We all spend our lives searching, searching, searching.
We fall in love with noble quests in stories and great adventures in movies and epic accounts in history.
All just magnificent synonyms for searching.
I spent almost thirty years searching, mostly in all the wrong places.
Then for about ten years, assuming the effort was over with the completion of the conquest, laziness ensued.
But it really just begins.
God searches my heart and uncovers all the ugliness I try to hide.
My husband seeks to know me, all of me, and in his kindness and faithfulness, seeks to know my darkest secrets that I would like to hide.
We spend most of our lives searching and hiding. It’s a wicked game of hide and seek where the world tells us the opposite of what God desires. We search for significance and long for acceptance, and some of us stray wildly from the path God has laid out for us.
We as adults still try to fill the God-sized holes in our hearts with worldly things: power, stuff, recognition.
I want my children to shoot like straight arrows to where God wants them to be. While I know I shouldn’t rescue them from every mistake, I do pray they make wiser decisions than I did.
What do you teach your children to search for?
How can we expect differently, more, better for our children?
While we spent the Advent season searching for Baby Jesus and His significance, the reality was more listening to jealousy spewing out of little mouths and stifling the gimmes despite all the Bible stories and devotionals and prayers we recited and all the Christian crafts and treats we made for neighbors. And my short temper and too-oft raised voice of exasperation didn’t help.
We are children of God, but what does that really mean? It’s way more than songs and stick figures on a dry erase board in a Sunday school classroom.
We are broken people, many of us without good, healthy role models of parenting.
I need parenting resolutions.
God can pick up the pieces and help us teach our children His ways.
God is searching for our hearts. He longs to mend them.
Parenting Resolution #1: Love.
The question crossed my mind: “Do I love my children enough? What am I modeling to them that they act this way?”
And if we don’t really show love to our children, how are we modeling to them what to expect from God?
We must show love to our kids in ways they understand.
Sure, we throw out the I love you’s before bedtime, too often flippant and haphazard. We assume they just know.
Knowledge isn’t enough. Our children must believe that we truly love them and think they’re wonderful.
I’ve struggled for years with the father image of God. How could He love me?
Parenting Resolution #2: Value.
We must teach our children that they are important simply because of who they are. It doesn’t matter what they do. They are important, lovable, wonderful, perfect in their flaws.
We must teach our children their value. And we must learn to value ourselves.
I have to tell myself that abilities aren’t the most important things:
- If she can’t spell but has gorgeous penmanship, she’s still important and lovable. (She’s still teachable and spelling isn’t everything.)
- If she craves lots of attention, give it to her or she will seek it elsewhere.
- If he wants just one more story or snuggle, take the time to do that because he won’t be little much longer.
- If she’s messy and disorganized, help her work out a system that works for her and the others who must live in the same space. Differences make us special.
In the longing for significance, we must teach our kids what is healthy and what is not healthy.
We must teach that God values us without our having to do anything to earn it.
Parenting Resolution #3: Time.
My kids instituted a rule in our house: no devices at the table during mealtime. They want attention and listening and quality time during meals. They understand the importance of expressions and making eye contact while conversing rather than the distraction of staring at a screen.
They excitedly rush to the sofas for story time before bed each and every night. When I didn’t think they cared or enjoyed it at all. Even the littlest one who often falls asleep halfway through the first story expressed abject disappointment when I mentioned skipping it one evening.
They each plaintively ask for private personal prayer time and tucking in and songs every night. And no matter how tired I am, I know this is a memory-maker, these bedtime rituals. They crave just one more mama moment all to themselves, a last kiss before Never Land.
We must not let distractions keep us from having healthy, good relationships with our children. I remind myself to stop what I’m doing immediately to respond to the never-ending “Watch me, Mama!” and “Come see this, Mama!” We must teach our kids that they are worth our time, more than anything else.