Over the summer my family had the privilege of spending some time living with my in-laws while we waited to buy a house. My children have a tendency to rise and shine with the sun, and my father-in-law, it turns out, is the same way. However, he has a specific prayer and exercise routine that he does every morning.
I didn’t want to interrupt his routine, as I am definitely a person who enjoys my personal time in the morning. So in order to keep my kids occupied in our room, I set up a book area and told them when they woke up, they could read until my husband and I got up with them.
One morning my daughter woke up extra early and so I put her out on the couch so she wouldn’t wake up my son. I told her I was going to take a shower and when I came back I wanted to find her on the couch. I asked her again where should I find her when I came out and she answered, “The couch.”
After the shower I went back to the couch and she wasn’t there. I listened closely and heard her voice in the kitchen with my father-in-law. I walked to the kitchen door and caught her eye. She knew she had done something wrong.
I motioned to her to come to the doorway. I calmly sat her in the living room and asked her, “Where were you supposed to be right now?”
“The couch,” she replied.
“And where did I find you?” I asked.
“So you knew what you were supposed to be doing?”
I changed my question a little bit (in true mom fashion) and asked the question again, just to make sure I really knew she understood she was supposed to stay on the couch. Then I asked, “If you knew Mommy had told you to stay on the couch, why did you get up?”
“Because I wanted to see what Tito was doing.”
Her answer seemed simple enough. She heard her grandpa in the kitchen and she wanted to be with him, so she went to see him. Here was the determining moment. I couldn’t be upset with her that she wanted to spend time with her grandfather; I was grateful that she loved him and that we had this special time together.
For me, what stood out was when she said, “Because I wanted to …” Something about the way she said it struck me and I wanted to contemplate that more. I reminded her that if I give her instructions, even if she really wants to do something else, she needs to follow my instructions.
As she walked away it dawned on me: this is what happens every time I pick my will over God’s will in my life. How many times does He tell me what I need to do, what’s best for me, and I stand there like a little kid saying “but I don’t want to do that, I want to do this!”?
How many times do I have to go back and tell Him, He was right (as if He didn’t already know that)?
My daughter continues to teach me how to be a daughter of God, how to live up to what I’m called to be, and how to be the kind of person I’m expecting her to be. Who knew that in teaching my children, I would learn how to be a daughter of God?
How are your children teaching you to be a child of God?
Copyright 2013 Courtney Vallejo