Toward the end of the summer, I was doing some back-to-school shopping at my local store, filling my grocery cart with crayons, number two pencils, composition paper, a hot pink pencil box and a lady bug lunch box for my kindergartener and preschooler.
I glanced up to see in front of me a mother and daughter marking off items on their get-ready-for-college list. I tried to hold it together until after I checked out of the store but I barely made it to the parking lot when the tears started streaming down my face.
The tears and the knot in my throat were the result of that heart-racing foreshadowing of my future. It's a future with my two precious girls that I know will come more quickly than I could ever imagine.
Every morning in the midst of brushing teeth and making sure hair bows are placed perfectly, I make my girls take a moment, look into my eyes, and I say: "You are smart. You are kind. You are beautiful. You are brave."
Before they step out of the safety of the nest and into the big, bad, sometimes scary, but also wonderful world, I want the last thing their little ears to hear is my uplifting and encouraging truth.
1. "You Are Smart."
My two girls love school. My kindergartener is up and happy at 6 a.m. in order to be ready on time for school. Even my preschooler is equally excited about her little school day.
Watching them bloom as learners—gaining the ability to read, write, and even do a little arithmetic—is an incredible experience. As their minds are being filled with knowledge, I also want them to gain wisdom. I don't want them to just regurgitate answers on a worksheet and move on to the next lesson. I hope that they take each little nugget of information and apply it to their lives.
At home, I try to apply what they have learned to their everyday lives.As we drive to and from after-school activities, I may comment on how the trees are green and the sky is blue. I may ask them to try to name something that is red, or a word that starts with the letter "Z".
Even though it may be a simple or even a silly game, I want my daughters to know that what they learn in school can help them even more than getting an "A" or a sticker on the top of their papers.
2. "You Are Kind."
I know that my two daughters will be best friends one day, but there have been days at our house when I have had my doubts.
Those are the days when I have said, "Be kind. Share. Don't push your sister," about a hundred times—all before I've finished one cup of coffee!
One minute they will be playing sweetly together and then the next minute they are all over each other. As much as they love each other, most of the time, there are many opportunities throughout the day to remind them of their sisterly love.
It is important for me to not only teach and guide them in how to be kind to each other, but also to be kind to those they come in contact with at church, school, dance class, and in playgroups. The world can be a harsh, scary and discouraging place. I want my girls to shine and be a breath of fresh air as they encourage the people God has placed in their lives.
3. "You Are Beautiful."
In my home you will find a lot of pink, sparkles and princesses. At any given moment, one of my girls will be dancing around in a costume, wearing a glitter-covered crown, or making sure their babies are dressed and accessorized.
They are constantly asking my husband and me, "Do I look beautiful?"
The world will tell them that they are beautiful only because of their size, the clothes they wear or how they fix their hair. I want them to know they are beautiful because they are amazing creations of God. That everything that God makes is very good, especially them!
4. "You Are Brave."
As my oldest stood next to her elementary school sign for the first time on our way into kindergarten orientation, I couldn't help but notice that she wasn't even as tall as the sign.
While I was a bundle of nerves, she bravely walked in, met her teachers, and took a tour of her new school. When it was my youngest daughter's turn to meet her new teachers, friends and take a look at her new school, she walked in with the same confidence as her big sister.
God has incredible experiences and awesome adventures waiting for my daughters. My desire is to instill the truth of Scripture into their hearts and to give them the confidence to step out on faith into the perfectly designed plans for their lives.
Bravery is not the lack of fear—bravery is feeling scared, yet holding fast to God, trusting Him to lead and guide each and every step.
Article courtesy of HomeLife magazine.
BONUS: 3 Spiritually Uplifting Resources for Girls
No Filter: A 40-Day Devotional for Girls—In a culture obsessed with picture perfect moments, it's tempting to present only the best of ourselves to the world around us. We put filters on our images, brush away imperfections and anxiously await affirmation from others. But this is not how we were created to live. Only when we see ourselves through the lens of God's truth can we truly know what it means to walk this journey with confidence and purpose.
For Girls Only Devotions—For Girls Only Devotions talks about the issues girls (ages 8 to 12) face. Each devotion includes a story about a real issue, a self-quiz for you to check out how you're doing, some tips on living out the message and Scripture to reinforce the lesson. It's a fun way to learn more about living out your faith in real life.
One Minute Devotions for Girls—This one-minute collection of devotions for girls features a Scripture quote, uplifting paragraph and prayer, designed to encourage, from award winning Christian author Carolyn Larsen.