By Allison Ulrich
“Mom, am I brave?”
Talk about a conversation starter! There’s something about bedtime– the prayer, the snuggles, just decompressing after a long busy day. Bedtime with your kiddo is a sacred time when it feels safe to ask just about anything. It’s just you and that child, no distractions, no schedules to keep. Just a time of reflection and safety that inherently feels nostalgic, thankful, and cozy all at the same time.
“You sure are bud. Do you think you’re brave?”
“I’m not really sure about that. I never seem to know the right thing to say, and um, I’m not very strong. Plus I usually get really nervous to try new things.”
“Guess what buddy, even adults feel that way sometimes. But God, the Creator of the whole universe, designed you to be exactly who you are, and God doesn’t make mistakes.”
In Jeremiah 1:5, God says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” To which Jeremiah replies, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, I don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child.” What does God say to that? “Do not say ‘I am only a child,’ you must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you and will rescue you.” Jeremiah goes on to say that God touched his lips and declared that He had put words in Jeremiah’s mouth, and that He had already appointed him to control kingdoms and nations.
“You know what amazing qualities I see that God already gave you? You’re creative, smart, a really great speller, an exceptional musician, you have a kind heart, and you’re quick to forgive. God values all of those things, and will use you to bless others and bless Him.”
No sooner than I finish speaking, I see a shiny reflection of the nightlight glimmer off his little, white teeth in the dark.
Parents, I encourage you to shine a blazing spotlight on those attributes God has already instilled in your children, and continue to plant those truths into their little hearts. I promise that eventually, they’ll begin to see themselves the way that you do, and more importantly, the way God does. As a unique individual whom He loves and intentionally designed with attributes He can use in His own perfect way, to cause His name to be glorified. Isn’t that what we truly want most for our children? These affirmations show them God loves who He created them to be and give them hope that He sees a specific and wonderful potential in them.
The title of this series is Call to Action—and that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. My son may say the wrong thing, but the Holy Spirit will give him the right words to speak. My son may not be strong physically, but the Holy Spirit will strengthen him in his time of need. He can become brave by way of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is bursting with examples of people who were filled with the Spirit for the purpose of fulfilling God’s plan in some way.
King Saul (who was greatly flawed and disobedient) was given the Spirit in order to have the power to lead the people (1). But then, after Saul’s sinful disobedience, God gave His spirit to David so he could lead the people (notice that effective leadership only comes by way of the Spirit).
David had his own innate gifts. First of all, he was very brave and was known as a warrior (he knew how to use a slingshot, that’s for sure!). We read that David was well-spoken, and very handsome too (2). But don’t forget, he was also a skilled musician, and God used that too! David’s harp playing was described as the only tool King Saul had to relieve his deep depression during his reign (this was after the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him) 3. Saul liked David so much that he gave him the position of armor bearer in his service. It was when the Holy Spirit came upon him that David was able to use these gifts to truly glorify God and accomplish mighty things that his talents and bravery alone wouldn’t. Not to mention the God-breathed, poetic Psalms written by David.
King Solomon was given the gift of wisdom, we can all plainly see the spiritual value in wisdom and can imagine that wisdom is probably a very highly regarded attribute in God’s economy. But consider a man named Bezalel, whose mention is found in Exodus 35. Bezalel was just a craftsman, that’s all we know about him. But God called him by name out of the crowd and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts…” (4). The Holy Spirit filled him and all of a sudden he had ALL the knowledge of a skilled artist, craftsman and teacher in ALL mediums: gold, bronze, cutting stones, woodworking, design, embroidery and weaving.
Why did the Spirit take a guy who was essentially a handyman and turn him into an incredibly talented artist? Because God had called Bezalel for a purpose, to build the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant! God created him with some natural skill, a blessing for sure. But then the Spirit filled him and magnified his abilities x 1,000 for God’s specific purpose. Wow! To think that artistic talent is regarded as valuable, just as wisdom is regarded as valuable to God. That is, when the Holy Spirit gets involved.
So here’s the practical 3-step Call to Action for us moms & dads, grandmas, aunts, mentors, maybe even nannies:
- Don’t stop tucking your kids in at night. Do it for as long as they’ll let you, even when you’re tired. It’s been a blessing in my life and opened up conversation and prayer with my kids that may not have happened otherwise. The treasure you’ll discover in those dimly lit moments will be dripping with gems as you tuck them into your mind’s pocket and hold them in your heart forever.
- Tell your kids who they are. Tell them that they are first and foremost a child of God. Tell them the wonderful innate gifts that you see God has already blessed them with. Give much notice to the way He artistically crafted them to be exactly the way they are.
- Lastly, enlist the Holy Spirit through prayer in your bedtime talks. Our kids know they’re far from perfect. They know they say the wrong thing and sometimes make wrong choices. They know they can be awkward and timid. But remind them of the breath of the Spirit that lives in them, guiding them, and giving them the power to accomplish things they’d never dream possible, in order to glorify God.
Simple right? Tuck’em, tell’em, and pray it in. I would be lost without my identity in Christ, and I’d be powerless without the Holy Spirit. It’s my duty and privilege to pass that truth onto my kids.
My youngest recently came bursting in the door after school excitedly saying, “Guess what? I used my gifts 3 times today!” I’m telling you friends, it’s absolutely worth the effort.