We were at the dinner table when it broke all to pieces. My favorite floral plate and the dam holding back the last of my patience, that is.
I may or may not have expressed my exasperation forcefully, causing tears to pool in my daughter’s wide gray eyes. I regretted my response before it even fully left my lips, and then I knelt and apologized as we picked the porcelain up off the floor.
Later, my husband and I discussed the incident as we got ready for bed. And by “discussed” I mean that I sat on the bathroom counter and cried while he brushed his teeth. I am very poised and rational and never melodramatic. I hopped down and he enveloped me in a hug while offering words of reassurance.
“Just remember,” he said gently, “in our house we build confidence, we don’t break it”
I don’t think he meant for it to become a mantra but it did. For one thing, it has great rhythm and I’m a girl who loves a good use of alliteration. But for another, it encapsulates a wisdom found in thin gold-rimmed pages of our family Bible.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.”
It’s a message that serves as a touchstone for this mother of a wild-spirited child.
Stepping into motherhood alongside my firstborn has been an act of sanctification.
This girl has taught me to bend, to shift and to soften. Mothering her has been an exercise in learning to let go, to loosen my rigidity in favor of finding beautifully new rhythms of grace. She has shown me that love is limber, expansive.
The nature of her personality means that what her heart needs doesn’t always line up with my expectations. The way I thought I’d parent isn’t always best suited to how she needs to be parented. She needs a wider berth for her energy and I need to cut that path for her with grace.
I am shaping her and I am shaped by her.
Shepherding her heart has softened my sharp edges, because I don’t want her to be cut to the quick by my the quick of my words. I want to be a champion of my children, not a critic.
I want to build, not break.
I am intimately acquainted with insecurity, the way it ingrained itself as my inner monologue, casting self-doubt across my life experiences like a shadow.
It is for this reason that I heed these Ephesians words, so that the ones I speak into our family will be full of encouragement and hopeful possibility, giving grace to those who hear.
I don’t just want to build her confidence, I want to give her a well of truth to draw from. I once let my own reservoir run dry, “until I was so parched that any affirmation felt like a quenching for my thirst, and I drank it in greedily. I don’t want my daughter reaching for that cup.” I want her to be fulfilled knowing that she already has her portion.
I want her to be boldly confident in who she was created to be.
Mothering her has been an all-encompassing reminder that human hearts are tender and that they need purposeful tending to thrive.
It’s a privilege to become a better mother under her unknowing tutelage.
“To Scarlette, for teaching me how to flourish,” I wrote in the dedication of my new book, because it was in wanting to be my best self for her that taught me how to bloom.
My latest book releases tomorrow, and I hope that you will pick it up and drink in the funny stories about my hilarious girl mixed in with the soul-stirring truths of how we can learn to celebrate the God-given gifts in each of our unique personalities.
In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence is for every woman who has ever felt insecure or inadequate.
It is an invitation to rewrite our inner monologue, to tame our inner critic, and to celebrate our unique personality.
It is an invitation to flourish.
I would love for you to unfold the blueprint with us.
Because in our house, we build.
Order your copy of In Bloom: Trading Restless Insecurity for Abiding Confidence today. Available here on Amazon, or take advantage of this exclusive offer from Lifeway.com and get two additional books free with your purchase of In Bloom.