Our theme this semester is building strong families. And our semester verse is Matthew 7:24-27. And it
says, everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who builds his
house on a rock when the rains fall and the floods come, the winds blew and beat the house, but the
house did not fall because it was founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and
does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. When the rains came and the winds
blew, the house falls apart, and it’s a great fall. So our theme is building a strong family. We’re building our
families on the rock. The rock of Christ.
Today our topic is, “How do I prioritize my people?” So this is a little sneak peek into what we’re talking
about. My husband and my three boys, and this is them recently. So our theme verse are the words of
Jesus, and they come at the end of his most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount. He’s talking to us
about building our lives on him, on the truth. It says, if you hear and do these things, you will build a
strong family. And if you hear and don’t do these things, you’re a fool. So God wants us to put his word
into practice so that our lives can be strong and our families can be strong. Interestingly, after this verse, it
tells us how the crowds responded to this long sermon on the mount. Do you know what it says? It says
they were amazed. Ladies, let us be amazed at the word of God together today.
Let’s pray. Father, calm our anxious hearts. Clear our minds of the distractions of the disordered thinking
in our hearts right now. Holy spirit, come align us with your vision for our families. Align our hearts to
yours. Teach us to love well. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
So, becoming a mom, let’s be honest, turns our lives upside down. Before being a mom, we’re pretty
much extremely self centered. We’re all still pretty self centered at times. It’s our flesh. But becoming a
mom is an abrupt about face to our selfishness. Sleepless nights alone lead to insanity, dirty diapers,
crying toddlers, clothes that no longer fit, husbands that come home after a crazy day and somehow want
us to be affectionate and loving towards them. How do we do this? Today’s topic is how do I prioritize my
people specifically? The message is meant for moms. We are at mom Q. And while most of us have
husbands. All of us have children. So the people we’re going to talk about today are those handsome
men that I had up there, our husbands and our sons and our daughters. So as we look at this, and as I
was thinking about prioritizing our people recently, I learned a tool. It’s called the circles of intimacy,
responsibility and impact.
And I thought it would be really useful to set the stage for what we’re talking about today. Now, it’s a
common tool used in the counseling world, and so it is scientifically based in that realm. The question is it
biblically based? We’re going to get to that as well. And let me just tell you, I would never use something
that I could not support with biblical evidence. So just as a spoiler, it is biblically accurate as well. But on
your outlines today, I have a picture. And for those listening on the podcast or on our virtual groups who
can’t see it, I’m going to describe it.
So what I want you to do right now is to imagine concentric circles. Concentric circles are where draw a
circle in the middle and draw a circle around that circle and around that circle and keep going. It’s kind of

like taking a stone and throwing it in some water, right? The stone lands, and then these rings of these
circles go outwardly. And as they go out, what happens to them? They weaken. The same it’s kind of like
an onion. I’ve heard it described, except, I don’t know, it smells when I think about it. You have this core
and you have these layers. And so for those of us in the room, I do have a picture of it. Here’s what these
concentric circles look like. In the center is circle number one. Now the question is, whose circle is this? A
lot of people in the church would say, well, God’s in the center, right? The reality is, this is your circle. And
it’s God’s circle. You are in the circle with God. You can’t be alone in that circle because you’d be a
narcissist and completely self centered. You can’t have just God in the center because then you would
neglect your light. God can’t work on us unless we get in the circle with him. Remember, circle one is kind
of like when you fly on an airplane: The flight attendant, (I used to be a flight attendant), says if the
oxygen mass drops what do you do? Put your mask on first, then help the people around you. Okay, so
get that picture.
The second circle is actually divided into two parts. This is your closest circle of intimacy. And it’s a 2A
and a 2B. And on your sheets, it’s microscopic. Sorry about that. But 2A belongs to your husband if you’re
married, or your significant other. 2B involves your children who are living in your home, your minor age
children. Don’t worry, we’re not going to neglect our adult children. But they’re not in this circle. That is
who goes in those circles. If you have children, you can teach this tool to them as well. In circle 2A for a
child it is their parents or their guardian. 2B is their siblings. Our children have circles of impact and
responsibility and intimacy around them as well. But for today, we’re talking about us, our husbands, and
our children. The reality is also in circle two for an adult, there can only be one adult in circle 2A. Right?
Because you can only have one husband. You don’t want an affair partner in there. You don’t want a mom
or a dad in there or a best friend. Just your husband. If you’re a woman, your husband goes in there. It is
perfectly fine for circle 2 to be empty completely. By the way, the woman that taught this, Marilyn Murray,
she’s an older woman who’s unmarried. She has adult children. She doesn’t have a significant other or
any kids in her home. So her circle two is empty, which gives her more time for circle one and circle three.
So then we move on to circle three. Circle three. Oh, and let me not forget, circle two is the closest circle
to you, so it has the greatest impact. This is why when someone dies or divorces or a child leaves home,
there is great emotional pain with movement in this circle. Circle three is an intimacy circle. It is the people
that you feel closest to that you can share intimate things with. This can be your adult children,
grandchildren, other family members, close friends. This does not include unhealthy, abusive people in
your life. Then circle four and beyond. We won’t get into those today, but those include other family,
acquaintances, friends, and whatnot. They just have less access to the intimate parts of your life. This tool
helps us to figure out where people belong and helps us see when certain circles are getting too crowded
or out of order. I thought it was really helpful.
It’s actually been super transformative in my own life to see where I need to make changes and how I
need to readjust my priorities. So this tool, like I said, was developed by a psychologist. And the question
is, is it biblical?

And I would propose, of course it is, or I wouldn’t use it. So the first thing we’re going to look at today is
circle one. The center belongs to Christ alone. And in Colossians one we find a beautiful verse that
explains this so perfectly. Says Jesus, the head of the body, the church, Jesus, is the beginning. He’s the
firstborn from the dead. So that Jesus can have this. It says it in the Bible, first place in everything. So it’s
really clear in God’s word that Christ gets first place. And that is our vertical relationship.
Then we move on to the horizontal relationships. The second circle belongs to our husband. 2A is our
husband, right? In Genesis, we’ve talked about this alot, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh. This is why a
man leaves his father and mother clings to his wife and they become one. Now let me just say, to be
clear, leaving your father and mother does not mean abandoning and rejecting them, right? The Bible is
very clear that we need to honor our parents in our older age and take care of them. But it does mean that
the husband and the wife start their own circles and the parent is not in that innermost circle. So because
of this one flesh relationship, we see how important it is to God that he would call it out like that. It is the
most important human relationship you will have if you are married.
So let’s go on to the third circle or the 2B. To be belongs to our children. And sometimes that might be the
easiest group of all those people. Sometimes our children feel like the most because they’re closest in
proximity. They’re with us, they’re demanding stuff. It’s easy to make them part of our intimate circle
because they’re with us. Even some of you in this room, they’re on you, right? They’re feeding from you,
they need you continually. And that’s a good thing. That’s a God thing. So I believe God has revealed that
all our relationships should begin and end with love.
So our big idea for today is strong families are founded on unconditional love. This is the basis, this is the
foundation. Like in Matthew 7, the foundation is built on the rock. What is that rock? That rock is Jesus
Christ. And who is Jesus Christ? He is unconditional love. He is the love. The primary command in
scripture is what? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Give him all you
got. And second is to love your neighbor as yourself. So what is this love that he’s commanding? Love
God. Love others. Love yourself. He not only commands it, but he demonstrates it. While we were yet
sinners, haters of God, rejecting him completely, he died for us. That is really powerful. He took on flesh.
He humbled himself. He took his crown. He traded it for the cross.
So let’s look at John 13. I think it’s really interesting. And John 13 is the last Supper. And why is the last
supper important? It is the night before Jesus is crucified. This is the last time the disciples are with him.
And in this moment, any of us in here who have lost someone we love, most of us will remember the last
time we were with that person. We’ll remember their words. We’ll remember where we were, what we
were doing. It’s a very significant imprint on us as people. Jesus knew that. And so in 13, he gathers his
disciples together. And this is before the Passover. And I love this verse. I saw this this week and I was
like, wow, it’s really sticking with me. He says, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them
to the end. Like, Jesus came and he loved all the way to the end.
Ladies, we want to love all the way through. And we know many of the stories in the Bible. The disciples
frustrated Jesus so many times. Really? Do you still not believe? I just fed 5000 and now I’m feeding

4000? Like, what the heck? I just did this miracle and you’re doubting me? Jesus was frustrated, yet he
loved them to the end. So when the time for the supper had come, he put in Judas’ heart that he’s going
to betray him. They all sit down and Jesus gets up from the table and he takes off his outer cloth. He
takes a towel, puts it around his waist, and he starts washing feet in the room. Stinky, dirty feet. Now,
Jews did not wash Jjews’ feet. Slaves, non jewish slaves washed the feet of the guest. Jesus is the guest
of honor. He is washing their feet and they are like, what? This is uncomfortable. Right? Super. If I started
washing your feet, we would all get uncomfortable.
And so here he is, and Peter himself. You know what Peter says? Peter, I love Peter. He says, you will
never wash my feet. Oh, no, Jesus, step back. And then, you know, Peter’s like, okay, just kidding. Watch
everything. Like, Peter, I love him. He’s so just animated. And so he does this. He washes their feet. And
then he goes, puts his cloak back on and he sits down and reclines to the table, casual, like nothing crazy
just happened. And what does Jesus say? He says, do you know what I have done for you? And I’m sure
they’re sitting there thinking, we don’t understand this. This is way weird. He says, do you know what I’ve
done for you? He says, you call me teacher and lord, and you’re speaking rightly, since I am. So if your
Lord and teacher washed your feet, you ought to love, wash one another’s. I’m sure they’re thinking, what
is he talking about? We’re going to start washing each other’s feet. And he says this. Back to that
question, do you know what I’ve done for you?
He says, I have given you an example that you should do just as I have done. This wasn’t a physical
washing of feet. Maybe God will call you at some point to wash somebody’s feet. I don’t know. That could
happen. But this is a heart attitude towards the disciples, towards one another that we should have
towards one another in this room, towards our husbands and our children’s, towards ourselves, that we
should give and receive this kind of love. So after all of that, he even says this. Judas leaves the group.
He’s the betrayer. And Jesus looks at those that are left and he says, I give you a new command. Now,
this is not new. I struggle with this. I’m like, hold on a second. This is not new. You’ve already been telling
us, love one another. Love one another. It is new in the sense of He’s like, listen up. This is really, really
critical. He says, love one another. This is the new part, though. He says, just as I have loved you, you
were to love one another. And how did he love them? He just demonstrated how to love each other. And
so that is the new command.
Unconditional love is modeled by and available only through Jesus Christ. As Christians, we’re
commanded to love one another, and we can’t do it, ladies, in our flesh. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward.
Our pride gets in the way. Whether we think less of ourselves or more than ourselves, all of it’s wrong. It’s
not unconditional. Jesus’ love is unconditional. So our big idea is founded on unconditional love. And it’s
important that we remember we can only give what we ourselves have received. In circle one with God,
we receive that unconditional love, and this is where we can draw from that well to pour out to those other
circles again, circle one. You and God, you have to get in that circle. Ladies, I have not been in that circle.
God revealed to me, Annie, you don’t get in the circle. You stand outside and you think you’ll just manage
it. All right? God said, get in the circle. Because if you don’t get in the circle, you’re not going to learn how
to receive God’s love. And if you don’t know how to receive it, you are definitely not going to be able to

give it. God has so convicted me of this. When I wouldn’t receive love, there was no way I could love my
husband. I thought I was loving him, but I wasn’t really until I learned to receive God’s love.
Everyone is born with an emotional tank. We all know this intuitively, right? It’s like a gas tank. A car that
has no gas is going to do what? Nothing. It’s not going anywhere. Us, without our emotional tank filled up,
will be empty. We will be giving nothing. So I love what Gary Chapman says, “An emotional tank for a
child is equivalent to the amount of love and understanding shown by the parent that fuels the growth and
development of the child. So for a child, we’re fueling them. We’re helping fill their tank, giving them tools,
teaching them, and training them so that they can be fueled for growth and development. Because what is
the ultimate goal? We are raising kids to be independently dependent on God. The goal is independence
for our children. Now, clearly, as they’re babies, that’s a far off goal. And God allows us time and space.
And I love Candace taught me this, saying, we want to give them rope and room, right? We slowly let the
rope out.
I think about when we used to go wakeboarding with our kids, and it’s like they know, slowly letting that
rope out, and then there they know. So let the rope out, give them room. So the emotional tank for the
Christian, though, is to be filled up with the Holy Spirit. When we’re full of the spirit, what flows out of the
spirit? The fruit of the spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self control. You know, the reason I know that verse is because I wanted my children to know that verse.
So I said, we’re going to memorize this. I don’t know that they could quote it, but I can quote it because I
taught it to them so often. The fruit of the spirit. Everyone has emotional needs, and we are responsible to
tend to those needs in ourselves, not suppress or neglect them. The emotional IQ leads to a healthy,
wise, balanced self.
So how do I practice this? How do I make this real? So I love myself by, first of all, filling my emotional
tank with God’s unconditional love. We have so many ways we fill our tank. I do. Even as I was preparing
this lesson, at some point I thought, I just want to go watch a Netflix show. I will just get back to this later.
Gosh, it was getting hard, and I just was feeling, like, kind of just wrestling and failing, and so I was like,
I’m going to go just fill myself with something different. Right? Is that a bad thing? No. If I do that all the
time, and if I do it when I’m supposed to be preparing for this, yes, it is wrong. But just a little confession
there. It could be food. It could be exercise. It could be social media, shopping. I love shopping. It could
be traveling. I love traveling. But we can’t just travel our lives away. It could be drinking. Could be
spending time with friends and family. That’s a good, healthy one. But do we overdo it? I don’t know.
Coming to MomQ is a really good way to love yourself. Getting a massage, going to the movies. Do
people even go to the movies anymore? Is that a thing? Let’s bring it back. It’s so fun. Regardless, how
these things are, or whether they’re healthy or unhealthy, they won’t last very long.
And the reality is that we, God modeled for the Israelites in the wilderness every single day, he calls us to
come in and get our portion of manna for that day. And do you know what? The manna doesn’t last for the
next day. It rotted. It grew worms and stunk. God designed us for a daily drawing from that well. So daily,
we return to circle number one. We dip into the water of God’s unconditional love. Let it pour in so it can
flow out right. I keep seeing these waterfalls. We were in Canada this summer, and it’s just beautiful,

untouched land. And there are these huge waterfalls that just go on and on and on. And I just see that
God is like that. His majestic creation just displays his glory. He’s pouring in so we can pour out. We are
meant to return daily. So, stabilizing our relationship with Jesus, it stabilizes all the other relationships.
Ladies, it is so important. Okay. At that time, we want to spend time praying. We want to spend time
listening, reading, reflecting, and just meditating. If you don’t know how to spend time with God, come talk
to me. I can help you strategize a lot of ways. We know how to spend time with people. God. We spend
time with him similarly. Okay, now, of course, there’s not an audible voice. Sometimes I think there’s an
audible voice, but there really isn’t. It’s just me hearing the Holy Spirit talking to me. So we need to
reorient our disoriented thinking. Second one. So once we get that under control, ha ha, by the way, it’s a
daily thing. It’s never going to be under control. It’s a daily submission.
Second boundary is. Or the second thing we want to do is set boundaries. And now, what in the heck are
boundaries? They are not just fences. I was listening to somebody when boundaries kind of first came out
say, people are like, what are they talking about? Boundaries. Boundaries. Henry Cloud, he wrote the
book boundaries. There’s boundaries for children, boundaries for teens, boundaries in marriage.
Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. There’s boundaries for everything. Every relationship says a
boundary shows me where I end and where someone else begins. This leads me to a sense of
ownership. Who wants their children to take ownership of their lives? Me.
If I don’t model taking ownership of my life, my kids are never going to know how to own their lives.
Ownership. Knowing that what I am to take responsibility for gives me freedom. There is freedom in
boundaries. Taking responsibility for my life opens up many options. Boundaries help us to keep the good
in and the bad out. So these boundaries set lines of access and responsibility. Access is about who do we
let in and when. Responsibility tells me this, let’s see. I am responsible for me. I’m the only one I can
change. I’m responsible to others. We’re responsible to others, like our husbands and our children. As we
do this, we need to avoid codependency. And I’m not going to get deep into that. But codependency is
when we let another’s person’s behavior affect us in a way that we become obsessed with controlling
them or controlling that behavior. Managing. Manipulating. I was super codependent every day of my life
I’ve been alive until maybe the past 24 hours. No, really, in the past few months, God has really revealed
how codependent I was because I heard the word dependent and I thought, well, I don’t depend.
I’m super independent. I don’t need anybody. I just need all you to have your stuff together and then I’ll be
okay. And then somebody said, well, that is what codependency is. It says, I’m okay if you’re okay, but I’m
noticing you’re not okay. So I’m going to fix that so you can be okay. And then I can be okay, right? That’s
unhealthy. The better way, the christian way, the christlike way is interdependency. God doesn’t call us to
stand alone. He calls us to have relationships of mutual love. Mutual love and respect flows both in. This
is what an interdependent person would say. I’m okay even if you’re not okay, but I’m really sad that
you’re not okay. And so can I ask you, is there something I could do for you? And I need to respect what
you ask, and then I need to respect myself and my boundaries, because you know what? My needs are
met in Jesus. I’m not looking to you to fill my boundaries, to fill my needs, but I want to be available to
come alongside you if that’s helpful. But if you’re not okay, I’m sad about that, but I’m still going to be

All right. Healthy and unhealthy forms of caretaking can be balanced in a verse I found in Philippians
2:3-4. It says, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Don’t do things motivated by getting your
needs met. That is where that verse goes. Because codependence, unhealthy caretaking is about taking
care of you. So I can take care of me. If you’re okay, I’m okay. It says, but everyone should look rather not
only to his own interest, but to the interest of others. It doesn’t say, neglect your interest because it kind of
assumes you will pay attention to your interest, but also consider others interest. Similar to the verse, love
your neighbor as yourself. It doesn’t say, don’t love yourself. It just says, love your neighbor as yourself.
We need to love ourselves as much as we love our neighbor and our neighbor as much as ourselves.
And if we’re not loving ourselves, we’re probably not loving others very well. Christ’s love was not self
deprecating. He saw the joy before him, and that’s why he got on the cross. He considered others. He
knew that his act of forgiveness would redeem all of creation.
It was joy when he was going to the cross. Now, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t painful and difficult and a huge
sacrifice. But he was willing to die to himself because he was filled fully with the father’s love. Here is the
warning. Emotional tanks without Jesus are sandy soil. What happens on that sandy soil? It falls apart.
The foundation crumbles. But the hope is, the encouragement I want to give you is that emotional tanks
filled with Jesus are held up by the rock again. If I don’t fill my tank, I’ve got nothing to give. But if I keep
my tank full, this gives me what I need to love others like Jesus.
So here we go, loving my husband. And, ladies, this is the most important relationship you have on earth.
If you have a husband, I can’t emphasize that enough. We talked about this in our teaching team meeting
because it’s like, oh, we’ve talked so much about marriage, and it’s like, no, we gotta keep talking
because I know that in this room, it is pretty, what’s the word I’m looking for? I could pretty much make the
assumption that all of us in here at some point struggle in our marriage because we’re talking about two
people with different assumptions and expectations. And when those clash, there becomes conflict. Now,
some of us are better at resolving it quickly. Some of us maybe don’t. And so we’ve got to encourage one
another in the rub of our marriage, of how to restore that back to the way that God designed it.
Marriage begins, like I said, with assumptions and expectations. Soon those assumptions become
surprises to your partner. Like, I didn’t know that’s what we were doing. Well, I assumed you knew that’s
what we were doing. That’s the way our family should operate on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Well,
that’s not how mine did. Well, this is the way it should be. Back and forth. Assumptions lead to surprises.
Expectations lead to disappointments. It’s critical that we tend to our marriage relationship. Notice that in
your circle 2, 2a and 2b. Who is going to leave that circle? Those children? The person who’s not
supposed to leave is the husband. So that is a lifelong commitment there. So tend to that marriage
relationship. I just want to give you hope. Doesn’t matter where you are today in your marriage. I am a
living, breathing testimony that you can be in the pit of marriage, ready to leave your spouse and God can
turn that ship around.
There’s other mentor moms in here that could share the same story. God can redeem all things if we start
by surrendering to his unconditional love and doing the following. We’re going to love our husbands by

revealing ourselves to him emotionally, spiritually, physically. It is intimate, ladies. It’s scary. It’s
uncomfortable. I almost would rather wash my husband’s feet than tell him about my emotions because
that gets really deep. What’s the opposite of revealing is concealing. That is how I operated for most of
my marriage. Concealing. Got to just keep that between me and myself and I. Why would he want to
know those things about me that wasn’t really modeled in the marriage I saw in my home? I didn’t see this
loving, emotional, nurturing marriage. I just thought you just kind of coexist and work and raise kids and
everybody kind of does what they want. No, reveal. The second thing is respond. So we reveal. We want
our husbands to respond to us with unconditional love. And a marriage is interdependent. We do the
same. We want him to respond. We want him to reveal. And when he does reveal, don’t get judgmental,
critical fixing.
Don’t freak out. Don’t run in fear. Do what you would do with your children if they came to you with
something that was shocking in your soul. You just get curious. That’s interesting. Tell me more. Then just
start praying, God, give me a heart of unconditional love for my husband. We want him to do the same.
So we reveal and respond. Our emotional tank without Jesus is what? Sandy soil. Our marriage on Sandy
soil is dangerous. It disrupts the stability of our homes. Ladies, the stability of your home starts with your
relationship with Christ, but then it is on. Your marriage is a stability factor. And if we don’t. Oh, yes. See,
we have some agreement already. Stability in the home. If we don’t, you know, it also leads. If we don’t
feel stable, we start to feel anxious and fearful. We pass that to our children, they become anxious and
fearful. It creates an insecure attachment in our home. And that is not what any of us want. I know y’all
are here because you want to be great moms and great wives, so tend to that. Now, the good news is,
emotional tanks filled with Jesus, they’re built on the rock.
They’re going to stand. Doesn’t matter. The storm doesn’t matter. The crazy things that happen to
marriage, your marriage is going to stand. It might get a little bent over, and you might have to get it
propped up again. And you may need the support of a small group, a counselor, an intensive counseling. I
don’t know. I’m speaking from experience. But with the right support, if we look to Jesus the rock for our
marriage, it can last. And that is a great legacy to leave our children. So for many years, I did. I concealed
my emotions and I judged my husband. I did not reveal myself and come to him with unconditional love.
Responding. I lived my own little land, Annie land, and it was not a good place. To my surprise, I actually
married a man who is extremely nurturing, extremely loving, very compassionate, tender, empathetic.
He’s all these things that I am not, and I didn’t know what to do with that. And so as I started to reveal
myself to him, and he responded with compassion and love, it really started to break my heart.
And about two weeks ago, see, this is recent, ladies. Two weeks ago, we were in counseling, and all of a
sudden, it just hit me. I just started crying. And I’ve learned this because the emotion will come up, and I
think, no, push that down. But, no, I’m just going to let it be. And the emotion came up, and I started
crying, and I was like, I am so sorry. I looked in his eyes, and I just said, I’m so sorry that I haven’t been
more loving to you. I didn’t ever set out to be a cold wife. I didn’t ever set out to be controlling and
manipulative. But as I looked at myself, I was like, ooh, I’ve been those things, and I am so sorry. And he
just so lovingly. He was like, it’s okay. I’m like, no, you’re not supposed to say, it’s okay. You should say,
yes. I appreciate your forgiveness or your repentance. I appreciate that you recognize that. So we are

looking to the next 25 years with a lot of hope and joy, but that has not come without a lot of sanctification.
A lot of me. Returning to circle one. Okay. Lord, show me. Reveal in me I receive your love. Now
transform me.
Next, children. Oh, our children. They are just so close to our heart. There’s nothing like a mother’s love. I
don’t know. It’s such a gift. Whether your children are biological or adopted, it doesn’t matter. There is a
thing that happens when you know you’re the mother, that you instinctively want to protect and provide
and care for them. You have a love that is only given to a mother. In Titus 2:4, it says, older women teach
the younger women to love their husbands. And second, love your children. That love is a motherly love.
It’s not agape. I was very disappointed, actually, because I was like, well, this verse, the word love is
going to translate agape, and that’s going to make my talk perfect. And God was like, no, it’s philoteknos,
okay? And the word philo is like a friendship love, but the technos added to it makes it a mother love. It is
affectionate, and it’s embracing. Its meeting needs. It’s tender. I love the word tenderly. Befriending each
one is a unique gift from the hand of God. Our children are unrepeatable miracles of God. We are
unrepeatable miracles of God.
So we love our children. And how do we love our children? We do it by filling their emotional tanks with
unconditional love. Our children, they don’t naturally know how to love. They’re born with a sin nature.
They’re born broken like we are. And unless we start reflecting, teaching and training continually, morning,
day and night, unless we keep doing that, we’re not going to help them fill their emotional tank. It’s not
that we’re necessarily responsible for their responses, but we are responsible to pour those things in. And
as they mature and develop, they will learn to reflect back those character traits, that unconditional love
that we are giving to them. Children will test you with their actions and attitudes. And what they’re doing is
they’re saying, do you really love me? They’re testing that unconditional love that you’re trying to provide.
So the primary relationship with our children should always start with love before you teach or guide or
anything. When they’re little babies, we just swoop them up and we look at their faces and we’re like, I
just love you. It’s just so precious. Just hold that baby. Love that baby. Be tender with that baby.
Teach and train them to do the same for themselves. So as we pour out God’s unconditional love, we
have to teach them to do it for themselves. Because we can’t do it for them for a lifetime. We need to
guide them to the well. We might take some from the well and pour it in, but then we need to teach them
how to get to that well. Parents are responsible to teach. So the best way I’ve found as my children age is
that the best way I can love them since I can’t be with them always, like I would like to be, is I can pray for
them. Because, you know, who’s always with them is God. He is omnipresent, so he’s always there at the
need of the moment. There’s a beautiful verse in Philippians 4:19. It says, and God will supply all my
needs, all my children’s needs, all my husband’s needs. God is going to supply all our needs. And so I
can go to him in prayer. Lord, today I pray for Michael, Dylan and Sam. God supply all they need because
guess what? There are even needs that I don’t know they have.
And sometimes I think, how did I not know you needed that? I’m your mother. I should know everything
about you and I should be completely in tune. No, I can’t be. So the last story I have is this. Recently, one
of my nameless children came home after curfew and I was asleep because there are curfews at ten and

I mean, I can’t stay up that late, ladies. Luckily my husband does. But I’m like, really? Can we make the
curfew ten? That would be so much better for me. But it’s twelve because they’re older. So he comes in
after curfew and I realized this the next morning and I’m like, I see he came in way after his curfew.
Wonder what went down there. He didn’t call, he didn’t let us know. So then I’m trying to get the facts and
I’m getting mad. I’m like, I’m going to let him have it. He’s going to need some consequences. I’m just
going to blast him. I’m going to tell him how disrespectful and how he can’t disregard us. And blah, blah,
blah, blah. I was ready. I was standing in judgment. And he comes in and he starts to weep.
And I’m like, this is not how this was supposed to go. And he starts crying, he starts confessing and
saying, mom and dad, I’m struggling with this. And I just was like, Annie, terrible mother, what the heck?
You’re judging your child. I needed to come to him in unconditional love. God really convicted me. So I
just love that we want to come to our children with unconditional love because you just never know what’s
going on. It’s important to be curious and to also help them to take ownership. So that was just mine.
Clearly I hadn’t filled my tank that day. So emotional tanks that are filled, that are without Jesus are on
sandy soil, those with Jesus are upheld by the rock. And our big idea, strong families are founded on
unconditional love. So that’s what we got for today, ladies. Can we do it? Who are we going to start with?
Who’s in circle one? God and me. Who’s in circle 2a? Your spouse. Circle 2b? Children at home. Circle
three are adult children. Tend to your circles.
Let’s pray. God, we thank you so much for your word. We thank you for the example of taking the towel
and washing your disciples feet. God, we thank you for the example of the cross, that you died for us.
That while we were still sinners, regardless of what we did. God, your love was unconditional. We never
earned it. In fact, we shouldn’t have earned it, because our behavior has been sinful and opposed to you,
God. But yet you pursue us with your unconditional love. Help us to fill our lives with that and pass it on to
others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.


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