When I was young, my father would place me on his shoulders and encourage me to “reach for the trees!”
His unconditional love made me feel like I could conquer any battle, achieve any height and break though any manmade obstacle placed before me. For on his shoulders I saw beyond my own limited perspective and horizon, carried by his strength, security, provision, encouragement and love.
As I have grown and have now journeyed on my own path of life, I am so thankful for my father’s fervent commitment to noble ideals, his personal devotion to the Christian faith and dedication to a covenant marriage which I saw reflected in our home. His personal sacrifice and care for our family taught me much about setting aside one’s own agenda in order to see another’s dream realized.
Thank you Dad for always speaking truth into my life. The light you have shined on my road has continually pointed me in the direction of what was best, but not necessarily easiest or most expedient.
As with so many living in the reality of a broken world, my childhood wasn’t all fairytales and castles. One personal challenge I faced was being born with medical issues that impacted my vision as a child. Although my eyes were realigned after two eye surgeries and lots of vision therapy, my eyesight still was distorted, which made processing depth of field, multi-dimensional shapes, and letters on a printed page extremely difficult.
I often felt different and inferior to other children, especially in the areas of academics and sports. Always being chosen last by peers to be on the team, because I probably would “drop the ball,” made me feel insecure and often unwelcome. And because I saw printed words differently with my struggle to decode words as they danced around the margins and paragraphs, the solitary enjoyment of reading children’s literature and storybooks was not a place I could retreat to for escape.
So instead I fell in love with the art of oral storytelling, and my dad was the best storyteller of all. With his larger than life bounding voice and his expressive prosody, he captivated my imagination with his tales. I can remember many times cuddling up next to him and melting into his embrace as his narrative ushered me into places only my imagination could build.
His tales were of lost princesses, scary log cabins, exotic cultures, and magical creatures. I would listen with attentive expectation as our journey would take me beyond the sights and sounds of my own little room, to where I could be brave, adventurous and compassionate.
My father’s stories all brought this little girl’s heart to a place of beauty, laughter, and safety.
His tales reminded me that I am loved, I bring delight to others, and I have been chosen to accomplish big things.
I have come to long for those special storytelling adventures at my father’s side. Today his life tells a different tale which still captures my imagination of golden streets, family reunions, and garden strolls with Jesus.
Now as a parent of adult children, I am so thankful for how my father reflected to me a glimpse of God’s great love for His children. As a little girl, and in each stage of my life, my father spoke to my heart, which eventually ushered me to experience how God speaks to my very soul.
I’ve come to understand the power and blessing of a parent’s words on their children, and the importance of speaking words of affirmation for others to hear. This is so beautifully demonstrated in scripture by God The Father at the baptism of His son Jesus Christ when His voice uttered for all to hear…
“This is my son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life.” Matthew 3:17
God charges each of us to bless His children. As believers in Jesus Christ, our primary goal in spiritual parenting transcends the world’s preoccupation with material and educational needs. Our children are worthy to be served by parents, both natural and spiritual parents, who will carve a pathway that helps them become vessels of honor, who live their lives with Kingdom purpose and meaning.
Your love gave me the courage to reach for the trees when I was upon your shoulders and believe in the spiritual gifts God has given me to share the hopes and joys that can be found when a life is surrendered to Jesus Christ.
You made this once cross-eyed little girl believe she was beautiful and worthy of a father’s love; ultimately modeling for me the importance of speaking blessing over the children that come into my home, workplace and ministry.
Five Ways You Can Encourage a Young Child’s Heart…
- Turn off technology and find a comfortable place to read one of your favorite children’s books. Make a bookmark and share about why the book is one of your favorites.
- Help a child with their homework and remind them how clever they are to find the answers.
- Share old photos and tell them the tales of family adventures and history. Inspire them to dream of their own adventures that they will one day share with those they love.
- Give or help a child make a small memory box to hold remembrances of their childhood. Go on an exploration to find the perfect rock, shell, flower, or treasure to place in the box and write a tale about the unique and special artifact.
- Write a note to a child about how much they are loved and cherished. Be specific about what makes them special. Put the note in the memory box. Remember to write and speak God’s words: You are my son/daughter, the focus of my delight, marked by my love.
RHONNI GRIEG has worn many hats in her lifetime with careers as a speech and language pathologist in both medical and academic settings, a building project manager, interior creative designer and the executive director of an international non-profit ministry. But the most treasured hat she wears is that of the wife to Bill Greig III and the mother to their three children. Rhonni has taught women’s Bible studies and Sunday School classes as well as lectured on the subjects of children’s speech and language development, the Importance of mentoring the next generation and Living a Life of Legacy. Her teaching and prayer ministry has opened opportunities to minister and teach not only in the United States, but also in Romania, China, Mexico, and South Korea. Currently, Rhonni works as a speech and language pathologist in a public school for special needs students in Southern California.
INVEST IN YOUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS AND SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Your Gifts: Spiritual Gifts Discovery
God created you with purpose and passion—learn how you can take the gifts He has given you and use them to advance His Kingdom in ways you never imagined.
Here are more free articles, excerpted from the book Your Gifts shown above, one for each of the nine Team Ministry Spiritual Gifts…
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Evangelism?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Prophecy?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Teaching?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Exhortation?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Shepherding?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Mercy-Showing?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Serving?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Giving?
- Do You Have the Spiritual Gift of Administration?
Lead others to discover their spiritual gifts.
For pastors and group leaders.