I don’t remember how, but I have a hunch chocolate chips were involved.
Our children were trained by the age of 3; when they heard my “Pssst…”, to look up into the eyes of momma. Once our eyes met, it only took a movement of my head, facial expression or a motion of the hand to command them for their next move. And to the pleasure of this parent, they obeyed.
Don’t get me wrong. Our kids were and are normal kids! Trust me, I have other stories that don’t sound so serene! But this was our norm, especially in public.
As a young believer and parent of four children, God impressed upon me that one day we would be fully transferring our parental authority in their lives, into the hands of God. I had a strong desire not to be a yelling parent. This helped my motivation to find gentle ways to lead, teach and correct our children. I didn’t want them to develop the pattern of only obeying when the discipline was harsh or fearful.
“Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.” Psalm 32:9
As our four children grew older and the crowds grew bigger, the rule was, “You are free to roam, play and enjoy yourselves, but always make sure when you look up that you are able to see me. If you can’t see me, you have gone too far.”
And as the teen years approached, “Always let me know where you are. And feel free to use me as an excuse if you need to leave. Just call, I can be right there. ”
As adulthood and total independence has spawned, I hope they know, “My strong desire is for you to enjoy life! And I am here, whenever you need me.”
How does this translate into our relationship with our Heavenly Father?
When you hear His gentle voice, do you look up with anticipation of His desire? Are you roaming freely, enjoying life as He hopes? Can you hear His “Psst…” among the crowd? Is He cheerleading you on or warning you of harm?
Do you let your Heavenly Father know, “where you are”? Are you letting Him know how difficult life has become? Or sharing your joy with Him? I’m convinced He loves to see your beautiful eyes and hear your voice. Any parent is gifted when their children, of any age, let them know, “where they are”.
Do you continue to cultivate your relationship with Him so that you are confident that He is present? When trouble hits, do you know who to call and that He always wants what is best for you? Are you close enough to give Him your attention? Or ask for His?
As the crowds grew larger for our children and they tested their independence, at times they didn’t hear my “Pssst…” or chose to ignore it. There were times I had to move toward them and gently touch them to get their attention. And other times I had to speak with stronger action, as my words weren’t obeyed. And other times I had to let them go, until they came back.
To this day, I can be shopping with our grown children, some who are now parents themselves. Each one, if they hear my “Pssst….” their heads pop up and look for me…..until they see my eyes. And it brings the same endearment to my heart after more than 30 years.
There are no shortcuts to good parenting and there are no shortcuts to cultivating a close relationship with our Heavenly Father. Both take determination, discipline and sincere attention. Sincere, healthy relationships continue to take time and much effort, motivated out of love and devotion.
I have found the only way to maintain such a close, trusting relationship with my Heavenly Father is to read His Word, talk to Him and obey what I know for today. I want to be close enough to see His eyes. I long to bring the same endearment to His heart as my children continue to bring to mine.
Can you see His eyes? Perhaps you need to come a little closer.