One Good Phrase: A Series

There are phrases that have become mantras in my home. There are phrases that are said over and over, every time one of my boys hurts his brother.

Your brother will be your best friend your whole life. Are you treating him like a friend?

There are phrases I say because I need to remember. We all need to remember.

We use our words to love each other.*

We use our hands to love each other.

There are secrets I barely understand and they are coming out of my mouth.

The Lord bless you and keep you…

I am saying over the crib, my fingers marking my son like a priest, my fingers holy.

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you…

Every day it’s a liturgy of phrases, truths I pray will stay with a boy who already longs to control everything and every one around him, phrases I pray may stay with the boy who already longs to please, already longs to be accepted by the brother he watches and runs behind.

Every day you grow stronger and braver. Let’s try again tomorrow.**

I say to my boy who desperately wants to climb to the top of the spider web at the park. It is so high and he’s still not sure he’s ready.

And every day I’m in the mirror for a moment at least. Long enough to see myself: my hair wadded into a mess of a bun again, my face washed clean but makeup-free. I examine my dark circled mama eyes, these thirty-something wrinkles moving in for their long stay.

I am God’s beloved.

What a thing to whisper to myself. Only grace: to believe such words said over and over.

One Good Phrase made beautiful in repetition.


* * *


Every Wednesday for the next several months, we are embarking on a new series of guest posts called “One Good Phrase.”

Each week we’ll hear from a guest who will examine “One Good Phrase” in their life, whether that phrase is something a parent repeated throughout their childhood, something gleaned through a church community, or something they’ve learned how to speak to themselves or the people in their lives. No matter how the phrase has become a part of them, we’re going to explore how it has formed them.

I can’t wait to share this journey with you, friends. I hope you’ll start thinking about your One Good Phrase, too.


* I first learned this phrase from Sarah Bessey and it immediately became regular part of our daily family liturgy.
** Joanna, a friend in my Mom’s Group, shared this phrase with us a couple of months ago. I love its simplicity and hope.


One Good Phrase: Zack Hunt (Costly Grace)
One Good Phrase: Laura Turner (The adventure continues…)
All the Good Phrases: A Review (Part 2)
#FoundGrace in yellow flowers, JoJo, and some cozy Target pants
  • Nilza

    Hi Micha,

    I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and wisdom on your blog. I think you have a fascinating point of view on many things.
    Since you like writing I was wondering if you’d be interested in watching the Christian film Catching Hearts and writing a review of that in your blog?

    I was part of making the film last year and it just recently came out on Dvd. It deals with atheism, faith and the existence of God. It’s a film that really gives a lot to think.
    It hasn’t been shown to a broader audience yet so I would be very excited to hear what you’d think about it.

    Please let me know as soon as possible what you think so I can send you a private link to watch the whole film!

    Here is the trailer of it attached.


  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

    I love this idea, and these phrases. Now you’ve got me thinking about the phrases that have shaped me…fascinating!

  • Hännah

    Oh, this is lovely. I feel a little weird about the One Word 365 concept (at least, as a public thing), but this is more my speed. I have lots of these, little snatches of hope that I turn over in my mind as I go, like a worry stone in my pocket.

  • Annie Barnett

    So excited for the series, Micha. I’m thinking about these phrases that are shaping and have shaped me – the good and the not so good. Thanks for shining light on these words we say again and again. Love it.

  • Rebecca

    oh! I love the image: “like a worry stone in my pocket” – perfect description of the phrases I turn over daily. Thank you Hannah, and as always, Thank you Micha!

  • Jess

    This looks like a really interesting series – and as others have said, has got me thinking about the phrases I use with my class at the school where I teach. I especially like “Every day you grow stronger and braver”. That might have to go on our classroom wall :)

  • Cara

    I love reading your insights, my friend!

  • http://diana Diana Trautwein

    Sigh. You wanna know the kinds of phrases that stuck in MY kids’ minds? Nothing nearly so beautiful as these. Nope. Much more like these: “It’s all well and good until someone gets hurt!” (said when energy levels and playfulness rose higher than kites); “Who ever told you life was fair, honey?” (so encouraging, don’t you think?); “Didn’t I tell you that would happen?” (said way too many times to count about just about any mishap);

    I’m doing a little bit better with my grandkids. LOTS of, “You’re the best/smartest/most loving/most helpful/kindest” girl/boy I know.” That one happens a lot.

    Phrase-fail, big-time.

    As I said. Sigh.

  • michaboyett

    I hear you Hannah, about the phrase thing being more manageable than the one word concept. Katie, Rebecca, Hannah, I’m so happy to hear you guys are excited for this series!

  • michaboyett

    Yes, there are some not so good ones too. I was just thinking after this post went up yesterday how it’d probably have done us all some good for me to share the really terrible phrases I’m repeating at my kids all day. Those are happening too, for sure.

  • michaboyett

    Yes! I love it for a classroom wall! Thanks Jess…

  • michaboyett

    Oh, Diana. Did you see what I just wrote to Annie? How many terrible phrases do I utter far more often than the good ones? Classic Mom-blogger myth, right? We can make ourselves appear so lovely because we only have to present ourselves in 500-800 words per day. Thanks for your honesty. I think: “Didn’t I tell you that would happen?” gets said a lot around here. Or, like last night, when August slammed his head into the door because he was so frustrated, I confess I said: “Do you think I feel sorry for you? If you slam your head into a door, it hurts.” (I may or may not have added: “Stop crying!” or possibly, “Get a grip!” Yes, phrase-fail.

  • michaboyett

    Hi Nilza, will you send me an email about it? michaboyett at gmail dot com…Thanks!

  • Erin

    I have to tell you how much this post helped me yesterday. I’m in a bit of a post-holiday-visit-home funk (two weeks with a dysfunctional family will do that), and I ended up writing “Every day you grow stronger and braver” on my arm yesterday so I would remember it. Thank you for a reminder that we should have grace for ourselves and that each day is a chance to do something we couldn’t have done the day before!

  • Mark Allman

    If you asked my kids what phase do I tell them over and over or not even say but imply it they would tell you I want them to “Relish the Journey”

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  • michaboyett

    Erin, I love that you wrote it on your arm. I need to write it on mine too.

  • Amy Young

    Mark I love this!

  • Jenny Call

    Dear Micha, your blog is always a source of inspiration to me. Thank you for this series. It helped me to reflect and think about how I struggle with “What NOT to Say” based on an unhelpful phrase I heard in my childhood.

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