A Poem

About a month ago, I read about a cool thing that Matt and Lauren Chandler do.  At dinner, they take turns celebrating a child in their family.  This kid stands up in their chair and each person in the family gets to say something wonderful about them.  It can be anything from what they said or did or something they love or admire about that one child.   Matt goes on to say that one night it was their daughter Norah’s turn.  She takes her place and around the table they go. Norah kept looking down, so shy was she about the wonderful things her family was speaking to her.  He made it a point to say, ‘Norah, look at who is speaking to you.  Look them in the eye while they are saying these things to you.’

It was hard for her to take on this full-on praise.

If you know me, you know that dinner time with my family is where my magic happens.  We do highs and lows each night and ‘dinner with the famiwy’ makes the top of everyone’s list.

Always looking for an opportunity to pull the mushy stuff out of my people, I knew what we would be doing at our next meal together.  With two tweens and a tired husband, I expected to be met with the same enthusiasm specially reserved for chores.

They loved it.  Immediately.

I make the call and deviate from the Chandler’s version in that there will be no standing at the table.  I am wise enough to know about myself that a milk spill or a foot in mashed potatoes will create the opposite effect of that person feeling appreciated.

We start with the youngest.  As we are about to begin and I explain examples of what we might say to Ellis, she says, ‘I’m feeling embarrassed.’  This is my child that thinks everyone is just waiting on her to walk into the room to start the party.

As each person took a turn to speak to Ellis (Gavin mentioned what a good and strong wrestling buddy she was), I saw things.  I saw her head start bowed and it was hard to pull her eyes up to take on this praise.  I saw her hands very still and in her lap.  I saw that smile she has when she is pleased but unsure of what to do, slightly shy.  I saw her heart full.

She relished knowing how she was important to us.   But she just almost couldn’t take it.

I saw what it did for everyone else, too.  It was important for us to tell her these genuine things about herself.  We were not boosting or puffing her up in any way.  We were acknowledging wonderful qualities about her.  And it was our good pleasure to do so.  I could see it in each person speaking to her that they enjoyed telling her these things.  It was a special moment in our day.   I’ve seen the same happen every night we repeat this process with each of us.

So, of course, I started over thinking about this.   I’ve said before…my kids teach me more, in the most practical way, about how God loves us than anything I’ve ever known.

According to the way God feels about us…we are always standing in that chair.  Except God doesn’t care about spilled milk or mashed potatoes.  He doesn’t care if you’ve cleaned up to come before Him or not.  He doesn’t care if you haven’t spoken to Him, if you teach Sunday School, if you’re mad at Him, or if you proclaim to love Him best or even if you don’t even believe Him.

He gets up and comes around to your side of the table.  He puts both hands on both of your cheeks and He puts His nose right to yours and He looks you straight in the eye and He tells you…

‘You are My poem.’ (Ephesians 2:10)

You’re His poem.

And just before He goes to sit again, He whispers a secret to you that you can’t tell the others:

You are His favorite.

My hope for today is that we stop running and striving and fighting or sleeping.  That what we’ve done or what we will do or what we are trying to do doesn’t matter.

That for a moment…

We can just stand in our chairs and take joy in God’s praise of us.

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  1. Jill Tucker | 31st Jan 14

    Awesome idea!! Unless you only have a swivel chair. Then maybe stand on the floor. We are doing this at dinner this weekend. Oh yes.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 31st Jan 14

      Jill, I agree about the idea (thanks, Chandlers!) and the swivel chair. As a matter of fact, swivel chairs are not welcome in my home. Not even a little. But you are. Come see me. It’s almost warm. It’s happening this year. Oh yes.

  2. Stephanie Stewart Denton | 31st Jan 14

    OMG!!! You had no idea that you were writing this just for me……

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 31st Jan 14

      Steph, if it hits you squarely…then I only wrote it for YOU and that makes all of it worth it. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I sure do love you.

  3. Sara | 31st Jan 14

    Great idea! I can just see that little puppy girl acting shy.

  4. Rachel | 31st Jan 14

    This post is tall glass of cold water for my thirsty soul. Thank you.

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 31st Jan 14

      Rachel, mine too. I needed the reminder that I don’t have to try so hard this week. Nice to rest, isn’t it? Speaking of rest…I will be resting at home this morning 😉 and will call you in about 30.

  5. Danielle | 31st Jan 14

    We also do highs and lows at dinner each night and it’s one of my favorites parts of the day. I will now add this to the mix. LOVE the idea of setting each person apart to let them know how loved they are. Wise words as always Mel 🙂

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 31st Jan 14

      Good good family time, isn’t it? Scott and I take turns as well and it is a wonderful way for your kids to affirm each other. We love to make ours squirm with grossness (because they are smiling about it, too 😉 ). I love you, friend. Thank you, as ever and always, for your steady encouragement. Waiting on your wise words…

  6. Stephanie Ingram | 31st Jan 14

    You are so blessed in writing the TRUTH of life and how God fits so perfectly in all of it. Your blogs always hit me in the gut! For those of us that are never able to put into words how life feels, please don’t ever stop writing. Your gift is a true blessing to me. Love & miss you

  7. Papa | 31st Jan 14

    Well said Missie and we are so proud of you and the precious children you and Scott have raised. This is good and something we should always do for each other. Well Done and thanks.

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