I have been thinking for several weeks now about some words that my pastor gifted to me one Sunday. Words that have carried weight and meaning in my heart. Words that I've rolled around in my mind often since that message.
Delivered on Mother's Day, it was in the context of mothering that these words were discussed, and at a time I needed to hear them. I have felt for awhile now that God has been speaking to me about my time with my children. It is so brief . . . just like these words dropped into my heart.
Ponder. I am good at this. I am a thinker by nature, and I have tried to be intentional about raising my children thoughtfully. I am often considering the choices we make as a family, from activities, schooling, friends, and so on, to evaluate the benefit or necessity of our actions and their impact. But perhaps, I've been pondering too much lately and not acting on what I know.
Protect. I believe in protecting my children, which is why I am struggling with the next phase in our lives . . . the one that would begin with The Thinker making a first step on a yellow bus. I believe that children are children, and not adults. I believe that they are capable of making good decisions but are given parents to guide them in their experience and wisdom. I have worked to protect their minds and hearts in Christ Jesus.
Provide. This is where my heart feels the sting of conviction. My children are well-provided for. God has blessed my husband with a good job that allows my kids to have all they need and then some. They can participate in activities and sports and field trips. But my pastor was speaking of a different provision, and this is what I've been considering all these weeks. For the provision he mentioned has eternal significance in my life and theirs.
It is the providing of self. The costly, sacrificial giving of time and attention.
I have home schooled my children for several years, and I have enjoyed that time learning and growing with my kids. It has been a useful tool in encouraging me to spend time growing their minds and souls . . . and I am saddened to recognize that sometimes I need that accountability and motivation of a schedule and planner to be with my children. I am saddened to admit that reading Curious George one more time or playing another game of Uno or listening to another replay of the sport of the season does not naturally thrill me each day. I recognize that I can easily find myself listening or playing or reading with half a heart . . . or putting them off completely for that day.
Yet God has spoken to me about this need to give more of myself in many ways. It began with that message from my pastor and has continued through His Word, through other's online that I read and through quiet but persistent conviction. And I'm glad. Glad that God cares enough to first whisper quietly, then kneel down and look into my eyes, then grab me by the shoulders and say, "Provide. I gave of Myself. Go and do likewise."
So that's what I'll be doing today and more often. Providing for those who deserve more than just a little piece of this convicted heart.