This is how Sarah and I started out our day.
Sarah (age 4 1/2) came downstairs, all snuggly and still sleepy. How could I resist? I am trying to be more sensitive in the moments when the children reach out to me (for a book or a hug or a discussion) and be purposeful in giving them my attention and time. It’s difficult. I am usually busy – either with my own chores and work or my relaxation (phone calls, computer time, etc.). It takes effort and a determined, cheerful spirit to stop what I am doing and reach back to the children. I think about the verse in Malachi 4:
He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers;
My desire is that my heart would be turned toward my children and that they would grow up knowing that my love for them is deep. I especially struggle making time for the children when I am in the midst of working FOR the family (cleaning, preparing meals, washing laundry, and on and on). There is a part of me that cries, “Don’t bother me now, I’m busy serving you.” And yet, which would they prefer? A mother who sweeps the floor, folds their laundry, picks up toys, or a mother who sits down and reads a book, who tickles them as they run about?
I love the image implied in the phrase, ‘turning your heart to your child.’ There is a deliberate choice and action involved and a response returned. If I have my child’s heart I can teach them about the Lord; when I share with them, they will listen. If I have my child’s heart I can correct and discipline them and they will respond, knowing I love them and want the best for them. If I have my child’s heart I can walk along side them and help them to discern God’s plan for their life. If I have my child’s heart I can become their friend.
So, that means I need to put aside the keyboard or put down my book and listen to the children. I need to keep them close to me when I’m working in the kitchen or around the house and include them in my activities. I need to remember these years when the children are home with us are precious and fleeting. I need to remember the words in Deuteronomy 6 and take every opportunity to teach them about the Lord.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Sarah has been been waiting for today to arrive ever since last weekend when Rachel had her big sleepover and Sarah was promised one for this weekend. Almost every day she has asked me if this was the day Elise would come over. Her eagerness was so sweet and full of hope it was hard not to be excited with her. Today we had our homeschooling co-op. Sarah loves her little kindergarten class. She has some wonderful teachers and even gets to join David for one period in a “big kids class.”
After co-op it was FINALLY time for Elise to come over. We had a lovely dinner with Elise and family (thanks for providing everything, Jennifer!!) and then went to church for a showing of Facing the Giants. The kids brought blankets and sleeping bags and set up spots on the floor in the front of the gym. Joshua was kind and carried in some comfy folding chairs for the moms. The movie was excellent and we all had a good time. The church made popcorn and served it in the entryway along with water bottles and juice. Sarah and Elise stuck together for the movie time, posing for pictures when necessary. Lol!
Now the children are all settled into their rooms and ready for bed. We’ll see if the girls get any sleep. Surely 4 year olds won’t stay up until midnight like the big girls did last weekend.