Today’s Reading: Mark 1:1-8

Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. Everyone who heard about it reflected on those events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. – Luke 1:65-67

“What will this child turn out to be?” As a mother, my heart is stirred by this question because it is a question I often ponder about my own children. Don’t we all wonder what will become of our children and grandchildren when they grow up? Will they marry and, if so, who? What career will they have? Will they be successful? Will they be happy? Will they have children? I find myself wondering what God’s plans are for my girls and praying that today’s experiences will prepare them for tomorrow.

Zechariah spoke a blessing over his newborn son: “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
– Luke 1:76-79

We can speak blessings over our children in the same way – teaching them at a very young age that God loves them and has a plan for their lives. I have quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to my daughters countless times: “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

For the last two years, Brooke has played volleyball for Edison Junior High. It has been a great experience watching her play and getting to know the other families. At each game, parents can be heard yelling out words of encouragement to all the girls. “Let’s go Red!” “You can do this!” “Stay strong Panthers!”

The team has a fun tradition when a player spikes or hits the ball and the other team is unable to return it. The player yells “Boom!” Then the other five girls on the court yell “Boom!” The six girls on the bench yell “Boom!” which is followed by the 7th grade team yelling the same. Then the fans and parents get in on the action with the next loud “Boom!” One year, their fan shirts even said, “Here comes the BOOM” on the back of them. Hearing the voices of their teammates and families encourages the girls. You can see it on their face. It makes a difference when others acknowledge something we have accomplished or done well.

The month of May seems like the time of year for saying – Good job! Well done! Social media is exploding with announcements of graduations, academic accomplishments, sports awards, and more! It seems everyone is celebrating the completion of the school year or the receiving of a high school or college degree.

Daily we have the opportunity to speak blessings on our kids – whether they are small enough to crawl into our laps, old enough to ask for the keys to the car, or grown enough to be out of the house. Our children need to hear from us that we believe in them and in God’s plan for their lives. Our role as parents never ends. We can still be the one to pray over them and ask God to bless their lives and protect them.

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written:

“Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
and he will prepare your way.
He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”

This messenger was John the Baptist. He was in the wilderness and preached that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. His clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.

John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” – Mark 1:1-8

What happens when we struggle to understand the decisions they are making or the road they are choosing? I wonder what Zechariah and Elizabeth’s reaction was to John when he was living in the wilderness. Did they worry? Were they surprised at the details of how his ministry was rolling out? I can easily see how parents could go from being the cheerleader to the voice of doubt – how easily we can get an idea in our head of what our children should do and then end up being a discouragement to them. That’s not who I want to be. I pray that I continually point them back to God with words like, “As long as you are doing what God has asked you to do” or “Just keep listening to God and following Him and I’ll be here no matter what.”

Perhaps we should look for an opportunity to gift our children with a letter of blessing, one they can read over and over again as a reminder that we have confidence in their future – a note that states how we believe God can use them in a powerful way wherever He places them and whatever He asks them to do. Maybe we should look for opportunities every day to essentially say “Boom!” – You did it! Great job! I’m proud of you!

Lord, give me wisdom. Parenting is not always easy but it is such an honor and a blessing. Thank you for the privilege of this responsibility. Heavenly Father, guide me and teach me what to say and when to say it. May I always be a source of encouragement and a positive voice in the heart of each of my daughters.