Tuesday, January 28, 2014

receive the gift of our children

I recently felt the Lord whisper to my heart: "Receive the gift of your children."

What exactly does this mean? I'm still unpacking that. But what I know for sure is that I have been given two beautiful sons (one still growing in my belly), both formed in the image of God.
I also know that as a mom I am sometimes discouraged, distracted, or longing for a different season.

In both the blessings and the hard realities of life, can I receive the gift that God has given me through Nicholas and his little brother?
What I think the Lord may be asking of me through this is to...

Receive who they actually are, not who I want or even hope for them to be. 
Receive who God created them to be - their personalities, their place in our family, even their bents toward sin. Unwrap and enjoy the gift of who they really are, and let the parts that might be hard draw me closer to Christ's open arms and full, generous wisdom.

Receive them in this season.
As a joyful and yet sometimes difficult toddler, as a sweet, tiny, and demanding newborn - and with me as their tired mom, who's most exciting activity she can offer her boys might be turning on Amazon Instant Video and breaking open a pack of fruit leather. What gifts might I miss if my heart gets wrapped up in the hardships of tiny-ness?

Receive them amidst my own personal hardships, which honestly aren't usually caused by the difficulties of parenting, but just the hard things of life (or my own sin). Though there are legitimately hard things that happen to us as mamas/women/people, I want to still very clearly see the blessing that is my kids. I want to allow the Lord to shake my head, let my eyes readjust, and then see the joy, the delight, the wonder that is in my boys.

Receive them amidst the things that I truly need to accomplish. 
I absolutely value independent play and I'm a big ol' fan of PBS kids when the kitchen desperately needs a scrubbing, but can I let Nicholas be a toddler as I do those things? Can I let him run in between my legs as I pick up the house, or even take a moment to glance up from my paperwork to catch the twinkle in his eyes as he watches his favorite show? This isn't a guilt trip for me or any other mom, but rather a reminder to see the gift in those moments, too.

Receive them as a means to see and experience God. And remember that they don't hinder my pursuit of Him, but enhance it. Emily Anderson wrote a really great piece on being a "jungle gym" during her quiet times. I can so relate! When do I get my "alone time" with God? Not very often. But even outside of times in the Word, I learn so much about God's character through my children. And I even learn through the hard things, like what Jesus is really talking about when He said He didn't come to be served but to serve. My children are treasures who teach me about Christ.

I think I'm at the very cusp of knowing what is means to receive the gift that is my children. But my heart really wants to me teachable in this. I want to be changed as I explore this, and I want to mother differently and know Jesus differently.

What speaks to your heart when you hear that phrase, "receive the gift that is your children." (Or child.) Don't let guilt-filled accusations start piling up, but what might that look like for YOU to keep letting the Lord shape your heart and mind? I'd love to know what comes to mind.

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