Opportunities to Shine

Jesus knew. From the moment He laid eyes on Judas, He knew he was the one (John 6:70-71). The one who would turn Him in to the enemy. And still He chose him to be among the elite. He allowed God’s plan to fall into place.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this passage in Matthew and it is still on my mind. It’s the way Jesus answered him that makes me stop and think.

Judas, the one who would betray Him, also asked,
“Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
Matthew 26:25 NLT

It occurred to me that Jesus never accused him point-blank. He didn’t say “Yes, Judas, you are the one that will betray me. I can’t believe you would do that to Me!” By saying what He did, it seems Jesus was still offering him grace. Judas was still allowed to recant, repent, and change his direction.

And a part of me feels that is a crucial point to linger on.

In Resolution for Women, Priscilla Shirer challenges mothers to be intentional encouragers of their children. To express confidence in their God-given abilities. She uses David as an example. When he is describing young Solomon to a large crowd, he doesn’t say Solomon is young and clueless. He says rather:

Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said,
‘My son Solomon,
whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel,
is still young and inexperienced.’
I Chron. 29:1 NLT

He was ensuring confidence in his son by proudly proclaiming God has big plans for Him.

I have to ask myself: Do I do that? As a mother of a child of God, do I express confidence in my son? Do I proudly proclaim God has big plans for him?

Or do I make excuses for downfalls, focus on limitations, talk to other moms about all his mess ups…

Oh, I hope not. That’s not the kind of mother my son deserves. This world is hard enough without me confining him to a box.

A few weeks back, my then 3 year-old son was on a rhyming kick. Every sentence he said rhymed with the one previous. As we were getting him ready for bed, I simply said, “You’re great at rhyming, bud, maybe one day you’ll write for Dr Seuss!” He stood there long and hard at the bathroom sink. Completely focused on his reflection in the faucet. While sticking his thumb into his chest-bone, he finally said, “Mom, maybe someday Dr Seuss will write for me.”

Just like that the air was deflated out of my lungs. My heart fell to my knees. For I had done it. Friends, I had confined him to the point that even his preschooler mind grasped it.

Father, forgive me.

And now I have added this to my striving-to-be-intentional list for the year. I focus more on how I talk about him around others. Even his dad. Because God has big plans for that little boy. I believe it down to my core. And who am I to stand in the way. Who am I to back him or God into a corner.

I want to be like Jesus. I want to shower my child with grace. I want to encourage, not accuse. And I always, always want to give him a way out. I want to provide opportunities to let him shine. I’m striving. Are you?

How about you? How do you prevent from putting your child(ren) in a box? How do you speak about them to others? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,



22 thoughts on “Opportunities to Shine

  1. Wow, Nikki, this post was beautiful and very convicting. I really try (and sometimes fail) to praise my children, to always encourage them and focus on their strengths. I need to keep praying for the strength to do this. I have found that my blog has been a wonderful avenue for this. You see, they look at my blog everyday. They are so eager to see what I have written that day and I see their eyes light up when they read something good about themselves or how obvious it is that their mom is proud of them. I need to continue doing this. Thank you, my friend, for the reminder and encouragement! Many blessings to you! 🙂

    • I love that your kiddos enjoy reading your blog, Lisa! So fun…makes me want to be an encourager to them in comments 😉 I think we’ll always have to pray for strength to do this as only God could have shown me how to handle that situation differently. So blessed He’s willing to lead the way! Hugs to you, friend!

  2. What a revelation your little guy gave you. As a home school mom, I have made it my mission to help my children find theirs. I listen and look very closely to their conversations and what they volunteer to do. I am so blessed to see them serve God with their gifts and talents, and they are pointed like arrows in the direction that God has for them. So humbled by my part in that…

    • Our part is humbling, isn’t it. The longer I partake in this parenting gig the more humbling it becomes. What a joy to watch your children bloom in the Lord! Such an answer to prayer! (and now I know to come to you when I need that extra boost…) thank you!

  3. i feel you in this…we can overlay our own expectations on our children…and mask it as pushing them to be more, but we end up filling our own needs instead of theirs…your child is a bit more discerning than me as i would not have thought that about your comment….maybe i need to be more careful too…smiles.

    • Makes me feel better to hear you say that, Brian. that you wouldn’t have thought about my comment that way. thank you! and you’re right…I’ll be striving to get out of the way and let God lead the way with that boy. He knows him better than I do, anyway!

  4. I read the book Positive Parenting recently. It’s certainly not a Christian book but it basically gives the same formula…lots of encouragement. I’ve been striving since then to do it and have failed so much. Thank you for the reminder.

    • I had never imagined it would be as hard as it is, Amy! So thankful our children give grace better than we do…and for new mercies every morning! Today, we can do better!
      Thank you so much for sharing with me and making me feel I’m not alone in this. I’ll have to check out that book. thank you!

  5. This is so interesting. I was on the plane (I mention this in my post) with a gal. She mentioned how not to block God’s path to our children. To many parents this they know more than God as to what is best for our children. I know I was certainly guilty of that when they were younger. Now I just lay them at the feet of his altar. You are so blessed so learn so much now instead of later. Speak positive words to your precious son… WONDERFUL! Have a great day!

    • Love that, Ms. Kathleen! I’ll be right next to you, laying them at His feet…He knows them better than I do anyway! I’ll be stopping by soon to read your thought-provoking post. thank you!

  6. I read a book a while back about not putting our children in a box, because they will live up to what they think our expectations are of them. For instance “Oh she’s the smart one, she’s not very athletic.” I can’t remember now what book it was, but it opened my eyes to not boxing in our children, letting them be who God created them to be. I still have to catch myself sometimes, and could definitely improve on the speaking encouraging words to them and about them. This post was a great reminder to me, thanks for that!

    • Thanks for sharing with me, Alecia! The funny thing was, I had thought I was letting my child be who God created them to be … but my words weren’t reflecting that well enough. I had no idea I would struggle with encouraging them–that’s one of my gifts! ack! So thankful for the wake up call He has provided and that children give grace better than we do. I’ll be using my new mercies today and am determined to do better. With His help. One day at a time.

  7. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking about lately as my little one is now getting rather mobile- and how to I encourage to her to be confident and strong in the Lord in whatever He calls her to…still working on that…

    • So glad we get a bit of time to find our way in this parenting gig, and that He is willing to help us out! Congrats on your little girl, Stephanie! Oh the joys of mobility! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing with me — I’m thrilled you stopped by!

  8. I love Matty’s bold proclamation and vision – which makes me think that you are building into him already…I would never have thought that back then or now, so I’m impressed…thanks for the reminder to be intentional about giving grace to our children…yes, to be mindful of our words…Thanks, Nikki 🙂 {{{Hugs}}}

    • That makes me feel better, Dolly…that I’m not the only one who might have missed that! What a kid God has blessed me with 🙂 Striving to daily place Him in God’s hands so He can show me the way to lead him to the path He has in mind for my boy. He’s knows him better than I do, anyway…who knew I would struggle with the proper encouragement for him –that’s one of my gifts! ack! 🙂 Thanks for the hug, friend!

  9. *nodding*
    My oldest is going through a rather frustrating stage. Yet even as we walk through this, I see so many good things in her. She is developing independence, she is thoughtful and kind to newcomers and has such creativity. My husband struggles with her behaviour and I have to remind him that there is much much more than just this hard spot. It’s a challenge…and we fall down so much more than we succeed. I am so thankful for God’s grace!

  10. I love this, and the faith of your precious little one! I pray that I do not hold my children back, but I raise them to trust that God will do something great with their lives…

    Thanks for sharing these convicting, guiding words… blessings to you, friend 🙂

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