Do You Know Your Kids?

Screaming and running, he tried to jump into the lazy river and pull away from his big brother who was keeping him safe, though he didn’t think so. He just wanted what he wanted.

Years ago, a scene like this with my boys would have resulted me getting angry, scolding, and probably yelling. I most likely would have given a consequence, resulting in more tantrums and a deep seated anger in my child.

Today, thankfully I’ve learned at least a little something. Not much… but a little. When this scene took place yesterday at the water park, I picked him up hugged him and told him it would be okay. I tried to get him to tell me what was making him so angry but he was too upset, so we sat down with some water and a snack to calm down. I gave him some squeezes because he’s a sensory seeker and needs firm hugs. I kissed him playfully in his face to get some smiles. Then a he ate he told me what was so upsetting. And I told him he cannot run off or scream when he’s angry, something that he isn’t going to learn right away, but we keep working on it.

Relationship. This word has been recurring in my life so much over the past 9 months. God has been speaking to me about how important they are and what they should look like. I’m learning to really study my kids and see who they are, how they respond to different situations, and what they need in their lives.

With Lukas, I’m learning his extreme emotions need my calmness and consistent love. He needs to know he’s loved in the midst of his outbursts. He needs strong squeezes and lots of affirming words. And he needs food. That sounds funny, but it’s true. His blood sugar gets low and he gets hangry!

It’s not easy to figure out all my kids. There are eleven of them, after all! And more will be added via marriage and eventually there will be grandkids to figure out. But what’s more eternal and more important than knowing the people God has put into our lives.

Our other pursuits in life, a job, a garden, homeschooling, friendships, and anything else, won’t measure up to us knowing our children well.

It takes time and dedication and energy. But the reward at the end will be beyond our imagination! A solid relationship with our kids, having their hearts, and knowing them well will get us through the difficult times in life, of which there will be many.

And, thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for our shortcomings. I wasn’t very good at this when my oldest were little and we went through some really really hard things with one of them during the teen years. (You can read about it here. https://desiredhavenfarm.com/2019/10/02/a-privilege-to-share/) Though I’d done a lot to ruin my relationship with this child, God filled in the gaps and brought other people into his life that he needed. God also pushed him to still reach out to me and open up about his struggles so I could help him. God is good!

And, it’s never too late to really get to know your kids! Even if they aren’t little anymore, you can still discover their personalities, their needs, their likes and dislikes, and how you can have a strong relationship with them.

Here’s some things that have helped me: “The Five Love Languages”, “I Said This, You Heard That”, Marilyn Howshall at marilynhowshall.com, and God’s Word.

Your Bestie’s Voice

And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the Lord , he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him.
Numbers 7:89 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/num.7.89.ESV

This week I read Numbers chapter 7. This verse stood out to me. If you know anything about Moses, you know at this point in the story he’s spent some time with the Lord. He spent 40 days on Mount Sinai listening to the Lord and receiving the commandments. He’s heard the voice of the Lord numerous times as he’s led the Israelites.

Do you remember way back when before caller ID on phones? Remember how you’d pick up the phone when it rang and have no idea who was going to be on the other line? Could be a friend, your grandma, or a telemarketer? And you wouldn’t know until they said hello.

Did we all have the cream colored one??

But, when it was your bestie calling, you knew her voice immediately, right?! She never had to say, “this is ____”. You just knew and she just knew.

Why did you know her voice without caller ID? Because you spent time with her. Probably a lot of time!

Why did Moses know God’s voice? Because he spent time with Him. A lot of time.

Do you know God’s voice? Would you recognize it in an instant? If not, why not?

There’s this trend in today’s western Christianity that I think is actually harmful to our walk with God. There’s this idea, and I’ve heard it in more than one place, that says, everyone’s busy. No one has extra time, so if all you do is read the verse of the day you’re good to go. Or maybe if you have a bit of time, then just spend five minutes in your Bible.

Now, I think the original intent behind this idea was to not lay a guilt trip on people who weren’t spending time in the Word and to encourage them to do so. I get it. But it still isn’t healthy for our relationship with God.

Ask yourself this: have you ever spent 30 seconds to 5 minutes with someone and felt like you really knew them? Knew their heart, knew their desires, knew their passion and sorrow, their joy and heartaches? I think I can say pretty confidently that none of us has.

Why? Because relationships take time, effort, and intention. We have to choose to spend time with someone to really get to known them.

I’ve been asking myself lately, what kind of relationship do I have with God and what kind do I want? I already know He desires a close and personal relationship with me. And I know I want a close relationship than what I have. And that’s on me! He’s waiting.

So how do we get there? How do we get to know the great God better?

We have to spend the time. And we can’t just read the verse of the day and expect great results. So, I challenge you, and I’m challenging myself as well, to get into the Word and really spend time there. That is the number one place to hear God.

We have to put in the effort. My challenge to myself is to get up early each morning, sit on my porch while it’s beautiful out, make the coffee early, and open my Bible and pray.

We also have to be intentional. Anyone can read the Bible. I just met someone who told me they read the whole Bible with the sole intention of picking it apart and contradicting it. What’s your intention? I ask God before I start reading to speak to me through his word, to show me more of who he is and to reveal to me more of who I am.

I don’t know about you, but I sure want to recognize the Lord’s voice as quickly as I recognize my bestie’s! The only way to get there, is to put in the time, effort, and intention. We can have a relationship with God just like Moses did!