A few months before leaving for Uganda, I heard something from the beautiful people out in Redding, CA about four phrases they teach to their youngest children’s classes to begin sealing truth on their little minds and hearts early. The phrases are:
God is good, nothing is impossible, Jesus already won, and everyone is important.
Immediately, I wrote them down, knowing that one day I would want to teach them to my children. Little did I know at the time, however, that these words (and the ones that followed them) would turn into a lifeline, not just for my children, but for me.
The struggle to keep lies out of my head has been lifelong. I can remember lying in bed as young as 4 and 5 years old and trying to shut out lies: you’re not safe, people don’t like you, you’re a bad friend, tomorrow will be a bad day. Somehow, over the years, I learned to repeat truth to myself over and over and prevent, early, what I assume could have turned into truly crippling fear.
Enter this adoption. As a single woman. In a country where fear has captured generations. Of two children who knew fear intimately.
As much as the desire of my heart is to show my children that I am safe, my own fears and the very reality that nothing about life is really safe led me to realize that the only way to truly make my children feel safe was to introduce them to Safety….Himself. Not necessarily a promise of physical safety, but of an intimate relationship with a God who guards hearts and minds.
And so it came about that at night, before bed and long before their English allowed them to understand the words, we recited those four little phrases above. As new fears surfaced in them and in me, we added new phrases, eventually landing on nine phrases that seemed to answer every lie that surfaced during the day. It is amazing how quickly the girls took ownership of “our true words“, as they call them now. Just yesterday, one of them was struggling under lies and said, “Mama, can you please help me say some true words?”
Then last week, in the car, I made an error in judgement that resulted in something breaking. The value was small, but it shaded my attitude about the day. Wondering how much our true words were really taking practical effect in the girls hearts, I said, “Girls, I made a mistake just now, and I’m really feeling bad about it. It feels like the whole day is ruined because of the thing I broke. What true things can you tell me to help me get my heart back on track?” Immediately from the back seat came,
“Mama, don’t worry. Even grown-ups make mistakes sometimes. That thing was not so important. You can get a new one.”
I read (in this amazing book) that the most valuable gift a parent can give their child is the ability to return to joy from any negative emotion. If nothing else, these true words are giving them that gift. They are learning to recognize lies and speak truth to themselves and the people around them at such an early age and I am reaping the benefits. My 6 year old can look me in the eyes and say, “Mommy, I’m sorry. I know that everyone is important, but I did not treat you like you were important. Will you forgive me?”
So many friends have asked me to put the true words up here so they can begin using them with their own kids, so here they are….finally. Click on the picture below to access the PDF download.
And in case you’re wondering where these words come from:
- God is good (Psalm 100:5)
- Nothing is imposible (Luke 1:37)
- Jesus Already Won (Philippians 3:12)
- Everyone is important (Psalm 139:14)
- My mommy and daddy love me (Isaiah 49:15)
- Tomorrow will be a good day (Lamentations 3:23)
- I am God’s treasure (Malachi 3:17)
- I am the one Jesus loves (1 John 4:19, John 3:16)
- Our family is the best (well, that one isn’t Biblical, but we say it anyway)