Sharing the Gift of Words

bekah General 19 Comments

The idea came organically, the way many powerful ideas come.

We sat around our worn kitchen table enjoying Bryan’s smoked ribs, sweet potatoes mashed with the perfect amount of nutmeg and greek yogurt, grilled green beans and homemade parmesan biscuits. We ate on our wedding china – the same china that until two years ago sat in boxes – for no other reason that it was the day after Christmas and we wanted to honor the simpleness of family time, a day spent in pjs until afternoon shadows cast long shapes across the living room rug and illuminated dust on a thousand perished pine needles.

Tanner, our savorer, our life stroller, our kid who takes a fafillion hours to eat shared about how he was trying to play a song to make Ty happy.

I don’t feel like he appreciated what I was trying to do, he spoke into a full fork.

His words hung in the air and at the same time, we saw what his heart was really asking.

Do you appreciate me?

That question doesn’t go away, no matter what our age.

Do you need to be affirmed, bud? we asked aloud.
Heck, why don’t we go around and affirm everyone? 

Around the table, we buttered biscuits and offered each other the simple, free gift of verbal affirmation.

And then this moment happened.

Tanner took his turn and sheepishly looked at his little brother. I like it when you ask if I want to play with you.

Ty, his plate already empty, sat in my lap, his shirt pulled up, my hand scratching up and down and back and forth when suddenly his eyes crinkled and his cheeks squished like biscuit dough.

Tanner, you’re going to make me cry.

And before any of us knew what was happening, that sweet boy, shed crocodile tears over his older brother’s words. Bryan and I looked at each other. What is happening? our stares spoke.

Suddenly Tanner began crying and then I began tearing up and Bry bit his lip and made a half-joke.

Words are a powerful gift. We write them in cards and text them on phones but something tender occurs when we offer eyes and tone and vulnerability and tell faces around a table how we specifically see them growing. I enjoy you because ___________. I see you working hard on _______________. I like you because __________________.

Plain and simple everyday encouragement.

Honoring humanness in its imperfect form.

Last night two brothers shared gifts that had nothing to do with wrapping paper or toys or fancy bows.

And their parents saw a powerful lesson on display in the middle of ribs and china and boxes still littered on a pine needle covered floor. We saw two boys speak encouragement aloud.

And Tanner’s words confirmed what we knew to be a new tradition.

We need to do this all the time, he whispered.

And our tears agreed.

Comments 19

  1. Ooooooh I just love this! How sweet and tender and honest and incredibly necessary and encouraging! And you’re right, we never get too old to want/need affirmation! Bless you for sharing! I love you all dearly!!
    PS. I’m so glad that you’re finally using your wedding China! ????????????????????

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  2. I though it was great and he is beyond his years. I love the encourageing things you do as a family and the fun time you all have. I wish I had some of the love and the hugs that you all get.

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  3. Oh my goodness!!! I could not love your sweet family any more!!! You are the dearest!!! If I were sitting at that table, I would say, “Bek, I like that you are such a value-er of people and appreciating EACH person so extravagantly. Bry, I like that you find delight in hosting others so generously. T, I like that you are such a profound thinker with such a compassionate heart of gratitude. Ty Ty, I like your zeal for life and the laughter you bring that inspires others to know sincere joy.” 🙂 THANK YOU! 🙂 xoxo

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  4. What a powerful exchange of love and encouragement! It made me think back on words of appreciations that I over heard today. The wife of a man receiving chemo was expressing her thanks for how the nurse had treated her husband. Not just thank you but other words that took it beyond the casual thank you we might use when walking away.

    I so appreciate how you and the whole family
    Opens up to share. Thank you all!

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      Judy, how precious! “Not just thank you words but other words.” They don’t go unnoticed, do they? Thank you for sharing. Love to you!

  5. This is awesome, i love what i saw and i have also learnt that everyone desires love and encouragement. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. This is awesome, i love what i saw. I have also learnt that WORDS are so POWERFUL and everyone desires/deserves love and encouragement. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you for sharing this story. My family and I are in a sad and stressful place in our lives right now and you just made me realize how much we need to speak words to each other that are hopeful and affirming.

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      Julie, I love your awareness. I find it’s during the most stressful times, when encouragement and love and permission are most valued. Hope you can offer that to one another today. Praying for you in this season. You are not forgotten, my friend.

  8. Dear Bekah,
    As I sit here reflecting on your words it brings tears of joy to my eyes knowing that I too can give more, love more ,and appreciate my family more starting today! Sometimes just stepping back and truly appreciating family in the present is so rewarding deep in our heart and souls. Thank you for sharing ❤

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  9. I read your recent passage about letting go and truly trusting in Jesus.I have had to do that times 100 this year with my adult son moving back home unemployed with multiple challenges ,a family move and a cancer diagnosis for my mom.There was truly ‘nothing left ‘in this type A mom anymore and blood pressure was rising at a dangerous rate in my body. The hardest thing to realize is I’m not being punished here as I foolishly compare my life to that of multiple so called ‘perfectly unscathed ‘ families out there ..but rather saved from the despair that was quickly enveloping my being and telling me I wasn’t enough..or doing enough.
    Your most recent article confirmed to me I can /must wait on the Lord.Thank you..for that .

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      Gail. Wow! You are going through a lot. Wish I could offer you a hug and spot on my couch to simply be and encourage you with what a beautiful (even though it doesn’t SEEM like it) space you are in. Isn’t it often when nothing goes as planned, when we find ourselves at the end of ourselves, and simply get to rest in Him? Praying He fills you from the inside out today. I have a feeling there’s some heart transformation happening- slow and steady. Be looking for how He is pursuing you when nothing else makes sense. Much love!

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