Faith, Parenting

Where does your report come from?

going to schoolSo we had our annual end of year school reports home this week. It hardly seems five minutes since our eldest started school!

I am pleased to say that ours was very good, although my son eyed me warily as tears (of pride) began to fall whilst I was reading it! He has come on in leaps and bounds over the past year which was his very first in formal education. I was quite overwhelmed by just how well the teachers knew my son, which sounds silly when you think that they spend each and every weekday with them for 40 weeks or so! I don’t think I fully realised or appreciated the lengths that teachers and teaching assistants go to in order to build relationships with and meet the needs of their pupils. I am one very thankful mama and I love that these special teachers have taken the time to know my son as well as I do.

Whilst reading the report, I was reminded of how much my school reports meant to me as a child. I was what you would call a very conscientious (read geeky) student who just loved to learn and loved to please. I was so desperate to make my teachers and parents proud of me, and their comments in my paper report had the power to enlarge or destroy my spirit. I would take negative comments and criticism so personally, and beat myself up over the smallest error such as a spelling mistake or an A- grade.

I have since learned that my top love language is words of affirmation (no surprise there then!). I have realised that words are weapons that can wield great power in my life and the lives of others. My careless comments or the whispered words of others can penetrate the very soul of a person, piercing their heart and causing irreparable damage that can last a lifetime.

I have often based my worth upon what people say about me, on what their report of me is. This can be so incredibly dangerous though, as our thoughts and opinions can be influenced my mood, tiredness, anxiety, illness or previous experiences rather than the truth. The best person to report on another is one that knows him inside and out. Perhaps this is why I was so surprised that my son’s teachers knew him so well, surely as his mother, the one who bore and raised him, both his father and I would be the only people to really know what makes him tick?

There are of course many things that a parent will know about their child better than a teacher (and vice versa in some cases!) and since becoming a Christian I have learned that the only person who could know be better than I know myself is my creator God. He knit me together in my mother’s womb, He watched me take my very first steps in this world, He leaned in when I learned to talk, and delighted in me when I started to discover my giftings. He was heartbroken at my tears when I sought love and acceptance through people and things that could never offer me what my heart craved. He was overjoyed when I found Jesus and gave my life to Him. He reassured me that He would never abandoned or betray me, but His love would envelope me, encourage me and equip me for the good report He had already written for my life.

I am still learning each and every day, and pray I will never cease to do so, but the difference in me since becoming a Christian is that I no longer look for the reports of others but for my report from God. I find my identity, my value and my worth in God’s word, not through comparing myself to others, grasping for worldy status and approval through achievements and material gain. I find my worth in the scriptures which declare

‘…I am fearfully and wonderfully made’. Psalm 139:13-15

‘ For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10

‘For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. Galatians 3:26

‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.’ Luke 12:6-7

‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ 2 Corinthians 5:17

‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ Philippians 4:13

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

‘Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect’. Romans 12:2

Yes it is good to please others, your parents, your boss, your friends or your spouse, but don’t rely upon a good report from them in order to know who you are and feel loved and valued. Find the glowing report created by your creator in the Bible, who states that you are His creation, His masterpiece, His treasure and let this truth transform you today.

R

Standard
Faith

Wear love out

We all want to be loved right?

That is the reason we get dolled up for a big night out, ready to impress a certain someone at youth club, the church social or an office party. We make an effort with our appearance, hit the gym regularly or maybe choose a fashionable outfit or statement accessory to make us feel good and get noticed by others.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel good. However your worth is not in what you wear or what you look like, nor is it in who ‘likes’ you on Facebook or professes to love you in the club. Grasping blindly at this superficial love is like trying to catch the clouds with your fingertips, we will always be just too far away to reach, and if we did catch it, the love that has no substance would simply dissipate like the clouds.

Jesus loves you exactly as you are. Right now. His love is substantial, real, tangible and life giving. It is there even when you don’t realise it, are at your worst, your least glamorous or least graceful.

Why? Because you are worth it.

You are precious and important. You are unique and valuable, so much so that Jesus died for you! That kind of love, that sacrificial, selfless, all encompassing love is unimaginably deep and wide, it covers every single person in this world, whether they accept it or not, but the greatest joy will be found by those who do accept it.

Jesus said that others will know that we are his disciples by our love for one another. John 13:35.

When a person accepts Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, and invites him in to their hearts they are changed forever. For some it is an overnight change, but for most it is a continual process that develops as we grow in our walk with God. God is love, and as we get to know him better, and understand his love for us and for others we start to see the bigger picture.

We are called to love. Love your mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, friend and neighbour. Smile, pay compliments, offer lifts, take time out to have a cuppa with an elderly friend or relative, take meals to new moms and the sick. See the need around us, look at your world, your immediate circles through the eyes of Jesus and love them. You don’t need a big international ministry to impact the Kingdom of God, just take a few minutes out of your day to see your colleague or friend through Jesus’ eyes and be his hands and feet right where you are.

12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.”
Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

That’s the kind of love I want to be display, I want to be known for my love for others, not for my appearance. I know that I am loved by my creator God, my Father in heaven and I want to crave his admiring glances and his approval, no one else’s. Find yourself in him each and every morning, wrapped in his loving embrace, then take that love with you and wear it out.

R

Wear Love

Standard