“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5: 1-2)
As I watched my bright blue-eyed, 2-year-old brush her teeth one morning, I realized she was watching me do the same thing, and was imitating my every move. Then a few moments later, as I looked in a mirror to make sure the mascara was in all the right places, I noticed Joy using the mirror and looking at her eyes and touching her eyelashes.
She was copying everything I did. She is aware of everything going on in her little world now, and whatever she sees Mommy and Daddy doing, she’s gonna do too.
However we talk to her is how she talks to her baby dolls. However we cuddle and kiss her is how she loves on her stuffed-puppy named “Happy.” When we pray, and end with “Amen,” she follows suit, even in church. It’s the sweetest thing to hear a little one say “Amen” — don’t you agree?
Just the other morning, I looked into our full length mirror to make sure my outfit was OK, and I’ll have you know that Little Miss walked up to the mirror right behind me and did the same thing, only she’s 2 and everything she wears is cute.
So, I’ve come to the realization that she is watching and we had better be on our toes.
Therefore, Mommy and Daddy had better be imitators of God.
How can I set a good example for her to follow if I’m not following the examples of my Lord and Savior?
How can Kevin and I show her how to treat others with love? By doing so ourselves. How can we show her how to have a Jesus-centered marriage? By living out our marriage in a way that reflects our love for Jesus and one another.
How can we show her that there is an all-loving God who died on a cross just for her too? By living our lives like we completely believe He died for us too.
Something else that has been laid on my heart lately with the realization that my little girl is watching is that I do not want her to succumb to thinking that she is only good enough or pretty enough if she does this, or wears that. It is so very important to me that Joy grows up with the knowledge that her Savior is more than enough.
When she grabs a hold of His love for her, then she’ll understand that He is greater than us and His love is what makes us feel whole; it has nothing to do with the crazy world.
I suddenly feel a ton of pressure, and yet in the same moment, I am reminded that I am Jesus’ little girl, and He has me in the palm of His hand as well. No matter how many time I mess up my own examples to my little Joy, His grace is sufficient.
That will be another lesson of grace that my daughter will learn one day — Mommy is human, and she will mess up and she won’t always show Joy the best example, but Jesus has it all covered. Thank you, Jesus for your outpouring of love on me.
Leading by example doesn’t apply just to parenthood; it applies in our every day lives. We have the greatest leader of all, who led, died and rose again — all with love in mind. His example is the greatest by far.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.