Friday, March 27, 2015

worry prayer problem days: when mama has a limp

At one time it was epilepsy, but it has been everything from church problems to health problems to someone else's problems to something on the news.  Some days are defined by that THING, that one very loud thought, that worry-prayer-problem that refuses to leave my thoughts alone.  It is a concern with a strong gravitational pull: I may be able to wrest my thoughts free for a moment, but the second I am not preoccupied, the concern sucks my thoughts right back to that place and tries to consume me.

Days like this I know I must begin with prayer.  I do this, but what often follows is a day of futile coping and very little relief.  I do not have an easy answer for this kind of day, but I would like to put words to some of the things I know do NOT work, and share some of my favorite crutches.  (Please share your own too!)

That kind of day

The worry-prayer-problem there in my mind, loudly taking up my thoughts even before my feet hit the floor.  I linger in bed to pray about it, but long before I am ready, little feet stomp down the hallway, and little bodies crawl into my bed demanding cartoons and food.  I sigh.

How do I enter the world of child joy and noise and frivolous "crises" one after another when this worry-prayer-problem hangs so heavy?
Chasing the Wind- futile coping measures I have tried repeatedly
  • Solitude: Perhaps I ought to hide from the kids so I can obsess on the worry-prayer-problem.  It's taking up so much of my mind I know I am going to be short with them anyway....
  • Mental Gymnastics: If I hide for a little while, maybe I can contort my mind in just the right way so that the worry-prayer will go away.
  • Numbing: Perhaps I can try really hard and kill the feelings associated with the worry-prayer-problem.  THEN I can reenter my vocation.
  • Demanding the above through prayer: Ok God, here's my problem.  Can you make the kids leave me alone today so we can talk about it until it is resolved?  Or you could take it utterly out of my mind please, and let me get back to life? (Does this actually work for anyone? It seems to me that God says NO to this prayer more often than not.)
There is a false presupposition underneath all of this "coping:" 
I cannot do my job with this worry-prayer-problem.

A half truth
What do you mean by this, Emily? 
I do not want to do my job with this worry-prayer-problem! and I simply cannot do it... perfectly.  I cannot do it even as well as I normally do it.  I am tired and emotional and... Lord, Can't I just take a personal day?

On normal days, I am much more capable of being patient, fun mommy.  If I didn't have all these distractions, I could be that mommy who skips cheerfully with her well-groomed, cooperative little flock, singing hymns as we frolic joyfully down the path of righteousness.

Haha, OK maybe not.  So today I will not do my job perfectly.  What else is new?

Lowering standards
It is true, I cannot do my job perfectly when I am carrying a worry-prayer-problem, when I am limping with some kind of wound.  And in my experience, God doesn't just make those kinds of things vanish when we ask Him to.  Sometimes even in the midst of our vocation, we must limp. Sometimes, instead of instant healing, He offers crutches.

I cannot be normal mommy on days when I am not normal mommy, when my heart is weighed down by one of the million griefs of this life.  Yet I can still be mommy.  And so you  have my epiphany: Wounded mommy can still be mommy!

Because mommies are not machines, we cannot perform the same tasks in the same way day after day after day.  We are affected by events, weather, hormones, health, and problems of all kinds.  Some seasons we buzz about on healthy legs with no limping, but in others, we mother with injuries, and when we are injured, we would be crazy not to use crutches!

So, wounded mommy is going to do things a little bit differently than normal mommy, children.  She is going to lower her standards, and she WILL be using crutches.

My favorite crutches
  • Depending on the type of worry-prayer-problem: Good, sweaty exercise can be cleansing and invigorating
  • Shortening the list: Eliminating anything that requries uber-energy or uber-patience that is not absolutely necessary.  Wounded mommy cannot do crafts, cannot let you paint, will not let children "help" make cookies, and probably will not be up for a wrestling match.
  • Nap: Perhaps for me, but definitely, DEFINITELY for all the other kids, at once.  They shall not come out of their rooms until I say so, period.
  • Receiving God's gifts through His Word and hymns (wounded mommy must do this frequently throughout the day, even if she has to lock herself in the bathroom for a minute!)
  • Soaking up the sounds and smells of the country, especially on warm evenings
  • Receiving help offered
  • (still learning this one) ASKING for help! 
  • Being honest with children and even (gulp) husband about why I am "limping" today
  • Comfort food. (Does anyone need to be told this one? I often receive grace through mashed potatoes)
  • Looking at the children: Really looking at those I have asked God to help me love.  Taking a real time-out, refusing to work on whatever else it is I think I need to do, banishing worry for a few minutes if possible, and getting down on the floor, looking at those blessed details that make my children unique, listening to their laughter, doing something with them that is fun for me too, just because I want to. 
  • Prayer, frequent prayer.  Such as:
  • Lord, help me to parent despite this wound.  Teach me to love even when I am hurting.  Help me to remember that it is not the children's fault that this world is fallen.  Nor is it my husbands, or the dog's.  Keep the pain from turning into anger and hurting those I love.  Those acts of love You require me to do today- equip me- and show me what I can let go so that I can rest in You and heal.  Thank you for your tender care for me when I am limping.

(originally published 5/17/11)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

sky paint

The sky looks like a rainbow at first, with a bright orange center above the horizon. Brilliant pink clouds rest above the tree line.

Do you think God gets to paint the sunsets each day with his giant brush?

We sit together in the back yard under the changing sky.

I sit with my son, He-Who-Notices, and in the quiet, we do nothing but notice.
“Mommy look, it's getting darker!” 
 We see the subtle the color change. 
The pink clouds turn purple.

Does God have a special brush for the soft clouds? 
How does He make them look like cotton candy? 
When it's foggy, does He just use that brush for everything?

The orange glow melts away, and the blues become deeper. We look all across the sky, taking in the change in the shades of blue. We spy a small strip of green, and the clouds are turning gray. The tree tops reach into the fading yellow.

“Mommy, look! It's a star, the first one!” He jumps with the excitement of noticing.
I pull him back on to my lap, resting my cheek on his while we look together.

Does God use a special brush for the stars? 
Maybe He uses twinkle paint.

The blues deepen. Near the star appears a sliver of the moon, barely visible.
“It's a smile, Mom! A smile!”

That “smile” made more smiles, and the God who made all of them calls each one good.

-  -   -   -   -   -

Night falls, and the noticer is in bed, but my heart still bursts with the thrill of our sunset moment.

I try to paint the sky, but I do not command my brushes like God commands the world. So I write the sky, but my words are but a cheap imitation of the moment.

I am left with nothing worth hanging on the wall, yet even so, my soul feels larger.

God did not make the sky so that I would DO something about it.
The faint echo that flowed from the seeing and saving is not the reason God made the sky!

Tonight, God's good work in the sky over that cornfield has been seen and savored by at least two of His creatures. God's good work, received with joy from His hands by His deeply-loved children. 

Does God use a special brush for mothers' eyes, to help them see like children?
If so, it is the same one that fills hearts and lifts them to Him with gratitude.

-  -   -   -   -   -

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. Psalm 111:2

Friday, March 20, 2015

Be Lovingly Available (Quality time: Motherhood and the 5 love languages)

“Mom, can you do something with me?”
“Like what?”
“I don't know. Just something.”

Have you ever heard those words? I hear them often, and I hear them as a plea for quality time. In this family, with all the noise and the busyness and the work it takes just to keep everybody fed and clean, quality time is a precious commodity. In fact, we have to fight for it.

What is quality time?
Quality time: meaningful interaction with the people I love. Going out to dinner with my husband, and having a good conversation--this is quality time. Sitting in the same room with him while we both half watch a TV show and half play around on the Internet-- not so much.

Quality time is heart-connection, a time when two people are together, in the same world, with each other...really with each other; mentally together.

We have all felt that familiar craving to be understood, or just valued enough to be given attention from someone we love. We must receive it and we must love each other enough to give it.
But why is it so hard? I love my children dearly, yet some days, quality time seems like too much to ask. It seems like one more thing on the list of things that will never be done; like one more mommy job I am doomed to constantly fail.

Obstacles to quality time
Why is this so hard? Here's my short list. What else would you add?

The Stuff Must Be Done
I need to organize this, clean that, sweep this, fold that, sanitize this, pick the cat hair off of that. . . and the little people are simply in my way! The tasks! The tasks! Don't they see the tasks that need to be done as quickly as possible right this very second?

LOL a cat video!
I need a little break from the tasks, is that so wrong? A little humor, a little facebook, a little pin-spiration for just a few minutes; these things are sure to restore me to patient, fun momma. Soon. Just let me send this one email...

We Have Places to Go
Why can't we ever find anybody's shoes in this house? I don't know where your new dinosaur is- just leave it and HURRY UP and get your coat on! Tell me your joke after you buckle your seatbelt! We're running late!

The obstacles to quality time are many, and each one plays on our tendency to want to think of our own desires before our neighbor's.

This is the competition

These obstacles, these distractions, they are the competition. These are the things with which my children (and yours) must compete every single day in order to get the attention they need.

They must compete with the chores, the full schedule, and distraction of all distractions, The Internet.

Think for just a moment how much pressure that is. They must compete with The Internet.
Real life, at normal speed, with the phonics and the daily bickering and the multiplication tables and the shoe nobody can find, will never be as exciting as The Internet.

Children simply cannot compete with The Internet.
And they shouldn't have to.

It is not necessary to take a vacation to Florida to give our children some quality time. It will slow you down, but they can help with chores, and you can listen to jokes while you drive the car.
Simply making positive eye contact can give your child a shot of love straight to the heart. Positive eye contact- not “look at me: You are not supposed to lick the dog, do you understand me?” but simply taking a second- truly a second!- to see your child, and smile, and be lovingly available.

I think that is the key: Loving availability.

Consider with me today, what can you cut out in order to make yourself more lovingly available to those around you? Do you need boundaries around your time on the Internet? Do you need to give up your hopes of a clean house? Do you need to leave the house with the kids so the tasks will stop calling to you and you can focus? Do you need to make some space in the family schedule so you can simply breathe and be together?

Make room in your day, in your schedule, in your soul and on your lap, today, and give your child the gift of quality time.

The battle we face to love each other is a battle against our own sinful selves, and it can only be won through Christ. Thank you for Your Word which has made us your own. Thank you for calling us out of darkness, out of the selfish ways of the world, and into the light of your loving presence. Help us to live in the light, with hearts open to You and open to each other. Teach us to see and serve and love our neighbors with the gift of time.

In Jesus' name, Amen

See also
Mommy Time 
The queue 
Mommy Time Fail 
Mama, can that wait? 

This is post #4 in my series on motherhood and the five love languages.  
Did you miss one?

Words of affirmation

Visit for a quiz, resources, and book information.

The Five Love Languages books, in their many forms, are also available on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully (Book Recommended)

Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis (The Swans Are Not Silent #6)Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis by John Piper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

To see and to savor and to speak the glories of Christ-
this is the delight, the calling of all Christians!

This effort to say beautifully is, perhaps surprisingly, a way of seeing and savoring the beauty. Piper here demonstrates three masters of the poetic effort in their own arenas. I enjoyed reading this book very much! (It made me want to return to college and take a few more English classes!)

"This is meditation: Getting glimpses of glory in the Bible or in the world and turning those glimpses around and around in your mind, looking and looking."

A quote from each of these greats:

Full of rebellion, I would die,
Or fight, or travail, or denie
That thou hast ought to do with me.
O tame my heart;
It is thy highest art
To captivate strong holds to thee.
(“Nature” by Herbert)

“I will never speak of what is real as though it were imaginary." Whitfield

“A great romance is like a flower whose smell reminds you of something you can’t quite place. . . . I’ve never met Ents or Elves—but the feel of it, the sense of a huge past,
of lowering danger, of heroic tasks achieved by the most apparently
unheroic people, of distance, vastness, strangeness, homeliness (all
blended together) is so exactly what living feels like to me. (Lewis)

See, savor, speak!
May God help us to will and to do this faithful thing, in accordance with our unique gifts!

View all my reviews

Friday, March 13, 2015

A tromp through the woods

We'd been stuck in this house for what seemed like ten years
With “what-can-we-do” whines and and “I-had-that-first” tears
We'd just about had it. We'll die before spring!
But then God sent the sunshine, and I said, “That's the thing
We needed! Now kids, find your boots right away!
We can't miss a minute of this almost-spring day!”

Rubber boots on our feet, but no coats for this crew
For who needs to bundle when it hits 42?
“No, we don't need jackets,” I said with delight
“See the snow melting? That means its just right
For a walk, or a run, or a skip through the woods!”
And Little One said, “Mom, you’re right! This feels good!”

We crunched through the leaves and we slushed through the snow
And the kids noticed things wherever they'd go:
A log, like a bridge, just over a stream
And a seed that looked just like a truffula tree

Big sister came too, balancing with a smile
The desire to run and to play like a child
And her kind, caring heart that helped her go slow
While Little One made his small tracks in the snow
She stayed close when he said, “Hey, watch me do this!”
And the steadying hand of his Really Big Sis
Helped him complete his challenging stunt
Proving to us that he's not just the runt.

Bare hands picked up snow and made mini snowmen
Then smashed them with boots and then did it again.
They squealed and they yelled until mom said to stop it
And Little One put his cold hand in in his pocket
Where he placed, oh so gently, his friend “woolly bear.”
And the older ones taunted and shouted out dares
“I dare you to jump!” “Bet I can!” “No you can't!
Then “Mommy there's mud on my shirt and my pants!”
“The laundry is worth it,” I said with a laugh,
“As soon as we’re home I’ll put you in the bath.”

While they jumped daring jumps and they played daring games
Those silly boys called things by the wrong names

“Look! An ear-scratcher!” “Nuh-uh! Pincher butt!”

Said the one who was nursing his wee little cut
From the clobster--or crawdad--he pulled from the mud
by the tree with the bumps, or rather, the buds.

All the while was a song flowing behind their words
The sweet sound of spring waters and the singing of birds
Praise God! Alleluia, Thanks Jesus! We say
For this tromp through the woods on this muddy spring day

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I see! (Affirming God's work in your child)

We teach God's law in its purity and truth to our children, and we dare not water it down even a little bit. They are sinners, and we are sinners, beggars before God, and wholly dependent on His grace and mercy in Christ.

But that's not all we have to say, is it?
The gracious work of God in us is a reality, and we can encourage each other by acknowledging that!

I see the work of God in you!
This idea was inspired by Heidi-
Read her post please! (I see the Spirit in you)

Heidi shared a way that she encourages her husband, saying things like "I see the Spirit in you when..." This inspired me to use these words to encourage my children!  What a great way to affirm them!

I thought you might be inspired by this idea as well.
And to help you overcome your perfectionism, I thought I'd share with you my perfectly imperfect example!  I wrote this for my son last week, and despite the stick figures and the messy handwriting, he took it very much to heart. 

I see the work of God in you when...

  • Fruit of the spirit: demonstrations of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control
  • Sorrow over sin/confession/apology
  • receiving from God (Baptism, when you go to church, listen to God's word, etc)
  • developing a God-given talent
  • sing God's praises 
  • encourage or help someone
  • do the work set before you, however small that is

Can you see any of these in your child? 
Why not tell them today?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Tell me something nice (words of affirmation/motherhood and the 5 love languages)

One day, my husband was making blueberry muffins, and our (then) 4 year old daughter was watching him pour the batter. “Oh, that’s really good pouring, daddy,” she said in her tiny little voice. He thought it was hilarious! What an odd thing for a little girl to say! For me, it was obvious: that girl had been spending lots of time with her mother.
 photo dscf6540.jpg
Way to sit on that pretend train, beautiful!

When I’m feeling happy or loving, words just babble on out of my mouth like a waterfall. That same little girl was my first baby, the one who I’d fawn over, from her “adorable little jammies” to her “sweet sweet dimple,” to her “precious bald head!” I remember holding her on my knee, and patting her on the back until she burped, when I said, “Oh that was a great burp honey!”

For me, love naturally flows out into words. And words of affection, affirmation and encouragement are the potatoes of my soul. Words TELL me I am seen, appreciated, loved. When I talk to my parents on the phone, we still say “I love you” every time before we hang up. It has come to mean even more to me over the years, those words that I know so well, to take them into my ears and my heart again and again.

Do your children ache for words? How would you know?
Note how they respond both to praise and to criticism. A “words” person is likely to take criticism harder than others. Even “helpful advice” about something silly may be taken to heart, particularly if their “love tank” is already low.

Do they bring pictures to you and want to explain every little aspect of their drawing, and do they wait for your comment each time? Do they holler “watch me mama!” on the playground, and do wait for your eyes and your voice before they perform?

Do they hand you a pen and a piece of paper and gently remind you to “write a note for my lunch box like you used to do?” (This happened to me!)

We mothers have to use our words all day long, to respond to questions, to manage everybody, to teach, to break up fights, to stop him from licking this or eating that. It may seem hard that I am asking you to use MORE words to fill up your children. Sometimes at night I tell my husband “I am out of words.” Does that mean I am out of love? It can feel that way. For me, that feeling is a red flag reminding me I need to make time to be filled myself with the love of God through His Word and through other people.

We are not enough! We cannot possibly fill their hearts completely, for all time! But we can, with the help of God, love them with the love He gives us! Our love can be part of the grace that fills them! With our hands and acts and food and words we can be used by God to sustain those that we love the most!

If you need words

Friends, what do you do if you are words person and you find your tank running low? I have to admit this is a challenge for me. Sometimes, giving physical affection leads to a response of physical affection, and that’s great. But does it work that way with words? Or have you, like me, ever encouraged someone with words and received a blank look, and walked away feeling like you’re the only one who speaks Polish around here?

I have a friend who does the craziest thing. She actually says, out loud, to her husband, these words when her “tank” is low:
“Honey, I need you to say nice things about me.”
Can you IMAGINE!? The honesty, the humility that takes! It’s almost.. childlike.

Isn’t it lovely?

Since “words” are in English, shouldn’t this be the easiest of all the love languages?
Well, no. Again, we are all different in this area. If it feels unnatural for you to verbalize your love, challenge yourself to try just ONE sentence, today!

If you love a “words” person

- Praise and encouragement- notice the specifics! (Use both “I love you” and “I love it/like it when you ______.”)

- Write your words so they can be saved and treasured.

-Make a spot for words. A bucket, and envelope taped to a wall, a shared journal- designate a place for words of encouragement so you can write them down as they come to you!

- Steal someone else’s words. Simply saying “this song/poem reminds me of you” will communicate affection loudly (assuming it is true, of course!)

- Use nicknames or pet names for you children (honey, sweetie, etc.) Better yet, use names that your children choose for themselves: like Superman, or Muscleman, or Princess. Playing along with children in this way can help them feel “seen,” appreciated, and loved.

- Thank God for them in their presence, and mention the ways you see them growing. (Thank you Jesus for Peter, and the way he’s learning his alphabet, etc)

- Save the words for later in a journal or letter  (Like "My Gilead")

-Pour out words and snuggles together with a head-to-toe prayer 

What other suggestions do you have?
Do words come naturally to you, or is this language a challenge?

This is post #3 in my series on motherhood and the five love languages.  
Did you miss one?

Physical touch

Visit for a quiz, resources, and book information.

The Five Love Languages books, in their many forms, are also available on Amazon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Snugglers (Physical Touch/ Motherhood and the 5 love languages)

Sometimes, when my kids haven’t had enough physical affection, they literally hang on my ankles about it.

Let me state the obvious: kids need snuggles. And yet, it can be more complicated than that. Babies must be held, of course, and yet even among babies you can observe different responses to different forms of touch. One child likes to be swaddled, another panics. One likes rocking, another wants to bounce or stroll. Some do not like to be snuggled at all- unless they’re sick- then they must be on mom’s lap at all times. Figuring out these things-- this is decoding your child’s love language! See, you are already doing it!

Yet, as they grow older, needs change, and preferences change. One of my children refuses physical affection in public, and I respect that, when I remember! I accidentally kissed him on the cheek at a basketball game and I will forever treasure his sweet but embarrassed response! I apologized, and I have learned to treasure the affection he gives in the privacy of our home all that much more.

My baby boys, when they turned into preschoolers, still want to be touched, but they do not want calm touches! Poking, tickling, chasing, tripping, zerbiting, punching- each one of these things can communicate love! My preschool boys taught me this lesson: some young children seem to have a daily need for wrestling. Seriously- if you have one of these children, put “wrestle time” on your personal list of daily jobs. (See also “13 great reasons to tackle yourchild” )

One of the best things about the littlest children - they will tell you exactly what they like and don’t like. The snugglers in my family tend to be very direct about their needs: “It’s my turn to sit on your lap!” “Mommy, give me a piggy kiss!” “Can you scratch my back? No, with your claws, like this.” “Mommy, will you pet my head while you read me a story?”
How refreshing it is- this direct, uncomplicated asking for affection. It is as if they are telling me, “Mommy, I need a bit of love now, and you can give it to me like this.”

Do you have snuggles?
Kids need snuggles.
And mommas always love to give them, right?
Well, no.
And for these kids. And with them.
God, love us, fill us, assure us, hold us, comfort us.
How comfortable do you feel with this language?
What do you do if you need more snuggles in your life?

In fact, some probably can't stand it, and they carry this as a guilty secret.
As for me, I am entirely unpredictable in my snuggle tolerance. Some days I have a welcoming lap and I truly adore their little kisses. Other days… can I say this out loud? Their kisses make me want to gag.

(One of my snugglers often surprise-kisses me while I am in the act of chewing my dinner. Imagine that- then add a running nose on top of it. Gag!)

As for me, I like the snuggles unless I am trying to get something done. Since I am highly task-oriented, that's pretty much always. I often fall into what I call “productive touching,” simply tying shoes, putting on coats, ripping brushes through hair, all to get out the door as quickly as possible. The kids who receive love physically can't stand this. They wrestle, and tease, and fight, and I become more and more exasperated because none of those things help us getstuffdoneandgetinthecaralready!

Advice for the task-oriented mom like me: I'm not going to tell you to set aside the tasks. We all know they have to get done. But you can add “love pat” to your list of things to do. It is amazing what a little shoulder squeeze or head pet can communicate to those with hearts to hear.

Sometimes I have to be forced to “hear” this type of affection! When I'm flying around the kitchen, stirring this, washing that, organizing all the whatnots to get things ready for dinner, and my husband stops me in my tracks for a long kiss...he knows it has to be a really long kiss if he's going to avoid a scolding. It has to be long enough for me to mentally work through “Ugh, can't he see I'm busy!” to “Oh come on, he's just trying to be nice,” to “Wait, was I cooking dinner?”

When I think of physical affection in this family, there are two things I want to teach my children:
1. Physical affection is a good thing
Physical affection is healthy and appreciated, and I try to give it often, even if I don't “feel like it.” For the snuggler, physical affection means reassurance, and gives them a feeling of being safe, warm, seen, and fully loved.
2. It is ok to set boundaries on affection, and we must respect other's boundaries.
Early and often we tell our children this. You never have to kiss someone. It is always OK to say no. We need to respect each other's “no.” (Even if the baby is so cute you can't stand it, he wants a break from your constant kissing!) We are all different in this area, and that's OK!
I can still remember the awkwardness of my poor husband when he realized that he’d been welcomed into a family of huggers- my family. His family hugs at funerals. Mine hug at the superbowl, and on Sundays, and every morning and night, and around the campfire. It took some time for him to get used to this!

And sometimes, even mommy needs to say no. Sometimes she runs out of snuggles, and she needs a nap or a trip to church or a few moments quiet or a date with daddy. Her snuggle tank will be restocked eventually.

Snuggle handicaps
Some of us have snuggle handicaps for various reasons. Personal preference, abuse, depression; all of these things can make this language difficult for some.

When depression attacks me, this language seems to be the first to go. I find myself wishing I had quills like a porcupine. I cringe when they touch me. They sense it and they feel unsettled. Feeling unsettled makes them want to cling to me. Clinging makes my skin crawl. Everything escalates until a final explosion of JUST BACK OFF and tears and hiding. 
 (read more

When I feel like I have none to give, I literally pray for more snuggles.
God help us love each other better.

Just like we will never feed a child enough in one meal to last him a lifetime, we will never fill their love tanks enough either. And we will feel overwhelmed with the constant need, and discouraged as we realize we simple do not have enough to give.

And this, friends, is as it should be.

Because if we think we are the MegaWalMart for all of our children's needs for their whole lives long, why would we point them anywhere else? It is when we discover and rediscover our lack that we remember: it is God Himself who must truly fill them.

And so we return to Him, for more snuggles, more languages, more love to give. We come to Him for ourselves, and for our children. We come to him with open hands to receive, and He is our prodigal Father, generous beyond measure, and eager to give.

May God's love fill us through Christ, that the love we speak- in whatever language- may by the power of the Holy Spirit point back to Him, the fountain and source of all goodness. Amen.

How does your child respond to physical affection?
What's your favorite way to receive physical affection?

If physical affection is not natural to you but you sense your child needs it, I encourage you to make a list of physical expressions of love and try one out every day- remember it’s not just hugs and kisses! It includes wrestling, book reading, piggyback rides, high fives, tummy pokes, nose pinches, teasing, wrapping them in a soft blanket, and so on. 

What would you add to my list?

Visit for a quiz, resources, and book information.

The Five Love Languages books, in their many forms, are also available on Amazon.
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