Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to you this morning with thankfulness. I am blessed by your constant reminders that I am a light and that others see that light whether I know it or not. God let this light bring glory to your name. Lord forgive me for my rushed way of doing life. Forgive me for my short temper with my children and my sometimes “seen and not heard” way of raising them. God I ask you to continually remind me they were entrusted to me by you. God I pray you bless, enlighten, strengthen and love them in spite of Ryan and I and of how poorly we parent at times. Forgive me Lord for there are many times I do not know what I am doing to them in the midst of my busy life.
In Jesus name I pray,
She watches me sip my coffee and studies my face. She watches me write in my bible and makes a mental note of how often I do this. She is forever watching me. Always studying, observing and recording what is looks like to be a girl, a wife, a mother and a follower of Christ. Out of our three children she pays attention to detail the most. Yesterday she put on a pair of cable knit tights and danced down the hall to invite her father to notice the detail with her. “Daddy do you like my tights? Do you see the detail?”
I wish I paid attention to detail the way she does. I wish I remembered that she is always watching me with careful detail. But as I put our daughter to bed last night and kissed her sweet face she helped to remind me that she is watching my every move and wants to be just like me. As I tucked her in she whispered, “When I get up can I come out and read bibles with you?”
“Sure” I replied not thinking she would be awake at 4am while questioning how she knew I got up that early to read. But as I made my coffee at 4 I heard the familiar thud of her feet hitting the ground followed by the tiny footsteps on the hardwood floor. To my surprise not only had she woken up but she remembered it was time to “read our bibles”.
So we snuggled up on the couch and cracked open our bibles, hers upside down as usual. This always reminds me that what the world sees as important is upside down from what God deems as important. She asked me what page we were reading as I helped her navigate the small bible with her pink highlighted notations. To her defense she tried to “read” quietly but it wasn’t long before she wanted to talk about all her early morning observations. I responded to a few of her questions as I started to become agitated. This was my time with God she was interrupting. I took a deep breath and suggested maybe she could draw a picture of Jesus while I read. With the suggestion she sprang into action and gathered the box of colored pencils from the table and began.
I refocused myself back to my bible and the devotion I chose for the day, ironically entitled Make room for the Children from http://www.shereadstruth.com . As I read “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in ithe depths of the earth.Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV). I thought about the way my husband and I wavered on whether we should have a third child, who now sat next to me coloring. I questioned if this world had become too dark and my husband questioned whether we had enough time and attention to devote to a third child. And as I sat remembering our waviering I looked at her half colored picture.
“Is that Jesus?” I asked.
“No that’s an angel. He came to tell Mary that she was going to have baby Jesus,” she confidently declared never looking up.
“Wow, that’s awesome. Good job,” I said as I sat there piecing together what God was trying to show me through scripture and this tiny evangelical artist beside me; and I went back to reading my scripture.
“Jesus said,“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14 ESV).
As I read I could feel my irritation rise as the orange marker she chose squeaked over the thick paper making me loose focus of my thoughts. I told myself to breath, to welcome her presence the way that God had welcomed me into His this morning. To welcome her closeness and noise that way that God welcomes mine. And again I refocused my attention back to my bible to look for the next piece of scripture.
As I looked for it I came across a small note in my bible about Mark 2:27, which refers to the Sabbath or rest, that read “to help, to rest, not control”. I knew I needed to stop. I put my bible down and thanked God for what he was trying to show me in that moment. He wanted me to help her, to show her how to find Him and show her how to rest in Him. I was trying to desperately to control the moment and to focus on God’s word instead of living it to the very person I want to know Him most. After a few moments of quiet gratitude to God for His patience with me I read the last verse in the study and realized I needed to repent and ask for forgiveness immediatly.
“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them” (Mark 10:13-16 ESV).
I quickly looked up the word indignant which is described as feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment. Dear Lord thank you for showing me where I am wrong. That I am treating my daughter unfairly. I am sitting at your feet asking for you to pay attention to me, hear me, love me, guide me and in that same moment I can’t even do that for my daughter. And you want to know what makes it worse I prayed for this child. Yes just like Hannah prayed for Samuel I prayed for this sweet little girl. I told God that if it was in His will to bless us with another child that she would be raised knowing Him, hearing His promises and knowing that God loved her. Yet here I was feeling irritated at her squeaking pen and inquisitive observations instead of basking in her presence and willingness to follow me as I followed after Christ.
Does feeling disciplined hurt? Yes ma’am. Does it need to happen despite my pride? Absolutely! I want our daughter to love the Lord. I want her to seek Him with all her heart, mind, body and soul! I want her to be surrounded with Godly friends and eventually marry a man that loves the Lord even more than her. I want her life to be sold out for Jesus. This is after all what I have prayed for, even before we became pregnant with her. But can I just hope for these things to happen, pray about it and BANG it’s done. Sadly it does not work that way.
I do not have control over whether my children chose a life with Christ and that thought takes my breath away. Like some parents pray for their children to be all-star athletes or scholars that go on to ivy league schools I pray for mine to find Jesus and find Him early in life. Although I can not make the choice for them I can make the choice for myself and run hard after Christ. I can show my children how to praise His name in the hard times. I can show my children how to read His word, pray His word and obediantly live His word.
It’s in the small quiet moments that God reminds me that our daughter is watching me. She is paying attention to every last detail of how I live like Christ. So if I ask her to follow me while I follow Christ shouldn’t that look like … well Christ.
Challenge: You don’t have to be a parent to take up this challenge. Write down three ways TODAY that you can stop and make time for someone else. Call that friend or family member you have been meaning to call and catch up with. Or slow down and take a few minutes to chat with your child about their day or maybe you don’t have children or they are grown but you have a neighbor that lives alone and would love a visit. Maybe you could help your spouse complete a chore that they normally do alone. God wants us to connect with each other. He wants us to love on another. Go be the hands and the feet of Christ today!
Thanks for taking the time for me today. Thank you for reading.
***This was not intended to be the next post but I felt that need to share. I will post the next blog post this week about a Greek word I have recently learned that has brought me some incrediable joy.***