pastor's response is quite powerful and so true! Humility is often not what we think!! For years I labeled my insecurity as such, so thankful for God opening my eyes and changing my heart!

Jill Beran said...

Yes, you know my Joy - she rocks mine too!!

So grateful your sis has helped you become who God made you to be...a wonderful, worthy woman doing much for Him!! I'm grateful for you!!

Jill Beran said...

Such a powerful statement Harmony! Pray it sticks with me too!! Love your name by the way!!

Jill Beran said...

Motherhood certainly makes us question our worth and feel not good enough. I'm sorry for all that's taken place, but I pray God will restore your confidence and relationships. He is able!! Remember He knows your heart!!

Jill Beran said...

I remember that series Jackie! Trust God used it for many of us!! I'm thankful for the work God began in your heart that day and continues to fulfill as days go by. Keep your eyes on Him and replace those lies with TRUTH!!