It’s All In The Character
Michelle Weber, She Speaks Conference

“Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” Ephesians 5:2 (NIV)

“I’ll race you to the top,” my 6 year-old daughter Emily shouted to her 4 year-old little sister Amanda. Emily was already at the top and headed into her room before Amanda was barely half way up the steps. I waited for Amanda as she carefully climbed the stairs, pulling herself up with her arms to compensate for the weakness in her legs.

As I tucked Emily into bed that night I asked her to please stop turning everything into a race. “You’re asking Amanda to play a game that she just can’t win and it’s making her very sad.” With a heavy heart Emily replied, “Mommy why did God give ME all the gifts?” Searching for the right words I told her that God didn’t give her all the gifts, just different ones. I reminded her that God has given Amanda a bunch of gifts too, but hers just aren’t as easy to see right now.
The following year my little Amanda was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. The world as I had planned it with my beautiful healthy children came crashing down around me. “How could this be? We are an active family. We are going to take ski vacations, ride bikes and horses together.” Everyday I found myself crying uncontrollably and thinking about how incredibly unfair life was. It just had to change, it just had to.

The first thing I had to do was kick myself out of my personal pity party and get serious about helping Amanda. I wasn’t the victim here and I wasn’t going to sign Amanda up to be one either. In addition to talking to other doctors, I examined my role and became very intentional about focusing on the one thing that made both of my girls special and valuable in their own ways. We began celebrating the gift God gave them both which made them each unique. We turned our focus to their character - who they are, not what they can or cannot do.

Now preteens, my husband and I celebrate our daughters’ character and the choices they’ve made which have led to many different kinds of accomplishments, both simple and monumental. Simple acts of kindness never go unnoticed. Perseverance and a good attitude are always cause to celebrate someone, their character, and the choices they’re making.

The perfect resource and teacher for me is Christ. Because I am a believer, I have chosen to be guided by His virtues, which mold my life and influence my choices as well. Before I could hope to see His virtues in my children I needed to first model them myself. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control became my personal mantra and daily cheat sheet. Galatians 5:23 states “against such things there is no law.” My children are learning about Christ through me and my daily dealings in the circumstances of life. His virtues are also plainly displayed in our kitchen as a daily reminder to all of us.

We’ve had our share of accomplishments and struggles over the past several years, each providing invaluable lessons and glimpses into each one’s character. Accomplishments and successes as well as struggles and failures in this life are temporary but necessary for developing the soul, which is eternal. My hope is that no matter what God’s plan is for Emily and Amanda, regardless of what he gives them or takes away, that they know they are special, equally valuable and amazingly unique.

Dear Lord, thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made so we can be so blessed. Give me the strength and wisdom to honor you as I raise and encourage my children to be virtuous and honorable adults who glorify you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do you know Him?

Family Enrichment Tool Kit by Michelle Weber

She Speaks Conference

Applications Steps:
When was the last time you gave your child a compliment that highlighted their character? Tonight, take a recent accomplishment and think about the character shown and choices your child made which resulted in that particular success. Bring up that occasion and focus your conversation on the character traits they showed and choices they made. Help them understand and feel good about the many variables and choices which led to that particular success.

Power Verses:

Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.”

1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”

Deuteronomy 6:7, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and whey you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read this article I burst into tears. My husband and I are in the process of getting our 4 year old son diagnosed with MD. I am scared out of my mind. I feel God's grace all around us yet I am frightened for what the future holds for our son. I have been reading my Bible constantly and praying non stop pleading God to give us a good result. Realistically there is a chance our son won't live a full life. As Christians, how do we cope with this news? As humans it is very difficult to understand God's plan for each of us. I am a Christian and realize that God does have a plan for each of us, however it is much easier to give that statement to others that are hurting than to be the one to receive those words.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My comment seems small and simple in the light of the very weighty and serious questions posed by the first blogger. The momenumental news that a childs health is in question is every mothers worst fear. I think your question of how do you cope is very honest and frankly one I instantly wonder myself when I hear of someone's life unexpectedly taking an unwanted turn.

In the book "When I Lay My Issac Down" by Carol Kent she gives her very personal story of her own "unthinkable circumstances". It hits on these very questions. I found it refreshingly candid and comforting in my own time of personal crisis. One of the things she says is that "discovering the power and the invaluable lessons found in unthinkable circumstances usually takes a great deal of time." It sounds like the diagnosis for your son is still very new and your are in completely uncharted waters. Hoping to see or understand God's plan in this will be a process that takes time.

OF course the waiting to understand is unbearable. So this is a piece of advice I clung to from the book as I struggled with my own problems. "For now keep pouring out your raw and uncensored thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears to God. Allow God into the crushed places inside you and ask Him to embrace you with a comfort beyond anything you've experienced....Ask him to lay his heart over your heart as you trust Him for what you cannot see."

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing me back! Two years ago, we walked the road of diagnosis for my second daughter. I have four completely healthy and whole children and assumed that she was as well. It took a long time to diagnose her condition as it is rare and most often times misdiagnosed. CP, MD, and others were possibilities. I struggled most with the fact I did not want her to feel inferior or slighted by our Great God. It is a decision to be thankful and build your child's character but a wonderful one. Today I have a daughter who feels she can do anything and never gives up! She loves God and knows that He loves her. Sure there are times when we must take captive our thoughts and insecurities and give them to God! But He is so faithful...after all it is all part of being a Proverbs 31 wife and mom! Thanks for sharing!

Post a Comment


Site Search
Recent Devotions
Articles About...
Grab our button!