Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Praying Mantis in the Broccoli Tree Part 2

My heart continues to visit the moment I shared with my nine year old son last week. I was busy writing my last blog and he came inside requesting that I come out to look at a "grass hopper thing" he found in the tree. I stopped what I was doing and followed him into the back yard. It was a praying mantis. We shared some special time together just observing the strange little creature. If I had chosen to stay to my task, I would have missed a precious moment of love, sharing, and truth with my child. However, the most important treasure he would have missed is acceptance.

In Andy Stanley's book, "Choosing to Cheat", he shares that there is something your family wants from you more than anything else. What do you think it is? You probably would answer, "love". Yes that is true, but there is a deeper element that we often do not consider. Your family wants to feel accepted. According to Stanley's book, "They want to feel like they are your priority".

Did you know that your spouse and your children can know that you love them, but they may "feel" like they are not your priority? They may be your priority, but that is not the issue. They want to "feel' like your priority. "They must feel like it"

I would like to share another quote from Stanley's book:

" I will never forget discussing this point with a very busy corporate vice
president. He kept assuring me how much he loved his wife and kids. Finally
I interrupted him and said, "The problem is, you love your family in your
heart, but you don't love them in your schedule. And they can't see your

The key here is that our love must be visible. You love your family deeply in your heart, but you should ask yourself this question, "Is my love out there for my spouse and my children to see it?" Is it visible?

As the holiday season is approaching and we are thinking about gift giving. Let us go a bit deeper and think of ways we can make our love visible. It is not so much in material gifts, but is in creating ways to show them our loyalty to them and that they are accepted.

Here are some suggestions for creating visible love so we can battle daily the temptation to cheat our loved ones out of the acceptance they are longing for.

First, practice making more deposits than withdrawals. Deposit words of love and affection. Touch your family members with hugs, loving touches, back scratches, tickles or even wrestling. Stop what you are doing and throw ball in the back yard with your son. Play barbies with your daughter. Take your teenager to lunch. Be creative!

Secondly, find open windows to mine the hearts of your loved ones. Stanley has some great suggestions in his book. Once or twice a week with the kids,ask them these questions,

"Is everything okay in your heart?
"Did anyone hurt your feelings today?"
"Are you mad at anyone?"
"Did anyone break a promise to you?"
"Is there anything I can do for you?"

Taking time to listen deeply to our loved ones sends the message, "You are more important to me than anything in this world. You are accepted by me and I will do anything to show you how much I love you."

Thirdly, take time to receive the truth of God's acceptance of you. Read His love letters to you in the Bible. He did not give you words so that you can have "head smarts." He sent you words of affection that you may experience and know that He accepts you just as you are. If you do not feel accepted and approved of by the Lord, it will be difficult for you to show the same to your family. In turn you will cheat on your family by choosing tasks and accomplishments to make you feel accepted and worthy.

Our heavenly Father is the best model for showing acceptance. He sent the most precious gift He possessed-His only Son. He never cheats on His children and always chooses to give us His best.By His grace and strength, we too can shower our loved ones with acceptance and approval.May you feel the smile and delight of the Lord today.

Morning Bagel: I look up at Your macro-skies,dark and enormous, Your handmade sky jewelry, Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look? Psalm 8:3-4 (The Message Bible)

Daily Hug: It is unfathomable to just sit and think about the enormity of the Father's love for us. When I look into the night sky, I can ponder the fact that He is the One who holds the stars in place. He put them there that you and I may see how strong and mighty He really is. This is the truth. How lovely it is to know that the God of the universe accepts you and is tenderly holding your heart in place.

Lord, Your love is amazing. I cannot get over You and all the qualities that make You who you are. I am strengthened and comforted in the truth that you accept and approve of me not because of my performance, but because of Your love which is enormous. Show me where I am not loving fully. Help me to not only love my family, but to have wisdom in how to help them feel and experience my acceptance of them.I want to stop and just enjoy small moments with my family as well as long stretches of time with them. Enable me to listen deeply just as You are always listening deeply to my heart even when I do not speak. You take a second look at me Lord, and a third, fourth and fifth. Thank you. May this very gift of "giving notice" be imparted to my family so that they may also know they are accepted by me and mostly by You. In Jesus Name. Amen

1 comment:

Betsy Thraves said...

Ange, this is really good, especially at this time of year. I think American families need more advice like this than even how to survive the economic crisis.