What is the greatest gift a parent can give a child? Everyone would answer LOVE and that's right but there is another gift. If this gift is not given, a child, spouse or a friend will have a hard time believing that they are loved; it is the gift of acceptance.
We all love our children and would even die for them. But do we accept them, their personality, temper, certain traits, that are different then our own?
It's hard to feel loved by someone who doesn't accept you, the real you. Or always finds something wrong with you. For example; a mother in her 40's in great shape, looks half her age, has a teenage daughter slightly overweight; the daughter comes into the room and her mother pokes her tummy and says "I'm 40 and your 14 and I'm in better shape then you." Does the mother love her daughter? Yes she does but does she accept her? No not really, it would be better for the mother to encourage her child in making better choices instead of making fun of her. As for the girl, it's hard in her case to believe that she's truly loved.
When a child doesn't feel accepted they begin to try and earn that love, that they so desperately need and want. It's so easy to focus on correcting our children or spouse instead of praising them for what they do well. We should notice the attempts and appreciate them. Learn to always be on the look out for character trait and build them up in that. Praise them, love on them and accept them for who they are. Enjoy the differences that you might have. I heard a saying referred to teenagers once, to choose your battles with them. In other words, don't bicker over every little thing but be wise and intentional about what you really want to teach them. Discipline with love, grace and a lot of prayer. But for every ounce of correction, pour a bucket full of love. It looks different for everyone and you know your child best and with the Lord's help, you can do it!
When the ear never hears praise, the heart loses the will to try. - Rob Parsons
Love is not always an easy journey. There are hard moments to live through and choices to make. We have to grab hold of the decision to love and to love unconditionally with acceptance. -Just to clarify, accepting does not mean agreeing, it just means that you love unconditionally and are there no matter what. By doing that you are being an example of our heavenly father and his unconditional love for us. By all means don't stop praying! And the Lord will do his work. Be available to listen and always be there so that they know they can come at any age or stage of life. Let your faith be unshaken and your foundation strong in Christ. (Psalm 16:8) Through Him we can do all things!
Gods love for us is unconditional and eternal. We need to receive it, believe it and extend it the same way, to all those around us and most of all our children and spouse. And if you don't have those it works the same way for parents, relatives and friends. Because Jesus said if you can't love your neighbor whom you can see then how can you love me whom you can't see. (1 John 4:20) The greatest testimony we have is our love for one another. Our Heavenly Father loved us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us and through his death on the cross we are made acceptable to him. We cannot earn our acceptance, or his love, it's given to us freely. And I'll be forever grateful for that!
As always I hope this encourages you! And I'd love to hear your thoughts :)
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. -Romans 15:7
Then Peter replied, "I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. -As 10:34-35