This morning, I found myself sitting back and observing my children. I don’t often do that during the morning, as I’m usually running to change the laundry, load the dishes, or clean a mess that I haven’t been able to clean yet. Not today. I sat as they worked and played and took note of their interactions and reactions. I noticed so much by just being silent and aware.
For example, I noticed my oldest son is always creating something. As he worked out his math problems, he was building a tower out of pencil-topper erasers. While he thought through what kind of story he would write in phonics, he had created a game involving two marbles he had in his pocket and his pencil. And after I had him write out his spelling words, I realized he left behind an extra page of doodles which involved his brothers, the planet Jupiter, and a bad guy.
I noticed my second son being so aware of everyone’s needs and feelings. He is the first one to pick up a dropped toy, get crayons down from the shelf, fetch something for me, or give someone with hurt feelings a hug and a little dance to make them smile. I realized how much joy he brings each one of us every day.
I noticed my youngest son’s independence. He never asks for permission or for help. This, by the way, is a blessing and a curse! He has these great two-year-old ideas like taking all of our canned goods out of the cabinet and lining them up through the kitchen and hallway, thereby creating a walking path. He falls, cries, and needs a kiss. Then he gets back up and figures out how to fix his original, flawed plan.
I noticed my little girl. I noticed that she is more content than her brothers ever were. I also noticed she is extremely more sensitive and cautious than they ever were. By her age, my sons were furniture walking. I’m convinced she’ll never even crawl because she calculates the risk of face planting.
I have no idea why today I became so interested in just observing these little ones I thought I knew so well. But I’m glad I did. I’m starting to see some gifts and talents that these guys were born with. I’m watching them as they discover what brings them joy. I’m noticing strengths and weaknesses. And I’m taking note.
It’s so easy to wish this season of life away sometimes. I’m often exhausted, overwhelmed, and frustrated. But it’s in these years when we really get to see the formation of their young lives. We get to catch on to the hints of their giftings and pray all the more intentionally about their directions in life. The treasures of this season come in exchange for giving up a little mommy control that I so often insist on having. Instead of micro-managing school work and play, I am learning through the doodling, the interruptions, and the messes.
I am reminded over and over again that these children were given to me, but they are His children. They were created and designed for a specific purpose, and they’ve been equipped with everything they need to accomplish that purpose. These growing years allow them to learn about the hope of their calling, the world around them, and who they are. Today I realized that we all grow best when we feel loved, secure, and free to be who we were born to be. And after a morning of observing, I’m hungry to know more about who these little ones will become.
I’m struck at how my silence led to observance, and how my observance led to revelation, and how my revelation led to hunger. I’m reminded of one of my absolute favorite passages in the book of Psalms.
Psalm 25:4-5: Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day.
I’m reminded that in order for me to receive what God wants to show me, teach me, and guide me, I need to be silent sometimes. I need to be observant. Sometimes that’s hard, sometimes that’s painful. But it’s necessary. Not only will it lead to revelation and growth, it will keep me hungering for more. Just as I desire to pray for the specific things that are in store for my children, I want to call out the specific things that lie ahead for me.
I pray that I am shown His ways and are taught His paths. I can pick my own, but it will never be as good as what He has planned. I pray that I can forego the noises, distractions, and even well-meaning activity, and set aside regular time to be silent and reflect. And I pray that I don’t miss the little hints and whispers that He will faithfully give me about who I am to Him.