I wrote this post in early spring (as evidenced by the photo-- we had just rototilled our garden).  It has sat in my drafts folder for these many months, unedited.  But it has come to mind often, and has turned up in conversations (with Mark, mostly) so often that I pulled it up today and edited it for posting.


He sits on the edge of my bed, this brown-haired, brown-eyed boy of mine.  His cowlick familiarly springs up at his hairline.  I used to call him my sweetest budders.  He was this chubby-cheeked little affectionate, smiling, thoughtful boy.  Now he's this lean young man, with a smattering of pimples on each side of his mouth and on his forehead.  He is soft-spoken, thoughtful and sensitive.  His eyes are alight, he's holding a stack of LEGO magazines, and he wants to show me some things. 


At the beginning of last week I read through Philippians 2 and prayed through this verse in particular:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (v 3-4)
I prayed that God would help me to delight in my kids, to choose them over myself, to stop and tune IN; to listen; to engage.

I am finding these years with older kids somewhat challenging.  They no longer need me to kneel down and tie their shoes, to choose their clothes for the day, or to hold them when they're sad.

Those littler years were easier for me in the sense that their needs were obvious.  [I actually feel quite qualified to tie shoes and choose clothes.  ;)]  And the way God created me is that I thrive on seeing a tangible need and moving to meet it. 

As they've grown, I am discovering that their needs aren't always so obvious (nor tangible), and I have to pay attention.  One of the things they really crave is my time and my attention.  And it is much more of an emotional investment than it ever used to be.  Each of my children- and particularly the older three- want my presence.  They want to talk.  They want time; uninterrupted time with just me or with just their daddy.  My boy wants to burst in during my quiet time and show me some LEGO magazines. 

I'm not yet in the habit of doing that.  Can I be perfectly honest?  I don't want to give up my carved-out-for-me-quiet-time-in-the-afternoons for a child who wants to sit and talk.  I know.  Selfish.  Of course I love them and if I take the long view, of course I want that type of relationship with them.  But my flesh wants a break.  I am tired.  I often feel depleted with all the demands on my time and attention. So I tuck myself away in my room every afternoon to have quiet.  To spend time journaling, praying and reflecting.  I am resistant to give up "my time" to meet their relational needs.  And yet I sense a gentle nudging of God, asking me about giving up some of that time for them.

I also suspect that this means that I need to take the opportunities as He brings them, regardless of what I'm doing.

I don't know what form this will take or if this will be a consistent, regular time. And so I pray for a heart to serve them, to put them above my own self.  I pray that God would give me opportunities to serve and bless them; to be willing to die to myself and my own ambitions and interests and gladly make time and space for them.  I pray for humility, and that He would help me look to their interests; look to the things they are interested in.

I made a list in my journal of all the things my kids are currently* interested in (*these things change, you know. ;)).  I made a list for Mark, too.  I think God has used those lists really practically in the past week.  I can think of several examples where something off the list has come up and I've been challenged to respond.  One of the kids wanted to play catch in the front yard, but couldn't find a sibling to play with them.  I didn't particularly want to play catch, (there was dinner to make; dishes to do, etc) but recognized that God was giving me an opportunity to engage in this child's interest.  So we played catch for probably a good hour.  And we had a whole lot of fun.  :)


  1. Beautiful and, with a few changes in the details, I could have written this myself. I agree that in many ways it was easier when their needs were: reading aloud, getting dressed and toothbrushing. Not only are these tangible and obvious, but you can make a list and mark them off...these days, not so much. Hugs, my friend, being as aware as you are is a huge step in the right direction.

    1. Thank you, Renee. I know you know. And the more kids there are, the MORE that it all is! ;)

  2. My oldest is 10, so not in the more emotionally needy teen years yet...but I can see the need increasing. My wise mother said that as her children aged, the need to be home and be present increased - not decreased - as we grew through adolescence and into young adulthood. And I've thought recently how difficult it can be at times to homeschool and be an introvert. I am trying to have realistic boundaries so that they kids get the attention they need, but I get the quiet I need as well! You are motherly your children beautifully and it is an inspiration to get a window into it!

    1. Elizabeth,
      Thank you for your encouragement, friend. And thank you for passing on your mother's wisdom here. And YES! to the introvert comment. Funny that I never really used to be an introvert, but with each child I think I drew more into that reflective need-for-quiet space just to keep my sanity! ;)


Thank you for commenting! I love hearing from you, and I will do
my best to reply back to you in the comment section.