This month Austin will be 2 1/2 years old and he just gave me the most precious gift. He said he loved me for the very first time!
He is learning so much, so quickly — I just want to start the record button and film every moment! (I do take way more pictures than I should. Praise the Lord for the person who created digital cameras!)
I absolutely adore this age. My baby is becoming independent. He is starting to use the potty like a big boy and learning the rules, what he can and can't do.
And talking. Forming sentences - "Dat my boo wobot" (translation: that's my blue robot) - and repeating words.
Our conversation went like this:
Me: Austin, say "I"
Me. Say "love"
Me: Now say "you"
Me: Austin, say "I love you Mommy"
Austin: "I ove ew Mommy"
Ok, say it with me friends... "Awwww..."! My heart melted. So precious are these days. I want to make time stand still — but of course I can't. He's going to grow up, learn more words, make decisions, explore this world. My job is to teach him the tools to make good choices, be safe and use his words wisely.
Our words are gifts. Just like the impact Austin's words had on me, our words affect others. We have all been wounded by words. A thoughtless comment can leave a lasting impression. And on the flip side, encouraging someone with a "great job" or a simple "thank you" can make their day!
Proverbs 16:24 tells us, "Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."
That old saying — sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me — is so not true! Words can hurt. And words bring healing.
We have a choice with what we say, but sometimes we speak without thinking. Unintentionally hurting someone's feelings or regretting saying "yes" so quickly! We often don't realize the gift of a kind word. Saying something nice may seem so minor from our perspective, but it could be just what the other person needed to hear.
Today I encourage you to memorize Ephesians 4:29: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
And remember this, "the tongue has the power of life and death." (Proverbs 18:21)
Give the gift of life today!
Now that the 2011-2012 football season has finally ended (congrats to the New York Giants!) - I wanted to reflect on the phenomenon that occurred during the season: TEBOWING!
It seemed like everyone was 'Tebowing'! There is even a website dedicated to Tebowing, aptly named Tebowing.com. So what exactly is Tebowing? Well, it's a action verb: "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."
Isn't this what God tells ALL of us to do? Romans 12:2 begins, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world." As Christians, we are commanded to be different. But the world tells us to follow the crowd. Everybody's doing it so it must be ok, right?
I have struggled with this my whole life. Wanting to fit it and feeling the pressure if I didn't 'go with the flow'. Not that I put up much of an external fight. The conflict I felt was inside. I knew that some of my choices weren't the right ones but it was often easier to 'blend in'. I would then feel guilty and torn up about those decisions. In hindsight, I was insecure and seeking the approval of others.
What I admire most about Tim Tebow is that he consistently seeks God's approval - not the world's. His focus is on pleasing God. So, how do we please God?
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thess. 5:18)
It seems Tim Tebow is constantly thanking God - if all the images of him 'Tebowing' are any indication! I imagine his prayers are peppered with words of praise and thanksgiving. Whether he's just thrown the winning 80-yard pass in overtime or his team is suffering a 45-10 loss, I bet Tebow is counting his blessings and thanking God.
It took me a few years, a wonderful counselor and lots of prayer before I finally found my 'voice' - so to speak. I started to gain the confidence I needed to make unpopular choices. I began to value what God wanted me to do, rather than what the world expected.
It's a conscious choice and can be a struggle (depending on the day!) - but I want to be different. I don't want to 'conform' anymore. I want to give thanks in all my circumstances.
You may not find me 'Tebowing' anytime soon, but you can bet I'll be praying!