I turned 30 on Friday. I wasn’t dreading it, I actually love birthdays. And truth be told, I don’t feel much different than I did at 18. Isn’t it amazing how some things just never change?
I was browsing my photography facebook page tonight and noticed several new comments – all from my mother. She loves to visit, see my work, brag on me and it isn’t rare to see something along these lines, “Wow! What an amazing picture!” I can’t help but smile when I see it. You know why? Everyone loves to be praised. I’m 30 years old and it still brings a smile to my face to hear my mother tell me how proud she is of me.
My friend Nikki and I were talking over the weekend about how she is so thankful for her parents and how uplifting they were to her as she grew up. She said, “I think I can do anything. Be an astronaut? Sure, why not. Now, is that really possible? Probably not. But, deep inside of me I still think I could do it.” I just sat there thinking how amazing that was. I want my boys to be sitting in their thirties saying the same thing.
I love the scripture found in Ephesians 4:29, as translated in The Message, “2 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”
Each word a gift. I just close my eyes and sigh at the very thought of that. Have my words been gifts or have they been daggers. Have I breathed life into my children with my words? Even if I have, I want to do more, I want to say more. I want them to know they are a treasure, that I love them and that I am proud to be their mother. Why? Because I know what it feels like to hear those things being said about me and I love that feeling.
It is so important that our words be gifts because the world is going to be sure to throw the daggers. The world is going to tell your daughter she is ugly. You have to tell her she is beautiful. The world is going to tell your son he isn’t good enough. You have to be the one to tell him he is. Your words are gifts.
I am so blessed to have a life breathing husband who uplifts and encourages me daily. I have a mother that tells me every chance she gets how wonderful she thinks I am. She says I’m the most beautiful, smartest girl in the world. Now, is that the truth? No. But in the moment she says it, it is and it breathes life into me. I have amazing friends who are encouraging and uplifting. They are living Ephesians 4:29 and that makes me want to be around them. Life begets life and we are attracted to people who bring positivity to our daily routines. Aren’t you drawn to people who are positive and are a joy to be around?
Don’t get me wrong, I have been hurt. I have had ugly things said to me and about me. I’ve said ugly things. My biological father has had nothing to do with me since I was 4 years old, but I have a Heavenly Father who rejoices over me with singing and is enthralled with my beauty. He is my source of life and my example. Because of His great love for me I can give love to others. His tank is never empty and mine is never full. It’s a wonderful deal for me. I’m so thankful my story doesn’t stop with what has been done to me by others but what has been done for me by Him.
I have never struggled with telling the people I love how I feel about them, but maybe you do. I want to challenge you this week to breathe life to those around you, especially your children if you have them. Tell them you are proud of them, tell them you love them. Find a trait or a moment to brag on them, or even better, brag to others in front of them. Maybe this is a rough week for you and things are distant with your children. It’s not too late. Look them in the eyes and say, “I hope you know how much I love you and how thankful I am that I get to be your parent.” Don’t have children? Tell your spouse, tell your mom, your dad, your best friend. We could all stand to hear an encouraging word.
So here I am. Thirty. It still brings a smile to my face to hear my loved ones tell me they love me and are proud of me. I hope that never changes.