Kids want to do what they see being done.
They want to be who influences them most.
They want to follow where their people lead them.
The above picture of me was taken by my daughter, Ava. She sees me taking pictures a lot and so she wanted to do it herself. She did a good job! I pulled it up and thought, good focus, good centering, (probably mainly good luck), but even still…good work!
…and then, hmmm, my mind began to wander…
What else does she see me do?
How else do I influence her?
Where else am I leading her?
My answer to each of these questions wants to point to Jesus! …wants to point to Jesus.
Unfortunately I know I get that wrong a lot.
At a baby dedication I attended this past Sunday, the pastor referenced the lyric “oh be careful little eyes what you see…”
For the majority of our children’s young lives, their eyes are looking at us, at what we are putting in front of them, or they are looking at who we allow into their lives.
What’s the common factor there? WE. We are responsible for what they see. We as parents, caregivers, guardians, etc. are the PRIMARY ones influencing our children for the majority of their time with us.
You may be thinking, I work, I’m not with them a lot. They’re in school, they attend daycare, they're just little babies…Well, unless some other arrangement is setup, you as their primary caregiver get to decide where they go to school, attend daycare, and yes even babies are impressionable, so what they see matters. In each situation children are exposed to things, to other people, that will influence them. “Be careful little eyes what you see,” is really more directed to the adult in that it should say, “be careful grown adult what you show them.”
Yikes! Does that feel heavy? Did I just put a lot of pressure on you? That wasn’t my intention, but I do want you to be reminded (as I was this weekend) that we have little eyes watching us all of the time.
Maybe you’re struggling as an adult to make decisions that are good for you, let alone worrying over how they influence your child(ren)…well, this is where we as Christian women have some major help. That help comes in the form of the Holy Spirit and is given to us directly from Jesus Christ. John 16:7 talks about how Christ was leaving but sending us a helper, an advocate who would come alongside us and guide us through conviction and hope.
So, yes, maybe you're struggling right now with decisions, and listen, parenting well is HARD. WORK. But we were never meant to do it on our own! Pray. Pray in the moments where you feel you are failing. Pray with a grateful heart in the moments where you're finding success! Pray all of the time, without ceasing, for your child(ren) and their future. The Holy Spirit will help you. He IS the helper!
Ok now let’s talk about what these little eyes see…
The obvious thing that comes to my mind is technology! Whether that’s TV, computers, or phones, kids of all ages are almost immediately exposed to one of them. It’s like the unholy trinity! Seriously.
So what does that look like? News, TV shows, movies, COMMERCIALS (for the love of PETE), games, You Tube videos (of about a trillion different categories)…
How about music? What are you listening to when you’re driving? “Oh it’s just (insert whatever)! They’re little, they don’t know what that means!” Suuuure. Until they repeat it back to you. Cause we all love when our 2 year olds do that!
What about what you’re reading? What’s on the cover? Who is it magnifying? What is it pointing them to?
There are so many avenues that influence our children because WE expose them to those things.
…oh right. So that number one area of influence is really who then? It's us.
We can’t always blame media, the schools, the neighbors, or who or whatever else we desire. WE have to take ownership of that which we expose our children to. We control what they watch, what they listen to, who they talk to (for the most part), what they spend their time doing, and the list goes on. For a good little while, we have control over all of that.
So now for the next BIG question. And this is super important...
If we are the ones controlling what influences our children, who is controlling what influences us? WHO influences US?
…The answer to this question is the most important, for it steers and directs our paths and the paths we put in place for our children.
Ponder the answer you think is right, and then think about the answer that is perhaps the real truth in your life...and then listen to this song. It is so encouraging and a great reminder of the opportunity we have daily to opt for the BEST influencer.
With love & laughter,
I’ve been trying to focus my thoughts and really think about what God would have me share with y’all…and there’s just so much good He’s doing in my heart, mind, and spirit lately that I just figured I’d share that.
Now, this "good" I’m talking about isn’t what you might think. Life isn’t going perfectly... and it never will, so let’s just put that out there… but I’m just getting a clearer picture of who I am apart from God. The wretch that I am without the saving grace of Jesus.
“Ashley, that’s sounds awful!” …maybe, but isn’t it such a sweet place to be? Maybe you don’t know because you’ve never been there.
Several years ago I heard this saying and I don't know who said it or the exact words, but it was and is impactful…the better we think we look, the further we likely are from God…the messier we look, the closer we likely are to God.
When we pursue the world, when we look at our co-workers stats, our best friend’s marriage, the neighbor's house, a stranger's misbehaving kids, we usually start feeling a little better about ourselves. Maybe not always though. Sometimes we feel less than, and covet things, but when we want to feel better we usually look at others like “at least I'm not doing THAT, or like THEM,” and suddenly we feel inflated with a false sense of purpose, or status, or security.
See, when we pursue Christ, when we learn about who He is, the example He set through stories in the Bible, we realize that we aren’t great. We get a lot of things wrong on a daily basis. We only have Him to compare our lives to, and in order to ever love well we must have His love, forgiveness, and heart inside of us.
God has been drawing me closer to Him lately (isn’t He always?), but lately I have been really receptive to it. I’ve been ready to meet Him when He’s calling me and follow His leading. Why does it take us so long to do that? Why will I need to re-read this in a few weeks, months, a year, because I’ve since forgotten that He never leaves or forsakes me? It's because I’m fallen, imperfect, sinful… we all are, and we all struggle with this. But in this time of closeness and pursuit of the Father, I want to share what God is showing me.
I’m prideful. (I often call out in others what I wish I could change in myself.)
I have high standards for my kids. (But maybe they're a little too high sometimes.)
I’m prone to raise my voice. (There are time I over react too quickly.)
I’m Christ to my children. (But am I the best representation of Him? Not always.)
I need to memorize more scripture. (How can I instill in my children what I don’t know in my heart?)
My husband is not my enemy. (But sometimes I treat him like that.)
The word of the Lord is relevant. (The world’s gonna tell you otherwise…don’t listen.)
This time with my children is short. (But yet I put things before them…shame on me.)
…I can write all these truths to myself, and y’all, I know they're true, but I still fail at righting my wrongs. That’s why I’m so thankful for God’s grace and the gift and power of forgiveness.
In this sweet, but difficult time of growing closer to God, I am seeing how much of a mess I am, but it’s all good. Without Him I’d still be that hot mess, but not know of my need of sweet Jesus, the salvation that He offers, the gift of the cross, and the debt that I no longer have to pay.
So yes, it’s all good. Even though it looks and may sometimes seem all bad. And if you’re reading this and you’re confounded because you’ve never experienced this, please don’t think, “well, I must not be growing closer to God…maybe I’m not a Christian.” Don’t let those words penetrate your heart, unless they are the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Pray. Ask God to show you how He’d have you respond… Maybe it’s through re-direction down a path you're taking that you know isn't good. Maybe it’s taking time to sit with Him and just open His word and read it. Just His word. Or maybe it’s reaching out to me. Ha, I don't know what God could be up to, but I know I’m just sharing my heart! Please leave a comment or shoot me an email if you feel like you’re in a spot and you just need someone to listen… to talk to…to receive prayer from.
You never know, God may be on the verge of wrecking your world in the best way possible. It may not be pretty, but man is it gonna be good!
With love & laughter,
DISCLAIMER: While typing this, my 2.5 year old had two pee accidents one of which I think he did just so he could get ANOTHER bath, and the third accident involved another stinkier substance…in the hallway. The Lord wants to know if I can live out what I blog. I hear you Lord. You’re funny…but it’s all good.
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