A Big Lesson from “My Girl”

Many of you with children likely have little “quirky” things you do with your children. They may have started as a joke or something you did once, and it became normal for you to do. For EmmaLee-Tyler and me, one of those things is a phrase I say to her. When she says or does something really funny (that usually makes her mom roll her eyes) I typically follow it up by saying “My Girl!” is a silly voice! She likes it when I do it! After I say that, EmmaLee-Tyler typically laughs at me and we all have a fun laugh. Today, she said four words that reminded me of a big lesson I needed to remember!

We were sitting around the table eating lunch together when MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she wanted real chickens in our yard. MaeLee has been trying to get me to get us chickens for years now (that’s another story for another day)! In the midst of the conversation about chickens, MaeLee asked EmmaLee-Tyler if she would help get chicken eggs if we had chickens. EmmaLee-Tyler responded, “No! I just want to eat the chickens!” Cue MaeLee’s chuckle and eye roll at our funny girl, and then it happened. EmmaLee-Tyler looked at me and said, “Daddy, say ‘my girl.'” In that moment it struck me that she was looking for validation. Validation that she was funny, validation that she was loved, validation that she was indeed “my girl.” I resolved in that moment I would always strive to remind her of two things!

First, I resolved to make sure she always knew she was “my girl” no matter what. My love for her is unconditional, and she needs to know that. She needs to know that no matter what happens in this life, no matter what mistakes she makes, no matter if she ever makes another funny joke, that she is and will always be “my girl.” There may be times I don’t say it, or times she doesn’t want me to say it (embarrassing parents, am i right?), but she needs to know that her being “my girl” isn’t based on anything she does or doesn’t do, but it simply based on the fact that I love her!

Second, I resolved to make sure that she knows her validation doesn’t come from me (or any boy for that matter), but from her Heavenly Father. There will be days when she is older when peer pressure will creep in, and in those moments I want her to remember that her worth isn’t wrapped up in another person’s approval, but His approval. As her dad, I have to lead the charge to remind her of her true value, which is found in Him.

Neither of these things are “new truths” for me. In fact, they are both things about which we seek to be extremely intentional. But today was a fresh reminder that even at the age of three and a half our children are seeking approval and validation. Make sure you remind your children today that your love for them is unconditional, but more importantly remind them that God’s love for them is unconditional and that rooting their identity in Him is the only way for a secure future.

Counting all things loss,

Tim

Good Food, Bad Transportation, Great Fun

It has been a long time since I have done a blog update. Mostly because we haven’t been up to much because our supervisors have been coming up with thing on the fly for us to do, but this week has been an exciting one. We started the week by working with Arab Muslims in Paterson, NJ. We were working with a family there that is trying to reach that community. Paterson is the second largest concentration on Muslims in the United States. We started the days by doing ESL from 10-12 then we would spend the rest of the day just walking around trying to have conversations. Since we were working among those people we were eating in their restaurants and bakeries. On Thursday and Friday I worked with a church that was doing soccer camp. One of the cool things about the soccer camp is that one of the children there was the first cousin to Tim Howard, United States National Team goalie. It was a pretty busy week, which felt great. Some of the highlights were:

Good Food

While we were working in Paterson we were able to experience Arabic food. It was probably the best food I’ve ever eaten. Well, specifically the Shawarma  was the best food I’ve ever eaten. Also, on Saturday MaeLee and I experienced Nathan’s hotdogs for the first time. Pretty much incredible. MaeLee had a hotdog and I ate a corndog. We highly recommend both.

Bad Transportation

Over the course of the week I have experienced more than a few mishaps while traveling. Let me pause here to say that New Jerseyians do NOT drive well. I not usually one to categorize people in such a big group but I’ve seen enough to know that I’ve seen too much. The driving here plus the roads being all crazy is enough to make anyone want to only take public transportation. And that’s what we do mostly. We don’t have much better luck there. Sometimes trains decide they want to leave early some decide to arrive late, which is a huge problem when you are trying to get a connection train. Tuesday while going to Paterson, MaeLee and I missed a train and had to wait for the next one which cause the person picking us up to have to go to a different station to pick us up. Then Thursday afternoon when my train was supposed to arrive I got on just to hear a lady over the PA system say, “If you are looking for the train that goes to Newark Penn then you are on the wrong train!” Luckly I got off before the doors shut. Like I said some times they are on time, other times… not so much. I could go on and on about almost missing or actually missing trains.

Great Fun

In all of that madness we have had a great time this week. Meeting people that are in our stages of life doing work for the Kingdom has been such a blessing to us. This morning we were able to worship at a Haitian church that conducted their services in French and Creole. Going in I was praying that God would allow us to be able to understand the service. Of course I’m thinking an amazing Acts kind of way where we supernaturally hear their language as our own. God answered faithfully as usual. The pastor’s wife found us a person to sit next to who could translate for us! It was awesome. During the service while one man was singing he randomly called me up there and gave me the mic to continue the song… that was intimidating but he told me what to say and it only lasted about 10 seconds.

We ask that you all would continue to pray for us in this upcoming week as we will be working for World Changers. I’ve never done anything with World Changers before but MaeLee has so I’m hoping it’ll be a blessed week.

Counting all things loss,

Tim