During Spring Break, my family and I ventured off to a new hotel with an on-site water park. We spent a couple of days splashing around, basking in the sun, and enjoying much-needed quality time. Let me tell you, that Florida spring was a steamy one! The cool water felt refreshing in contrast to the hot sun.
My oldest two raced up the stairs that led to two very tall water slides. They came plummeting down with shrieks of excitement. They high fived and headed back up the stairs for more thrills. Our youngest jumped into the lazy river. We could see his head bouncing up and down with a huge smile across his face. He was just tall enough to reach the bottom and he waded around on his toes feeling like such a big boy. My husband joined him.
I took the hand of my five-year-old daughter. Her blue eyes were filled with curiosity. She pointed upwards and asked if I would take her on the tall, blue slide. With enthusiasm, we rushed up the stairs and reached the top. She bounced up and down with excitement as we got closer to the front of the line.
When the lifeguard signaled for her to approach the slide, she pulled back. The look of fear replaced the joy in her eyes. I walked her to the entrance. She looked down at the slide then back at me. She placed one finger on her lip and declared that she would ride it later. So we walked down several flights of stairs and joined the rest of our family in the pool.
A few moments later, my sweet daughter signaled bravely towards the top of the slides. Hand in hand, we skipped up the steps again, as we exchanged light conversation. Excitement rose within her voice. She imagined what it would be like to race down the blue slide. As we reached the top, fear overcame her like before. Once again, we walked back down the stairs.
This scenario played out a few more times. Frustration overtook me. I didn’t think she would ever take the plunge. I firmly told her we would not be attempting this water slide again. If she wasn’t able to do it by now, then it was time to move on.
In the very next moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.
Speak life. Instead of telling her what she cannot do, tell her what she can do. Make it clear that she is strong enough to try something new. Tell her that you believe in her.
A few moments later, my daughter tapped my arm. With timid eyes, she said, “I know you’ll probably say no, but I was wondering if we could try going on the blue slide again, Mommy.”
This time, I had a fresh perspective. I grabbed her hand and gave her a big smile. “Let’s go!” As we reached the top, the same dread came over her again. At the slide entrance, I asked her to sit down. We got this far only once before, and she quickly stood back up and walked away. This time, as she sat, I began to speak life into her.
“I know you can do this! You are going to love it! You’ve got this! I believe in you! Just go for it! You are brave, and you can do this!”
She grasped the handles. I could tell she really wanted to go for it. Then, she quickly released her hands and wouldn’t budge. Again, I spoke life into her.
“You are strong and brave! You can do this! You are going to love it! Go for it! You’ve got this! I believe in you!”
In that moment, the timid look in her eyes vanished. A visible strength grew inside of her. She thrusted herself forward, released the handles, and went gushing down the curvy slide. I raced back to the steps where I could see her small body handling the twists and turns of the slide. I cheered loudly, jumping up and down. My sweet girl was doing it!
As she plunged down the slide, she never looked back. She said good-bye to fear as she shouted with glee. At the bottom, she stepped off the slide and gave me a big thumbs up. She stood a little taller. More confident.
Her huge smile shouted, “I’m an overcomer!”
How Life-Giving Words Made All The Difference
For the rest of the day, my daughter beamed as she ran up the stairs all on her own. Ride after ride, she couldn’t get enough of the blue slide! She repeatedly told me, “I can’t believe I did it, Mommy!” She even laughed at herself for being scared of something that was so much fun. Her giggle touched me to the core. She was experiencing freedom.
My precious girl had the courage to conquer her fear all along. She just simply needed a trusted voice to spur her on. To fill in the gaps where she lacked confidence.
Fear had captured her at one point. But my words held the key to unlocking the prison she was in. I responded to the whisper inside: Speak life. Because I responded to that whisper, my daughter responded as well, and a new door opened to her.
Not only did she conquer the slide that day, she also learned an invaluable lesson. The next time fear tries to hold her back, she can look directly in the face of fear and know that she is strong enough. She is brave enough. She has someone on her side cheering her on. Someone who will always believe in her. And when she needs that extra reassurance, she knows who to come to.
That night just before drifting to sleep, she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said, “Mommy, I sure hope I don’t forget how much fun that blue slide is in the morning. Because I want to ride it all day again tomorrow.” I kissed her soft cheek and said, “You’ll remember, Baby.”
Why We Need To Speak Life-Giving Words To Our Children Every Day
Words are incredibly powerful. Your voice is an important one, especially in your child’s life. Speaking words of encouragement that will build your child up every day is one of the greatest joys of parenting. You have the power to completely transform the way your child sees a particular situation, and even more so, what they believe about themselves.
Two Bible verses come to mind as I ponder this special moment my daughter and I shared.
Your tongue has the power of life and death. ~Proverbs 18:21 (NIrV)
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. ~Ephesians 4:29 (NCV)
Our words have power…life and death kind of power. God wants us to encourage one another and speak life into others so they can become stronger. When we see someone struggling, our words can make all the difference. Think of that in terms of your own child. Our kids really listen to our words. What we say to them (and how we say it) impact how they see themselves and the world around them.
This world can sometimes seem big and scary to them. At times, they will lack the confidence it takes to stand bold. They will hear plenty of outside voices telling them they can’t do it, that they’re not good enough. You have the wonderful job, Parent, to be the positive voice in your child’s life every single day. Speak life.
Is It Too Late?
Maybe you’re feeling like it’s too late. Perhaps you’re thinking the damage is already done. Let me be the first to tell you ~ it’s not too late. Every day is a brand new day full of God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy. And let me remind you, Dear Friend, God is into redemption. He loves restoring broken relationships. That’s what He did for us through His Son Jesus. And He has the power to redeem broken relationships in your life.
Today is a new day. How can you speak life into your child today?
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