When I was a freshman in high school, my mother ran a daycare in her home for infants and toddlers. It was exhausting most days, but she had the kind of grace for those kids that had to have come from heaven.
One ordinary afternoon in the playroom, we had a little boy decide that he wanted to stack some toys to reach the high window that overlooked our driveway. He quietly moved blocks, chairs, cushions, papers, or anything he could get his little fingers on to create his leaning tower. My mom calmly asked him to not to climb the tower. She must have disassembled that tower five times before she recognized that he was relentless. Eventually, she let him climb it. The joy on his face as he reached the pinnacle is still in my mind.
Then he realized he needed to get down. He began to panic and cry. My mom went up to him to console him and showed him where to put his hands and feet so he could climb back down. Once he was back on the floor she pulled him into her lap and began to explain to him why she didn’t want him to do it again. He recognized why it could be dangerous and that an adult might not be around to help him back down. She also praised him for his creativity and determination. He whispered something into her ear, and she smiled and said, “Oh I understand.”
In my naiveté, I rolled my eyes and was annoyed that she wasn’t more stern with him. This woman raised me. If she looked at me sideways, I would have had the fear of God struck through my whole body.
A few days later, the same boy started building a tower again, but I watched him stop and think about his experience and her words. He then went up to my mom and asked her if she would pick him up so he could look out of the window to see when his mom pulled for pick up time.
Connection. She connected with him. She shared her heart and her “why” with the situation. He heard her, and shared his “why” into her ear. He just wanted to watch as his mom arrived. He missed her, and he wanted to see her arrive. After he left for the day, quietly she said to me, “Remember when you have kids one day, if you want cooperation, you have to be willing to connect.”
That piece of advice has seriously impacted how I parent, how I disciple, and how I am being discipled.
When I think back on the times my mother disciplined or corrected me, I didn’t decide to obey her because I was afraid of her or afraid of punishment, I obeyed her (respected and honored her) because I knew her heart for me. I knew she was for me, not against me. I didn’t have to assume her heart, because she TOLD me her heart. She vocalized it.
When I haven’t connected with God in a while, I honestly don’t care for his opinion that much. When I decide that intimacy with God is a non-negotiable, I will always want what He wants. How can we trust someone we don’t know very well? For me, my faith lies in the tension of knowing who God has been for me in the past, and knowing I will always have more to learn about Him in my future.
The days I decide to approach God in humility and just listen to Him are the days I would follow Him to the ends of the earth. How easy it is to obey a creator who makes himself known to us.