“You are the light of the world- like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 6:14-16
This has been the focus in our house lately, learning to let our light shine….even when its hard.
However, I didn’t find this verse until 2 days ago when I “accidentally” (are there any accidents when God is moving in our lives?) stumbled on it, the idea to focus on our lights actually came from the song “This Little Light of Mine.” Its one of Savannah’s favorites right now and the Holy Spirit has guided me in how to use it as a parenting tool. God is awesome like that, I needed help in my parenting and He provided it through a simple song.
See, we’ve had some behavior issues and parent-child disconnect lately with Savannah. Some issues are admittedly my own fault in that she has learned how to handle her daily life frustrations in the same way I do, like blowing things out of proportion and yelling (I confess!). I was tired of fighting battles everyday, I was tired of being a yelling mommy and feeling my anger spiral out of control while watching my daughter do the same. I absolutely did not like knowing that my unthoughtful words were wounding her spirit and heart, and in turn she was acting out and dishing out the same unkindness. So, I felt like we needed to work on this together but wasn’t sure what to do to encourage a change in her behavior, let alone my own. Old habits die hard, huh?
It’s amazing to see how God can work when we humble ourselves! One day Savannah said in her giddy 4 year old voice, “You know my favorite part of that song, Mommy? The part where it says, ‘Don’t let Satan blow it out, NO! I’m going to let it shine’ because I love Jesus!” And that got me thinking about this song a little deeper (blame the English major in me and the Holy Spirit’s wonderful prompting!) and how we each have “lights” inside of us. I imagine it to be like a candle light, softly dancing with joy, and providing a light to all that is near. Our light is not only our love and faith in Jesus, but its our choice to live as He’s called us so others can see Jesus in us. Specifically, we do that by loving each other and bearing spiritual fruits (patience, kindness, self-control, etc. Galatians 5:22-23). When we let anger, selfishness, greed, etc. take over that is letting Satan blow that light and love out. As I strive to teach my kids how to not only “behave” but to know Jesus as a personal friend, I’m also striving to better myself as a person and soak in these lessons as well. It often goes hand in hand, me and my kids, we are on this learning path of life together.
So I said to her, “You know Savannah, when you aren’t obeying Mommy or Daddy and yelling at us when you get angry…that is letting Satan blow your light out.” And, what do you know, it stuck! The visual of us each having a light inside that can love has really sunk into her, she wants to be like Jesus and have her light shine. And now, in moments when she may be on the edge of no return after she dislikes what I’ve said, I gently remind her about her light.“Savannah, is your light blown out?” It happened just today when I told her we weren’t buying an Icee at Target and it stopped her in her “You don’t EVER buy me anything” dramatic tracks. In turn, she now is doing the same to me when I I feel the heat of anger rising in me and that tone of voice starts creeping out. “Mom, I think you’re light is blown out.” It always snaps me back into focus on how God has called us to love, in gentleness and patience even when its hard, and how to be a better example to my children. I’m so thankful for her accountability.
The biggest result of this little lesson? It isn’t that she behaves better, listens more, or that I yell less. It is that we both genuinely have JOY in our hearts nearly every moment now, that glow of light is felt in me and I can see it in her big blue eyes too. Joy for Jesus, joy for life, joy for our mother-daughter relationship. I love asking her, “Is your light shining?” and watching her enthusiastically squeal “Yes!“ That is priceless.
One of the things I am most enjoying as a parent is watching Savannah grow, not just physically into a beautiful girl, but spiritually as well. She is teaching me things, keeping meaccountable and how to live out our faith in a childlike way. I love it!