I’m sitting in the dark.
I never really liked early morning or the dark until I had kids. And while I love them dearly and cherish (most) every moment with them, I can treasure our time so much more if I can enjoy a little time without them here and there. So I was almost giddy when I woke up at 5:05 to the sound of…nothing! I was even more thrilled when I realized that I had left Spud in the laundry room last night so there would be no jumping and running and crazy toenail tap-dancing sounds on the hardwood floor the second I stepped out of bed. Like he thinks he has to remind me that he’s hungry.
Silence. Darkness. Completely void of stimulation. Beautiful.
I only stepped on one toy on the way to the living room, but the cramping in my foot is worth every second. I spot what appears to be a body the size of a 3 year old curled up on the couch, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. He often ends up here, sometimes because he peed in his bed, sometimes for no reason at all.
I laid my phone down beside me. I’m not even sure why I brought it with me to be honest; I suppose out of habit. I checked my email, even though the little voice in my head whispered Why?. I resisted the urge to click on the email from jane.com with today’s deals, which has become too routine. I don’t need more clothes, especially when my belly’s the size of a volleyball and who knows what size it will be a year from now.
The little voice returns: Pray for your family.
So I spent a few minutes praying for each of my boys, and for the child I don’t know aside from the tiny kicks/punches that remind me there is still life in him or her. I think about the potential that each one possesses. Each child is already showing specific gifts and interests. How exciting it is as a parent to watch these things unravel. Mason seems to be gifted with physical strength that is slightly beyond his age. He creates miniature obstacle courses out of couch cushions and furniture and proceeds to jump/roll/flip over/under/through everything. He looks like a tiny American Ninja Warrior (although he calls them “engine” warriors). Clint is a natural at building things. He can create tiny masterpieces out of building magnets, and he makes the pieces fit together just perfectly. He amazes me every time.
I reflect on their gifts and pray that God will build on them. More than anything, I pray that we as parents can do our best to encourage and give them space to develop. I don’t want to force growth where growth doesn’t need to happen. I pray that they will use their gifts to “produce fruit”. Fruit gives life and sweetness. Fruit only comes from the branches that stay connected to the vine (God). See John 15.
Personally, I often feel like I have wasted time trying to accomplish fruitless things while ignoring the gifts that he has given me. I have become buried under all of the things that I have become convinced are important in this life, to the point of even wondering what my gifts really are. I pray that my kids can avoid this pit as much as possible and grow the things that will make a difference. I guess this means I need to work on my example.
More than anything, I pray that they will figure out how to use their gifts to serve others. If they find joy in serving, then they will be able to find joy no matter what hardships come their way. Paul tells us that “each of you should use whatever give you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10). Jesus tells us that “the greatest among you will be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11).
It is such a relief to know that God can use our kids no matter how much we fail at this parenting thing. They are not limited by our knowledge or our faith (or lack thereof). They are certainly influenced by us, but their Creator is much bigger than us and certainly more powerful.
The dark quiet helps me ignore all the noise (most of which has been self-created) and focus on what God has given us.
It is light now. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that I actually have on matching socks. And I now have 4 little eyes looking at me. I pray that today I can be the example that they need and that they can grow in the gifts that God has given them and learn how to use them to serve others.
Linking up today at Mondays @ Soul Survival: