At our house, we have something called the “Wall of Fame”. It is a wall full of matching picture frames, all different sizes, and filled with sweet pictures of our family: the girls and I in a meadow, all of us in 3-D glasses, John and the boys building a snow man. I love to pass by it and remember how much I love our family and how faithful God has been to us.
What is it about the frames around the pictures? If the pictures were just heaped in a pile, they would not get much attention. But putting them in frames seems to make it official. Framing something says, “This is important to me. Notice this. Remember this.”
And so it is with life. As we live our lives, we emphasize and draw attention to different achievements, experiences and priorities by the way we frame them. With every moment we have a choice: we can celebrate it or let it slip by, unnoticed. I wonder sometimes about how I am doing at this as a mom. Am I framing strides in my child’s character – like being honest when it is hard? Am I framing an unexpected moment of generosity – like the simple offering of the last cookie? Am I framing spiritual growth in my children – like applauding a heartfelt prayer for one of their siblings? In the end, the only question is this: Am I framing the things that are near and dear to God’s heart?
We as moms have such a powerful influence over our homes and our children’s view of what is truly important. The implications of this are staggering. They will learn what to value in life as we live out and frame things that are most important to us. So, we must ask ourselves, “What do I place great value on?”
I encourage you with all that I am to be counter-cultural when it comes to this. Our culture is busy framing things all the time. By framing youthful, unblemished beauty, it tells us to focus on the outside and do whatever it takes to preserve that. God frames the importance of inner beauty and health (1st Peter 3:4, 1 Corin. 6:19-20). By framing wealth, our culture tells us that our value comes from our possessions. God frames the importance of finding our value in Him and His love (1 Peter 2:8-10). By framing the importance of power and being in control, our culture tells us to lust for it. God frames the importance of trusting Him and being humbly dependent on him (Prov. 3:5-6). Our culture frames “results”. Even more troubling is the current thinking that says, any means to get to that end are acceptable. God frames the importance of integrity and trusting the results to Him (Prov. 12:19).
God’s values vs. the world’s values. What a contrast!
Framing what God values is so easy to agree with, but can be so hard to live out! A few years ago, one of my sons tried out for three different sports, one after the other, and did not make any of the teams. What a painful experience! I remember sitting on my bed together, receiving those fateful phone calls and crying big alligator tears of disappointment. How tempted I was to call the coaches, school, someone to let them know how unfair I thought it all was. But what would I be framing? “We have rights.”…“This is not fair.”…“Sore loser.” Instead, we cried, prayed together, gave it some time. I sincerely cried out to God for wisdom and perspective. In the end I told my son that I was so very proud that he tried out at all – framing courage. I told him that God must have something better for him – framing trust in God and in His good plans for him. I told him I was sorry and encouraged him to press on – framing the importance of family and how it is a safe place to work through disappointment. Lastly, I told him that God was pouring into his “character bank” for some reason and that there was great value in learning to persevere. Together we kept our eyes on God. I have to admit, living through that disappointing time still stung.
The next year was a year of making all the teams. We had great trepidation when that first phone call came. He made it! What a significant and tender moment when my son turned to me and said, “Mom, can we pray for the kids that are getting bad news right now?” This time I had tears of joy! God had done such a good work in his heart! How differently he could have perceived the whole experience if I had framed things differently.
We as moms have such a powerful influence over our homes and our children’s view of what is truly important. The implications of this really are staggering. They will learn what to value in life as we live out and frame things that are most important to us. So, we must ask ourselves, “What do I place great value on?” This year at MOMS let’s practice – in our hearts, in our minds, in our homes….let’s practice placing VALUE on what God values.
And what does God value? He values love and truth, he values great faith, he values a love for His Word, inner beauty, character, humility, generosity and integrity…but most of all He values His son Jesus Christ. As we all grow in our understanding of God and as you align your heart with His, you will naturally live in such a way that draws attention to – and frames – all that He treasures most.
– Julie McGrath
1. This week, evaluate the things you praise your children for; are you celebrating their “performance” and appearance more than who they are becoming? If so, practice focusing on the heart, noticing the little things with your children. Did your son return the grocery cart with enthusiasm? Applaud his initiative and hard work. Did your daughter rejoice when her brother got a good grade? Applaud her unselfishness and desire to build her brother up.
2. Read through the book of Esther, either alone or with your older child. As you do, frame the “God values” she lived out, giving us a lasting and beautiful example of God-honoring womanhood. She demonstrated teachability, wisdom and intentionality, tremendous courage and finally, sincere faith in God, as she sought His help and blessing through fasting and prayer.
Father, I ask that you would fill my heart and mind with your good priorities. Give me the discernment and wisdom to see what is of great worth in your sight. Help me to never place value on things that will fade away, but to place value on those things that are of eternal value. Help me to faithfully teach my children about what you treasure most in life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.