About a month ago I began a journal between my youngest daughter and myself. She struggles a lot with learning how to take responsibility, show respect, and direct her anger in appropriate ways. As a mom, who loves this little girl and recognizes that she, too, struggles in the journey of the story that is ours, I racked my brain for ways that I could help her and connect with her. Being that she is intuitive enough to comprehend what she is reading, I thought a journal seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to reach out and attempt to lead her.
So, I began writing.
I wanted this journal to accomplish a couple of things. I wanted her to have a safe place where she could tell me anything. And I wanted it to serve as a place where I could tell her that she is not alone. I knew I wanted to incorporate scripture into the letters because I wanted a way to teach her that, it is not just me asking these things of her, but that God desires these things from all of us. I wanted her to see that I have to do the things I was asking of her. I wanted her to know that I, too, am asked to show respect, be responsible with those things given to me, and exercise self-control. I didn’t want her to believe that she was being asked to do things that aren’t requested of me as well. While I don’t do it perfectly, by any means of the imagination, I wanted her to know that I at least try to follow what God has laid out for me as a wife and mom. I wanted to give her concrete examples of how I do my best to follow God’s Word by respecting her dad and authority, doing my daily activities, going to the grocery store, and cleaning the house. I wanted to share, from my point of view, what would happen if I didn’t do these things, so that she could see there was a reason behind God desiring these things from me, and that I, too, had a reason for asking and expecting these things from her. I wanted her to know that I’m not looking for perfection, but to see that what is asked is asked so that she can have the best life possible and that it is asked as a way of helping her, not to nag her. As I believe, deeply, that God’s law is the same for us, a book of letters, scripted with love, so that we might live longer, fuller lives.
While she doesn’t always write me back, I know she is hearing me. I see, in her actions, that this small gesture is getting through. I don’t nag in the writing, in fact, I would say that much love comes through me when my pen hits that paper. Sometimes, I get letters back (but they aren’t required). Those that do come back to me are usually difficult to read, because I’m getting her heart. I’m getting the truth that is coming forth from the “hardness” that I often see outside of the letters, but it’s here that she is honest with me, softer, and more able to be who I know her to be. And, it is here – in this place – that we are able to connect. We share our fears with each other, our hurts, and the struggles that daily life brings. At times, I use it to simply let her know that I see her and the changes that are taking place. It’s not going to happen over night, but I know that God is at work in this little girl and our relationship. Sometimes we end up in a pile of tears together as we talk through what has been written. These are the hard times, but they are also the times where we connect the most. I love this girl so much, her heart is so good and I know that God is using this as a way for me to get to her. I’m thankful for this journal and know it’s not only affecting her, but momma too. It’s connecting us, it’s changing us, and it’s opening up some of the hard to get to places that often come out sideways in daily life.
Have you ever tried doing something like this with your child? If you have one that is a creative deep thinker, give this a try. It may just change the way you both see each other.
Til next time,
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