“Every day I’ve been hoping you’d come,” Eli explained.
“I came because I met someone who had no marks,” said Punchinello.
“I know. She told me about you.”
“Why don’t the stickers stay on her?”
The maker spoke softly. “Because she has decided that what I think is more important than what they think. The stickers only stick if you let them… the more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers. Remember, you are special because I made you, and I don’t make mistakes.”
Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, I think he really means it. And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.
This is an excerpt from my favorite children’s book, You are Special by Max Lucado. I had the privilege of sharing this book with students in K4-5th grade classes over the past few weeks. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do! The message resonates with preschoolers as well as adults, and is a beautiful reminder that who we are is not defined by our greatest achievements, our biggest mistakes or what others might think or say about us. As followers of Jesus, our identity is based on the truth that we are all created by God and were made in His image.
I was also able to visit the 6th, 7th and 8th grade Bible classes, and we compared the messages about identity that we hear from “the world” with what God’s word teaches us about who we are. We are constantly bombarded with lies about our identity that reach us through the media and other voices. If we do not ground ourselves in truth, it is easy for us to believe that our identity can be fluid, or based on our feelings. From the world we hear messages such as “in order to find out who you are, you need to go on a journey of self-discovery.” Through God’s word, we know the truth that our identity is solid; it is based on who God is and not how we feel from day to day.
The best way to discover who we are is to discover more about who God is. As we become more intimately connected to God and learn more about His character, we learn more about ourselves in the process.
In our Coffee and Community gathering on Friday morning, I shared from a book I recently read by Paul David Tripp. In the forward to this book, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family, Tripp states that it is easy for us as parents to take an Ownership view of parenting. This can cause our parenting to be motivated and shaped by what we want for our children and from our children. At times, we even try to find our identity through our children. Instead, he encourages us to be Ambassadors… “who faithfully represent the message, methods and character of the leader who has sent him.” This was equally challenging and freeing to me. Even in my best parenting moments, I need so much grace. I am so imperfect, and while that can cause me to feel like I’ll never get it right, I also remember that my role as a parent is not to be perfect. My best parenting strategy is to point my children to the One who is. Tripp states, “Parenting is not first about what we want for our children or from our children, but about what God in grace has planned to do through us in our children.” I need this reminder daily, and I’m thankful to be a part of the Redeemer community where I have parents, teachers and staff members who constantly encourage me on this journey.
As I have said to the students in the classrooms, “We are all on the same team.” We are fighting an enemy who wants to steal, kill and destroy. We need each other. Let’s link arms and fight alongside and for each other AGAINST the real enemy. We are better together.
Remember, “The stickers only stick if you let them.”
Community and Culture Coordinator