Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2015 Aug 20
~~August 20, 2015.
Back to school for my kids. First day of 6th, 8th, and 10th grades. Where have the days gone? How did my babies grow up so quickly?
Three kids. Three different reactions. Three different attitudes.
Today, my oldest climbed into his car and drove himself to school for the first time ever. I watched as this young man—his entire 6’4” fully bearded self—took himself to school for the third to last first day of school. He is this amazing young man, with a good heart. I watch him in church worshipping. I see him taking notes. I watch as he tithes. I watch as the neighborhood kids flock to him, following his lead in so many ways. He has this natural leadership ability. And his wit. This dry sense of humor that flows from a normally serious person. You find yourself just laughing hysterically when things roll off his tongue so easily, naturally.
And yet, he struggles. His perfectionist tendencies. His fear of failure. His introverted qualities. His tendency to retreat into safety.
If only he could see himself the way God sees him…
My middle child. My little man. My tender-hearted, compassionate soul. My bundle of energy. My passionate child who does everything with gusto.
Today marks his first day of eighth grade. He is big man at the middle school. His final year before he moves on to high school. He is brilliant, kind, loving. He is every parent’s dream. He is an absolute joy to raise. He loves God. He loves people. He surrounds himself with those who follow God. He stole my heart from the moment he was born.
And yet, he has apparently gotten his genetics from my family. While his brother towers over everyone, he is on the other end of the spectrum—always has been—and comes by it quite naturally. And, for a boy, that can be devastating. While his brother looks like a man, he is still frequently mistaken for an elementary child. He looks at big brother and longs to have just some of that height. He struggles with his own self-esteem as he sees all of his friends pass him by.
If only he could see himself the way God sees him…
And then there’s my baby, my angel, my only girl. She rocked my world when she was born! She has always had a mind of her own and doesn’t like to take no for an answer!
Today marks her first day of 6th grade, her first day of middle school. I wonder how in the world that can be happening, how do I no longer have any elementary aged children. How can she possibly be old enough, mature enough, to walk into the world of middle school?
She’s ready—and excited to be in a school with one of her brother’s for the first time since we moved. She’s full of anticipation of what this year will bring, how she will leave her mark on those around her. She is full of confidence, wit, intelligence. She is quite certain that she will be a complete success at everything she tries.
And yet, we all know that middle school can be tough on kids, especially girls. It is an awkward stage, often marked by tearing others down so that we feel better about ourselves. Girls can be particularly cruel. We often see the worst coming out as jealousy begins to rule in their hearts. Those who were once your friend can quickly and easily turn on you if they sense that you are somehow better, smarter, more popular—or cuter. It can do extreme damage to one’s self-esteem.
I only want her to see herself as God sees her…
And so, we began this school year with a prayer: Lord, I am your masterpiece. You have created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things you planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10).
I want my kids to know that God sees each of them as his masterpiece. I want them to know that he created them perfectly, in his image, no matter their physical characteristics. I want them to know that he has a purpose for each of their lives, good things planned out for their lives. I want them to know that they are not accidents, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ. When the world tries to tear them down, to tell them they are not good enough, I want them to stand and boldly proclaim, “I AM GOD’S MASTERPIECE.”
I don’t want them to believe the lies of Satan, thrown at them to derail them from God’s plan, his purpose. I don’t want them to believe that a failure destroys their future, renders them ineffective and useless. I don’t want them trapped in fear.
I want them to be bold, courageous! I want them to walk in faith, not fear. I want them to be leaders by being servants of all. I want them to have the freedom to remove the mask, to proudly say, “This is who I am! By the grace of God, I am different. I AM ME!”
I want them to replace all of the lies thrown at them by this world with the truth of God’s word. I want them to know the truth so that the truth can set them free.
And so this year, my prayer is that my children will know that they are God’s masterpieces, created anew in Christ Jesus to do the good works he planned for them long ago.
My prayer is that my children will see themselves as God sees them.
And, perhaps not unlike my middle and high school children, you are struggling with failures, insecurities, lies thrown at you by this world. Perhaps you are hiding behind a mask, pretending to be someone God didn’t make you to be. Perhaps you are struggling with the betrayal of a spouse who told you that you aren’t enough.
I pray over you that you would see yourself as precious, chosen, redeemed. I pray that you would allow the word to penetrate every fiber of your being, convincing you that you were made in his image. I pray that you would fill your mind with the truth so that you can be set free.
I pray that you would stand and boldly proclaim that YOU are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus to do the good works that God planned for you long ago.
I pray that you will see yourself as God sees you.