After months of worrying whether my baby girl would “stick” or not (because of previous miscarriages) and finally settling into what ended up being a very uncomplicated pregnancy (despite the hedging of my doctors), I sat down a few weeks before she was born and wrote down the top ten things I wanted her to learn from and through me. It wasn’t easy to narrow them down to ten. There are so many things that I still desire for her that didn’t make this list. But at the end of the day, if my daughter can get these ten lessons rooted way down deep in her spirit, then I believe she will be alright. And I’m learning now as a mother that this is the simplest, sincerest, and most powerful prayer a parent can pray: Lord, please allow my child to be alright.
Lesson #1: You can certainly be whatever you want to be but I encourage you to strive to be what God intended/designed/purposed you to be. They are not always the same thing.
Lesson #2: While it’s natural/human to desire validation, you must not allow that validation to be the source of your self-esteem. Do not define yourself by what others say or think about you but by what God says and thinks about you (He says you are fearfully and wonderfully made).
Lesson #3: You should love everyone. But you should know that there is a WAY to love everyone. Love hard and long and wide and deep. But most of all, love wisely.
Lesson #4 – Be serious when necessary but don’t TAKE YOURSELF too seriously. Be more self-aware than self-centered. Most things are not personal or even about you. And the stuff that is… generally doesn’t require your attention as much as your prayers.
Lesson #5: Be careful when using the word “all” to categorize people (like all men are…). There is always an exception. One day you might find that the exception is you. If you can find NO good in a person or group, show them the God in you. Love covers a multitude of sins. Offer grace and mercy to even the most broken of people, but use discernment when doing so.
Lesson #6: No matter the size of your nose, the complexion of your skin, the texture of your hair or the width of your hips…you are incredibly beautiful and yet at the same time, no more beautiful than the person next to you.
Lesson #7: No matter how much education you have or how much life you’ve lived, there’s always more to learn. Maintain a posture and hunger for discovery. Seek both intellectual and spiritual revelation and watch how your life will bloom right before your eyes.
Lesson #8 – Everyone will fall short of your expectations at some point or another as you may fall short of theirs. It is a trait of all humanity—which will include your parents. The key is to trust God… not people so much. Trust that He is guiding you through every triumph and every trial and that the vessels he uses (or doesn’t use), are simply that.
Lesson #9 – Authentic humility does not equate to powerlessness or weakness. It is simply recognizing your own complexity… the broken parts of yourself and the beautiful parts of yourself and the accessibility of it all. It’s understanding that true significance (the only kind that really matters at the end of the day) comes with living a transformed life in Christ—and what is more powerful than that?
Lesson #10 – Laugh loudly. Read Voraciously. Speak confidently. Love fiercely. Pray powerfully. Give generously. Live purposefully. Seek God and be free.
What lessons do you hope your child learns from you and/or through you?
Tracey Michae'l is a writer and educator based out of the Philadelphia area. She is a wife to William and a mother to a beautiful two-year old little girl. You can find her on the web at www.traceymlewis.com.