My aunt Debbie spent her New Year’s Eves with me when I was young. Toasting the New Year with Mello Yello® in my grandparents’ crystal goblets, we would laugh until Grandma Roberta had told us at least 3 times to keep it down. Aunt Debbie was a rebel—the rest of the family liked Mountain Dew®. That’s the only way I remember her ever acting out, though. It never occurred to me until recently that she was probably baby-sitting me. I just figured she thought I was funny.
I went through some pretty rough childhood stuff, but there was always someone who treated me like I was funny, who listened to me talk about my passions, or who said, “I’m proud of you” and made me want to impress them again. Growing up in the Charismatic movement, I was taught that God feels the same way about us. Nobody shied away from correcting me, just like God doesn’t hold back on instructing us and letting us experience consequences. The weight was on the positive, though, and today I am in a committed relationship with my Creator and I’m graced with encouraging friends and family. I even have Bible verses that I’ve used as passwords or written on my dry-erase board that remind me of how God sees me, for those times when I might be a little mean to myself.
Jeremiah 29:11-13NIV “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Philippians 1:6NLT And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Jesus Christ returns.
MY ALL-TIME FAVE: Ephesians 3:17-19NLT
There’s a poem that I’m sure you’ve seen hanging on a wall somewhere. It’s by Dorothy Law Nolte, called “Children Learn what They Live.” Dorothy said, “If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight…If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative…If a child lives with recognition, he learns that it is good to have a goal.”
You know that this month, Deysi, Mathias, and John Michael are waiting for just a little bit of what you have to give. I know personally that they will give you a lot more than you expect. For today, though, just give this community of readers a word or two—what encouragement have you gotten that stays with you? Leave a comment below with your words of hope that we can carry for those days we need a lift. God bless you with an awareness of His presence today.