Blessings in Return

Everyone needs a father and mother that loves them and cares for them and tells them that they’re special, needed, and wanted. This will establish a wonderful, healthy, sense of “belonging” in their life that will help to firmly establish them in love. If you want to be a good father, or mother, then you need to foster this type of atmosphere in your home. Instead of always focusing on the bad, make sure to let your children know that you love them. Of course, it is possible to ‘overbless’ a person to the point of fostering a sense of irresponsibility. In other words, discipline is important and balance is important. We need to be careful about that. But what I am trying to say is that it is imperative that, if we are to raise healthy children, they must know that, in our own eyes, we value them. Otherwise, how valuable will our discipline towards them be in the long run? Probably not very valuable at all. Discipline must be firmly underguirded by this sense of ‘value’ and respect. Otherwise, discipline is not biblical discipline.

How does a child know that we value them? The one thing that I have learned as a parent is that each child needs know that we hold a *special place* in their heart. My son Daniel needs to know that he is special in and of himself. That is why I say to my daughter Elizabeth, sometimes, “No, it is Daniel’s turn”. It is for this reason that I don’t always do things ‘together’ with my children. I specifically take the time to make sure that each knows that they are special. Sometimes my daughter Elizabeth will say, “But Daniel got three times. How come you only (twirled me around, etc.) two times?” Then I will say, “Okay, you get a third time also!” And I will do a third time, and a fourth, and even a fifth time, just so that she knows that she is as highly valued as Daniel is. Perhaps on that day, she is struggling with her sense of acceptance. It is no problem for me to twirl her a third and fourth time. It would be a problem, however, if I left her in a state whereby she somehow doubted my love for her.

Still, there will come a time in our ‘twirling’ when I will say to her, “No, that is enough twirling” (or whatever it is that we are doing together). I do that because I sense the Lord saying, “That is enough.” Why would I sense the Lord saying this to me? Because all good fathers establish limits. The Lord has his limits, even in the good things. And our kids need to know that there are limits, too — yes, even in the good things. I will agree, it may be rather subjective this ‘sense’ of God speaking to me sometimes, but that is where faith comes in. I am a Christian. I believe that God is with me all the time. I can have fun twirling my daughter until such time as the ‘inner voice’ says to me, “That is enough”. And, believe it or not, it seems to work every time (though I am fallible and may ‘misread’ what the Lord is saying to me sometimes). If I don’t hear the Lord whispering that in my ear, and if I don’t see any good reason to stop the fun, then I keep on twirling her!

Did your father and mother show you affection? Perhaps you wish they had, but they did not. I have heard, and read, and even personally experienced, that if you did not receive affection like that, it is still not too late to receive it. God, as your loving heavenly Father, longs to be gracious and gentle with you. He longs to “have fun” with you in the sense of his showing affection to his beloved children. First, do you know Jesus? Jesus said that he was the ‘way’ to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me”, Jesus said in John 14:6. Once you have put your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, it is at this time that you ‘become’ a ‘child of God’. That is right. That is the moment that you are welcomed into God’s kingdom, according to John 1:12: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons [children] of God, even to them that believe on his name”.

How does a person receive the love and affection that he never received? In my own experience, I have seen that this is done by giving it away. That is right! As we seek opportunities to love others — perhaps it is our children, or perhaps it is others — then something wonderful begins to happen. All of a sudden, that ‘love deficit’ that we have begins to get a little ‘filled up’. I am not saying that this is the only way to receive love. But as a father with three children, I can say that it certainly is one way that God has used in my own life to ‘bless me back’ for the things that I didn’t receive as a child. And isn’t it wonderful when, as fathers or mothers, we bless our children, and God our heavenly Father decides to bless us back in return? Our motive for blessing our children should not be that we expect to receive anything in return. However, that is one of the by-products that we do receive. And it is a wonderful by-product at that!

The Lord bless you as you consider these things today.