Through the Eyes of a Child!

At this phase in my life, at home with toddlers, it has given me a unique perspective about my relationship with the Lord, through their eyes. Jesus often talked about children when he was preaching and even said in Luke 18:17, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” I find it so interesting to watch my children and realize how little they know about life and yet how much they teach me on a daily basis about my relationship with the Lord. 

The first and most amazing thing the Lord has shown me is that God loves me even more than I love my kids and he loves them even more than I do. They can have the worst day, be totally disobedient, break every rule and so much more, but at the end of that day I love them even more than the day before. That must be the best example of the Lord’s forgiveness and mercy toward his children, when we sin or are just plain naughty, the Lord will forgive us and as Psalm 103:12 says, he will remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. I have always known the Lord’s love for us, that He sent His son to die for us- Jesus suffered and died for ME, but the depth of His love did not mean the same thing until I became a mother. I would gladly die for my kids at any given time, I would take any sickness from them if they would not have to suffer, I would push the school bus cart at the grocery store for their moment of happiness (okay that is not that big of a deal, but non-moms cannot understand the humility that it takes to push that nasty thing around!!), you name it, I would do it for the love of my children. God loves me more than I love my kids, what an amazing gift to feel that loved by my Father in Heaven and I cannot even grasp the extent of His love for us! Thank you Jesus! 

The next thing I learned is how silly we humans are when we don’t go straight to the Father when we face difficult circumstances and just lean on him and take his hand. When my 18 month old is walking on uneven surfaces or trying to climb something she is not capable of climbing, instead of just taking my hand and letting me help her, she tries to do it herself and in the end usually falls and is hurt. Another example I have learned through is when my 3 year old tries to do something herself, like tie her shoes, she struggles and struggles and does it incorrectly and sometime even ruins the thing she is working on. When she finally asks for my help I am able to teach her the correct way to do it and it would save her a lot of grief and trouble if she would just ask for my help from the beginning. It reminded me of how we are with God, we want to try it our way as long as possible before we are finally broken and seeking God’s help with the mess we got ourselves into. If we would seek the Lord, daily, we would save ourselves so much trouble! 

A similar lesson I have learned is why the Lord gives us strict instructions in His word. It is not to restrict us and make us miserable on earth, it is to protect us. When I tell my daughter Ellie to not run in her flip flops for example, it is not because I do not want her to have fun and run around with her friends, it is because I know what she will fall and hurt herself. And in that same example I learn that even though she doesnt listen to me and continues to run, and ultimately falls, I am always there to pick her up and clean her off and comfort her in her pain. Just as the Lord is always there to pick us up, forgive us, and comfort us when we disobey. Imagine if we would have just obeyed His instructions in the first place how much heartache and regret we would have avoided! 

I have seen a picture of how selfish I am through my kids. In reality, they do not own anything, everything they have is a gift from someone. When we have friends over to play or even when my kids play with each other, I get so frustrated when they dont share or even worse when they throw a fit over someone else playing with “their” toys. It makes me so upset, I wish I could give them the insight that nothing they have really belongs to them and if something happens to their favorite things, I can replace them and probably bless them more abundantly because they were generous to share. It reminds me that nothing that we have on this earth is ours. Everything we have is a gift from the Lord. 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 says, “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”  When we are generous we are giving thanks to God for all he has given us. Imagine how proud you would feel if you had a huge playdate at your house and your little one shared all of their best toys with everyone without complaint. I would love the Lord to feel the same sense of pride when looking at my life and how I share with others from the riches he has given me. 

God has shown me why He lets me fail sometimes or why I dont always get what I want- when I want it. When Izzy is putting together a new puzzle, I see her struggling to figure out where everything goes and even when she asks for my help, I often let her try to figure it out on her own and learn through the process. She might get frustrated but I want her to learn through the struggle. In the end the victory is sweet when she gets the puzzle done and has learned something new through the process. There are so many times I know the Lord can solve a problem for me immediately and I ask and ask with no immediate answer, however he lets me go through a process and learn for myself before I see his guidance in the situation. The end result is always sweeter when I learn something new about myself and/or the Lord. 

Other little things that teach me how my Heavenly Father might feel with me as his child from my kids actions: 1)There is nothing sweeter than hearing “thank you” or “I love you” from my kids without prompting 2) It is amazing to see your kids be truly loving and kind to your other children 3) It hurts and makes me angry when I see one child being mean to another child or hurting another child on purpose 4) It brings be such joy to give my kids gifts when they truly appreciate them and take care of them 5) it is upsetting when I give them a gift and they are ungrateful or waste it 6) no matter what my kids do or what happens with them, I will NEVER stop loving them and I will ALWAYS forgive them, especially with a heart of repentance. 

There are so many lessons I learn from my kids on a daily basis. CS Lewis once said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less”. There is nothing on this earth that humbles us like parenting a child. You cant help but think of yourself less. I am so blessed to be a parent, if I can raise my children to know God, if I can learn more about my relationship with Him and if I am humbled in the sight of the Lord that is better than any dream job I could work at or any job promotion I could receive. So Praise God for toddlers and their sinful nature, for it might help us reflect on our own actions and grow closer to our Heavenly Father! 

Who Do You Serve?

OK- something new, just going a touch deeper than cleaning supplies today :)- hope it is a blessing to you- (you will see where my mind is at the end!)                                                                                                           

I have been thinking a lot about service lately, Joshua 24 says “then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. It seems that the Lord continues to work on me in two areas; service and humility (there are SO many others, but these are consistent)! The more he works on those virtues in me, the more I realize you cannot have one without the other. Until I became a wife and mother, I did not truly understand what it means to practice these virtues on a minute-by-minute basis. The minute I said “I do” all of the sudden, a Nuclear Bomb of humility and service exploded in my life and it is as if I have no choice but to be humble and serve my family. As I think about that verse, I get to wake up every day and choose THIS day whom I will serve. I have chosen to serve Jesus Christ and I have found so much freedom in serving my God alone. When I make this choice, I don’t have to worry about receiving earthly recognition for my service, the one whom I serve notices every detail of my service (folding towels, cooking, cleaning up SICK kid stuff, God knows it ALL!!).  I can freely serve others without the looming bitterness of needing my deeds to be noticed or appreciated.  Ephesians 6:7 says, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men”, there is so much freedom in serving the One who will never take advantage of me, never ask too much of me and knows the condition of my heart and the intentions behind my service.  Serving God is also freedom from myself, I don’t have to take myself so seriously or worry about making myself “appear to be” someone who is worthy to be served. I have done a lot of “self serving” in the past and the only thing that leads to is disappointment and regret- I am so blessed to have received freedom from myself! The last part of that scripture in Joshua is “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, we are called to raise our children to a life of service to the Lord. I want to teach my children to serve from the heart, to notice the needs of others and serve them as an “expression of thanks to God”. I love 2 Corinthians 9:12-13, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.” I am excited to find little ways each day to teach my girls what service is and whom to serve! We are so abundantly blessed by God, I want to make sure I am serving with a grateful and joyful heart in all that I do, and choosing THIS day to serve the Lord. 

JM SIDE NOTE: I can say that I definitely do not make the right choice of whom to serve every day, I often forget who I am serving and the flesh wins, but I also know-when I choose correctly, the day is immeasurably better- Freedom! 

Behind the Scenes: As I sit here on my computer, I am preparing for the “worst snow storm of the year” apparently a blizzard is coming and we will be in the house for a while- and I am here with 5 kids- (5 years and under) + 1 large dog (2 nephews, 1 niece and 1 dog nephew are staying with me) and my husband has the flu- so as I get ready to settle in on my little couch to sleep (way to germ-a-phob for the bedroom tonight!)- I am thinking that I will have plenty of opportunities to serve wholeheartedly and find joy in serving others this week, dont you think?! I Love when I have the opportunity to practice what I preach! 

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