What are you wearing?

Once again I found my daughters playing in my closet. Almost every hanger was empty and they were knee deep in my clothes. Their favorites are my heels, boots and “tiny dresses” (I think I need to start hiding those.) “What are you dooooo-ing?” I whined. “You guys have made a huge mess of my things!” My three year old stood up cautiously in my boots that came all the way up to her rear. My five year old wrestled the straps of my sundress to stay on her shoulders, looked at herself in the full length mirror and said, “But Mommy, we want to look like you.”

And I stopped…and looked at them. I was overwhelmed with the meaning behind their innocent play. They just want to look like me. I wondered for the first time in my life, “What exactly do I look like to them?” What am I modeling in my life that they will imitate one day (whether I want them to or not). Of course I have lots to say to my kids on a daily basis, but I know that it is my actions that speak the loudest. I’m reminded when I hear one of my kids speak harshly to another and before I can reprimand them I recall being short with them earlier that day. Ouch.

 “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know that it starts with me. Of course they have free will and will make their own choices one day but for now I have a responsibility to not simply tell them how to live, but show them. Because they want to look like me, I need to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12) daily, and hope that they are watching: Pulling on my slacks one leg at a time and walking in gentleness and humility. Buttoning up my shirt that holds a heart full of kindness and patience. Rolling up my sleeves and reaching out with compassion to broken hearts. Slipping on my shoes and keeping in step with the Spirit.

They’re listening (sometimes), but they are mostly watching. And I want to be sure that what I choose to “put on” every morning reflects the heart of Jesus. “But Mommy, we want to look like you.” When they are younger it may just be outward appearance, but when they grow older they will inevitably reach for the same spiritual attire that we did. Let us make sure that we tell show them what it means in Colossians 3:14, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love”