True Greatness

“If you’re a parent, don’t celebrate anything more than you celebrate godly character in your children. I commend and encourage my son for academic achievement or an athletic award, but we break out into real celebration around my house only when there’s a demonstration of humility, servanthood, or godly character.”

C.J. Mahaney  Humility: True Greatness

Anna is a beautiful dancer. She has a sophisticated sense of style. She’s articulate, witty, and outgoing. I love these things about her. However, I rejoice when I see her articulate what the Lord is teaching her. She recently knitted a sweet baby hat for little Holland. Precious. Lord help me celebrate evidences of true beauty in my daughter – that which is beautiful in your eyes.

Christina is Miss Creativity. She is fun. She can sew, knit, play piano and cook. I love these things about her. However, I celebrate her passion for honoring the Lord. She loves to hear God’s word. I can see the fruit of the Holy Spirit when she sets aside her creative agenda to serve her toddler sister or help me with the laundry. Her compassion for God’s creatures is precious. Lord, help me to encourage her creativity in ministry, heart for people and desire to grow spiritually.

My Bethany can draw and cook and knit and keep the house running in my absence. She pays close attention to detail. She too loves to dance and I enjoy all these gifts the Lord has given her. However, I rejoice that she desires unity in relationships. She loves people and cares deeply about the feelings of others. I am thankful that she would rather spend an hour baking for our 90 year old neighbors than playing Wii. Lord, help me to always encourage her desire to serve you by serving others.

Nathan has been gifted intellectually and musically. He began reading at the age of 4. He is a geography whiz. Musically, he amazes us. I am thankful for his gifts and pray that as his mother, I can show him daily that God has great plans for him. Not long ago, he saw an ad in World Magazine asking for donations for children in 3rd world countries born with cleft palates. “Mom, I want to help children like that when I am grown and I don’t want to charge anything to fix their mouths.” I love to hear Nathan’s music, but comments that reflect the heart of a future missionary doctor are more beautiful than any song that even the greatest musician can play. Lord, I don’t know what your future plans are for my son but help me to point him toward you in all things.

Little Sarah can sing and dance and she smiles a lot. She is spunky. She is smart. She can do anything she wants to do. All her gifts are wonderful but I pray she finds her joy in Jesus. She makes friends so easily. Lord, help her to point her friends towards you.

Esther’s curls are beautiful. She is delightful. She is only 2. She sings “Jesus loves me.” Help me Lord to show her just how much you love her in the years ahead.

Our culture defines greatness as being good at something. My children hear this definition a zillion times a day and they are listening. As a parent, I want to communicate that Biblical greatness is worth striving for. It’s easy to focus on things that are external and have no eternal value. While I am thankful for the way the Lord has uniquely gifted each of my children, I do not desire to celebrate talents more than Godly character. Well written papers, a good piece at a music or dance recital and a song well sung should be encouraged. However, I rejoice when I see my children serving others and honoring God. Lord, help me rejoice and encourage true greatness of character as my children develop – that which comes only from you.

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One Response to “True Greatness”

  1. Laurel Says:

    What a beautiful post! I LOVE it!

    I want to encourage you …

    This is how we have always tried to raise our children. My children excelled at sports, and music, and drama … but, while we attended all of their events, and loved to be their cheerleaders, we were more excited about all of the ministry opportunities they wanted to be involved in, and the mission trips they wanted to go on. It paid off …

    My 5 oldest children are ages 25, 24, 23, 21, 21. ALL of them have travelled the world. 4 of the 5 have served as missionaries for a minimum of 6 months, but others for 1 and 2 years. The son who dreamed of being a professional baseball player, spent a year in Amman, Jordan serving as a missionary and going to Arabic Language School full-time. The eldest daughter who dreamed of getting married young and having babies right away, has served the Lord in The Gambia, Senegal, Haiti, and India. She is 24, and still desiring to be married and to be a mommy. But, rather than just sitting around and waiting … she has traveled the world in service to Him. Another daughter (21) went to Argentina “for 6 months”. That was 2 years ago, and she is still there … and in a serious relationship with a young Argentine man. She may live there permanently. Another daughter (21) has served the Lord in Mexico (twice), Costa Rica, Germany (twice), India, and Bangladesh. Now, she is thinking about completing her last 2 years of University studies.

    Please know … that I am NOT bragging about my children … boasting of the type of mother that I am (or am not). Rather … I want to encourage moms that if they truly raise up their children to love and serve the Lord, and if they encourage their children to follow the dreams and passions that the Lord has given them, that the LORD can do mighty things in and through them. ALL the praise goes to the Lord. I am so thankful that HE led us to focus on HIS priorities for our children when they were young (rather than just the sport, music, and drama).


    mama of a dozen

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