Every night when I tuck her in and kiss goodnight, I whisper the same four things in her little ear:
You are beautiful. You are strong. You are brave. And I love you.
For six months, I whisper. And finally one day, when the hot tears stream again all over that math page she cannot seem to understand, and I too don’t know what else to do, I ask her: “Eden, what does Mama tell you every night?” And she repeats back to me words whispered and she tells me who she is. I ask her, “So what do you think it means to be brave right now in this moment?” And I watch her, as the light goes on in her mind, and her heart fills with a new determination and she rises to the task. After 18 long months of tears and struggle, I watch her, in that moment, as she steps into bravery and up out of defeat. And I breathe quiet praise… “Yes! Thank you, Papa. This is exactly what you do for us.”
Some days, she comes to me, “Mama, I need you to tell me those things again.” And I smile deep at this childlikeness that has no shame in being needy and comes again and again and again to be reminded of who she is. And I never tire of telling her again.
I have pondered this for months. This seemingly small adjustment in mindset that makes all the difference— not just in my journey with Christ, but in how I am learning to parent my kids. Why? I’ve asked. And I am beginning to understand that by knowing who we are, our starting point changes. If my daughter Eden comes to her math page defeated, believing that she cannot do this, she starts at a disadvantage. But if she comes to it knowing that she is brave, she owns the advantage. Now she only has to choose: Will I be brave right now, or not?
“How you are known in Heaven is the starting place. You have to know how God sees you, how He thinks about you, and how God speaks about you and to you. Then align with His image of who He sees you to be in Christ.” –Graham Cooke
Nearly 30 years of walking with Jesus, and for most of those, I have completely missed this. “Broken, wretched sinner saved” I have taken as my identity, the cross I have bore. And Jesus, yes He has always been my greatest good, and my all-consuming passion has been to become like Him. But I will be the first to attest that trying harder and praying longer and studying more does not bring transformation if your starting point never changed. Because you cannot inherit the riches of Christ if your mind remains focused on lack, unworthiness or non-acceptance. When we are put in Christ, we become all that He declares that we are. This is now our starting point for every situation we face. All that Christ is, we become. And then the journey begins. This journey of growing into who we are.
Warrior Commission Member