Thursday, September 18, 2008

What Are My Actions Saying?

We've all heard the saying that actions speak louder than words? Well, I've been reading around the blogosphere, and I've found myself inspired, brought to tears, laughing out loud at things I read. I've read things that made me feel proud of myself, ashamed of myself, and things that helped me get to know myself. But sometimes I find a trail of links in blog posts, and if I follow them, I find myself amazed at the thinking power of the people in the world around me. A few days ago I followed one such trail, from here to here, and then here and even a little section here.
So I followed the trail, read the words of these mothers concerned about sending the right message of worth to their kids, and I got to thinking ... What message am I sending to Teenybop? Am I making sure that she knows she is important to me? Will she be sure that I love her and value her as a person, that I'm not just taking care of her because I have to?

Sometimes I don't know. Like when I'm beat at the end of the day and she wants to hear a Bible story but I'm not in the mood to read. It's not really about the story for her, though, is it? Mostly, what she wants is just a few more minutes of my time, and one of the ways to get that is to ask me to read to her. But does that mean that I'm less of a mom if I don't feel like reading? No. I'm still her mother, and I'm still pretty decent at it. Then again, I've seen the way her eyes light up when I crawl into her bed and snuggle with her under her covers to tell her a story that I already know by heart.

So many other times during the day, there are little things I know that I can do to make my daughter feel special, but I don't always do them. I don't always have the time, or the patience. But how does that make her feel ... when I don't have time to play with her? What am I telling her?

I want her to know that I value her, that I love it when she is calm enough to stand on a chair and stir the breakfast oatmeal while I hold the pot handle. I want her to know how much fun it is for me when we sit together and I paint our finger-and-toenails. I desperately need her to understand that my favorite time of day is when I pick her up from school and she chatters all the way home, telling me what she ate and who she played with and what they did and if she liked it.

Because someday she'll need me, really need me, and I need her to know without a doubt that I'm there for her. But also because I am a model to her of God's love. A model of what love looks like, what it feels like, and how it acts. And He loves her completely, even if she's helping to wash the dishes and she drops a glass which shatters on the floor. Even if she's having a tantrum over wearing the white sandals instead of the pink ones.

How can she know how completely He loves her if she has no example of what it feels like to be loved? A mother's love, strong and deep as it is, can never compare to the love God holds for us. But someday, if I've done it all right, she'll know how much I love her and how dearly I treasure her in my life ...

And I hope and pray that she'll stand in awe of the knowledge that He loves her more.