I wonder how many times you’ve heard or said these words:
‘Appreciate your time with your children now. It goes so quickly.’
How those words can encourage and bless on the good days where time flies!
How those words can inflict guilt and breed resentment on the bad when time seems to stand still!
How often are those words heard or spoken now to struggling parents living without the usual socialising, support and of course school?
For all the moments in the newborn days those words just raised my anxiety and fear and increased my guilt that there was far more arduous survival than appreciation about my parenting, I can see the truth and the value in those words. For underlying them is the good assumption that we raise our children for independence, that as they grow, they do so increasingly away from us, from attachment to autonomy.
To transition ourselves as parents from enacters to equippers, from acting on their behalf to advocating for them in their own endeavours. To see our children, flourish, grow, take responsibility, create and achieve without our intervention. Our role as parents is one of seeing our children wonderfully, courageously become increasingly less dependent on us. A calling that under ‘normal circumstances’ comes with cost to our desire to cling on, to keep close, to maintain control and protection……. a calling that in the midst of relentless lockdown life and homeschooling feels in danger of regressing.
Muuuuuuummmmmyyyyy. Where is my colouring book, shoes, where’s Chestnut (the guinea pig), where’s my pencil case, my hairbrush, Snowy (the other guinea pig)?
Mummy, I need a carry
Daddy, how do I do this?
Daddy, tell me about Ancient Rome.
What is the most dangerous animal in the world?
How do you spell Nebuchadnezzar?
Ohhhhhhh I can’t do this.
Mummy, I need you.
Daddy, can you help me?
And yet, in the relentless need, there is a beautiful truth and child-like spirit to learn from. For while the incessant noise of our children’s appeals and demands, may resound like whinging and exhausting expectation in mine and my husband’s ears, there is a plead to a mother, to a father that rings out as worship, wonder and faith before their Heavenly Father.
Unashamed, bold, expectant, child like dependence.
Unashamedly coming to a Father with expectation of receiving.
Unashamedly acknowledging a need.
Bold confidence in the Father’s power to provide.
Utter awareness of one’s dependence on the Father.
No attempt to hide their need and helplessness.
Crying, screaming out in need and helplessness.
Delighting in the infinite knowledge of the Father.
Seeking comfort with expectation.
Pleading of the Father’s mercy with arms outstretched, confident in love within the Father’s heart always inclined to forgive, to welcome, to restore.
We long for our children to grow in confident independence from us, but only so they might grow into increasingly child-like dependence on their Heavenly Father.
As they spend less time in our arms, to rest in His.
As they walk more often without holding on to our hands, to cling and grasp their Heavenly Father’s ever more tightly with each grace dependent and Spirit led step.
As they grow less reliant on their parents’ riches and support, to become increasingly poor in spirit, living in child-like poverty, empty and needy before their Heavenly Father and his abundant grace and mercy.
As they take fewer looks to check Mum and Dad are nearby, to grow in child-like need of assurance, confidence, boldness and joy in the presence of their Heavenly Father.
This is a relentless season for parents. Through our children’s incessant, crying needs may we come in likewise child-like confidence to our Heavenly Father, who receives the cries of his children with joy, love, and a perfect, eternal delight to soothe and satisfy.