Written by: Stephanie Petska
True Confession: As a parent, I never wanted my kids to feel less than enough. Praying, hoping, and wishing that my children would be liked, accepted, and understood became a part of my everyday.
When my kids got upset about a failing grade, a friend’s sharp tongue, or a strikeout at bat, it hurt my heart so much that I would try to control their environment and surroundings. I wanted them to experience only joy, no pain or sorrow.
It became my mission to protect my kids’ hearts from unkind words and actions for fear it would leave an irreversible impression that would shut down the cornerstone to self-confidence. I played this control game until I realized it was altering my own heart in trying to protect theirs.
As fear and worry started to consume me, I had to find the root of my obsession so I could manage it. Somewhere, somehow over the years, I developed self-doubt, with a side of depleted confidence and self-esteem, and I wanted different for my children.
I wanted them to feel confident about who they are, to love themselves, accept that they are a precious, unique gift from God, and to use their God-given talents to the best of their ability. Dear God, how can I learn to love myself and teach my children to do the same?
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
I discovered this scripture when I first started my walk with Christ. It not only became an answer to prayer but also became the foundation of redefining my identity by valuing my worth for who I am in Christ and not by my job title or other labels I’ve hidden behind (mom, spouse, caretaker, homemaker).
I’ve learned to start loving myself and living in the truth that I am a child of God who is caring, nurturing, compassionate, sensitive, fun-loving, analytical, funny, optimistic, and imperfectly perfect.
“God gives the exact experiences he wants them to have in order to shape the specific destiny he designed for them.” – Steven Furtick, Sun Stand Still.
Although God did not want years of self-doubt added to my resume of life, He has helped me shape it for purpose. My parenting started to shift from sheltering to affirming my children with statements that would speak truth into their soul. I could not have had this awareness had it not been for God pointing out my skewed sense of identity and speaking truth into my life.
I pray my children will know the truth about who they are and remember they are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). I pray they know God as loving, forgiving, all-knowing, and “for” them.
I pray they will always feel God’s love no matter what circumstances they are facing. I pray they love who they are, imperfections and all. I pray they come to me when they stumble or fall, so I can help guide them to prayer, bringing worry, fear, and pain to the only One who can take it away.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2:10
“By living our lives knowing who we are in Christ, we will guide our children to know their worth and identity in Christ.” – Melissa Forshner (Identity Art/ HomeFront Spiritual Parenting Resource).
If God held a mirror up and asked you to describe yourself, His beautiful creation, how would you answer Him? What could you say every day to remind yourself that you are fearfully and wonderfully made?
Every night my little girl states the following: I am brave. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I will always be enough. I’m a child of God made for greatness. What affirmations could you create to help shape your (or your kids’ if you have them) identity in Christ?