Becoming a mom hasn’t been what I expected. Sure, I knew there would be sleepless nights, blowouts and crying. There would be oodles of snuggles, kisses and laughter (non of which I will ever get enough of), but I’m overwhelmed at what parenting has taught me about God, my Father.
Here is my top five of an ever-growing list of what parenting has taught me about God:
1. God wants to bless me.
What would my kids be like if they knew I wanted to pull out all the stops for them ALL THE TIME? Like most parents, I delight in my children’s satisfaction. And so does my God. He planted Adam and Eve in the epicenter of perfection. Everything they would ever need or want within reach. But it wasn’t enough. Later, Israel was blessed with a land flowing with milk, honey and protection from enemies. But it wasn’t enough and they made gods to replace their Creator.
Knowing God promises to bless me is a compelling reason to follow His ways when I want to cave to my desires. Those blessings aren’t always the abundance of money or tangible things, but abundant peace and joy. Are God’s promises enough to keep you and me from the lure of gods and a life of wandering like an Israelite?
2. He wants to instruct me.
Teaching my kids a new skill, watching it grow and develop is exciting, but let’s face it, the process is painful. The groan of the exasperated, “I know”, the discouraged wails, “I can’t do it” or the elbow nudging me away from the paper when teaching a young one to for letters because “I can do it myself” will make the strongest heart faint.
Typically, arrogance comes at the brink of understanding. Could you imagine going to Disneyland’s front gates triumphantly proclaiming, “I’ve been here” and immediately turning ‘round to waltz out. Been there, but haven’t actually done it. We shush God because we know better or whine and complain because we just can’t but He never gives up. He waits patiently for the moment our hearts are ready and then begins the lesson, as many times as it takes. Are you ready for the lesson?
3. He wants to protect me.
We wander, it’s just part of being human. Last year my son wandered away into the hustle and bustle of Disneyland. I write this calmly because we watched his every step from a safe distance. We watched how coolly he acted when he first turned to realize we weren’t by his side. The next time he turned around we watched panic sweep across his young face when his eyes noticed he was among strangers. We were inches behind him when he approached employees at a kiosk to explain his plight. And when he turned to us, our arms held him tightly, reassuring him in every way. Isn’t God like that? When we need Him most, He’s less than inches away. Do you need to turn a 180 now and enter His safety?
4. God wants to enjoy a relationship with me. My daughter makes the best imaginary cookies with sprinkles and tea. Regardless of the wood-like texture or metallic taste of the tea, her pretend world is my favorite place to visit. Really, I don’t care much what I’m doing with my kids, I just enjoy being with them. Listening to them recount an experience (even if I was part of it), I enjoy hearing them tell me all about it. When they choose to share their world with me my heart is full.
People often wonder “What can I possibly give God?”. It’s as simple as Y.O.U. Reading the Genesis account, it’s obvious God anticipated meeting with Adam and Eve regularly. Later, He actually communed with a man named Enoch. God welcomes a relationship of giving and sharing. You think you have nothing to give, but the only thing you have to give is the best thing- y.o.u. Though He knows our hearts already, God finds pleasure in our willingness to share it with Him. Have you talked with God lately? He’d love to hear from you!
5. God wants to provide for my every need and some.
Taking kids to the emergency room is daunting. I anticipate a series of long waits but so far every single experience has been a huge blessing. One night I had to take our son, then three, to urgent care. We prayed for the simple practical needs as we drove to the medical center, wisdom for the doctor, patience for our destined series of waiting and our needs were met beyond measure with a single short wait, a doctor able to readily diagnose a sever double ear infection, a pharmacy that quickly filled the prescription…it was amazing.
As my tough boy and I drove home he asked if we could stop for hot chocolate. Hot chocolate isn’t expensive, but we were getting our feet back on the ground and our money was so tight this was a splurge. He had been such a trooper I decided this was one of those moments to splurge.
We pulled up to a Starbucks that was in the process of closing, missing the locked doors by milliseconds. The barista could have been smug for a delay to her after work plans, but they were cheerful. As she interacted with my lethargic son, she decided the sweet sick boy who endured the poking and prodding of a doctor needed a hot chocolate on the house. She had no idea of the blessing she had given us in every way.
Isn’t that how our loving God is? When we choose to look for His provision, we see His hand on everything around us. And if we look closer, beyond the practical, we can see He’s adding so much more. Like sprinkles on a cupcake or toppings to ice cream, God provides in above and beyond ways. Are you looking for it or dismissing those special blessings as chance?
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What have YOU learned about God through parenting and life?