‘When we decided to write benedictions for our children, we simply wanted to help them find their anchor when they are inevitably tossed about.’
It’s half-term, and I have finally carved out some time to write benedictions for my girls – a practice I have been inspired to adopt by reading Osheta Moore. She writes here about Back to School Benedictions (and here about an equally inspiring twist on the original idea).
In the first post she writes about her own love of benedictions – of having truth spoken over her as she leaves a gathering so that she leaves knowing she is loved and confident that she is not alone. She and her husband wanted this for their children as they went back to school – ‘a confidence in their belovedness even when they’re not with us’ – and so they created a blessing for each of them.
It is Autumn now, of course, and long past writing anything for ‘Back to School’, but over the past months as Liv has returned to school and Imogen has started for the very first time, Osheta’s practice has stuck with me. I, too, want to see my children as they are, bless them, and send them on their way in peace.
My girls are still very little so I picked animals as their ‘Benediction names’.
I thought of Imogen – all business and focus, the pride she takes already in a job well done. Eugene Peterson says ‘work, by its very nature, is holy’, and I want to bless the worker in her as she grows up. (It’s tricky, I know, this trait is often hijacked by our culture into something unhealthy). I also want our home to be her safe place, her soft landing place.
I bless you to be a busy bee at school – hardworking and helpful. I bless your attention to detail, your lovely classwork and homework. I bless you to be like Nehemiah – a determined builder and rebuilder, who can work well with others who are good at different things. I bless our home to be a place of rest and cuddles for you.
I thought of Olivia – dreamy, creative, inquisitive – happier exploring forests than sitting at a desk.
I bless you to be a hummingbird at school – curious and free. I bless you as you spread your wings, as you move toward and sample all the things that interest you. I bless your quiet confidence. I bless you to be like Daniel – kind and considerate to everyone – but sure of who you belong to and what you love. I bless your inner strength. It can be hard, sometimes, to be a hummingbird at school, I bless your ability to sit still and concentrate when you have to. I bless our schedule to make time for climbing trees.
I hope my girls will feel affirmation and freedom as I pray these blessings over them, I hope it will feel a bit like the ‘invisible string’ from the book we used to read Liv when she was wobbly in P1, something that keeps us connected throughout the school day. She still struggles with thresholds, with letting go, so I will keep praying that she goes in peace, knowing she is loved, confident she is not alone.
It will be back to porridge next week, after the Halloween holidays and our mornings are fairly predictable. There will be this tiny blond boss-lady, dressed in 3 minutes, bustling around our house. There will be another girl hidden under a duvet with her nose in a book, she’d like to stay there, she’ll dig in. In the middle of our ordinary, messy mornings, though, I hope I take the time to bless them – to be busy, to be dreamy – to carry their gifts into their classrooms and through their days. And later on, I hope I’ll make space for the blessings of tree climbing and cuddles, of caring for these very different little girls, of believing that it matters.