Monday, February 27, 2017

Embracing Your Child's Heart

For the first five years of my older son's life I constantly worried about his development and analyzed how far behind he was his peers. I continually compared him to other children, even children years younger than him, and jealously watched them do effortlessly what we’d been working on for months and years in therapy. I left many play dates just to go cry in the car. I was so focused on my son’s development, his outward appearance, I wasn’t enjoying just being his mom, I wasn’t enjoying who my son truly was. 

And as for my younger son, I found it very easy to focus not so much on his delays but his anxiety and strong-willed nature, and how I wish he had neither. I found myself at the end of my rope dealing with the therapies and supplements for both kiddos and then the strong-willed antics and tantrums and defiance of my younger son. I resented his strong-willed personality with all the other stuff I was dealing with. I wanted him to be calmer like his brother. More obedient. Less anxious. 

And then I read the verse: “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Oh, how this verse convicted me.  I was so focused on my children's development and behavior (outward appearance) I wasn't seeing their heart.  

This verse then encouraged me to love and embrace my children for who they are.  Once I started looking at my older son’s heart, rather than his development and skills, I found so much to be thankful for, so much to nurture in him. For the first time in a long time, I truly just enjoyed being his mother and enjoyed spending time with him. I enjoyed his snuggles he reserved for anyone who showed him love and attention and how he would get so excited every time he saw a baby and run over to gently stroke them. Oh, you should have seen the sheer delight on his face when he discovered twins! 

And as for my younger son, once I started to really embrace his heart, I stopped seeing simply the outward behavior, but what his little heart was aching for. He wanted a little more attention from his frazzled mama. A little more structure in our days, since each day’s schedule was different with our appointments and errands. And once I started getting more intentional about giving him some undivided attention and a little bit more structure in our schedule, about encouraging him whenever he did something I was proud of or when he was obedient, rather than just constantly correcting the negative behavior, my resentment faded away and the anxiety and the behaviors that were driving me insane stabilized to a more manageable level. We began to have a lot more fun together. 

By striving to look at my children's' hearts, their personality, their passions, I'm finding joy and purpose in my parenting. 

Prayer: Dear LORD, Help me to see my child for who you created them to be, and to see their heart the way you do. Help me to not compare my child to others, but focus on nurturing my child’s heart, skills, passions and personality. Help me to remember my child is fearfully and wonderfully made, and you love him/her more than I do. Amen

1 comment:

  1. A very liberating lesson of acceptance and a rewarding one too.