A few weeks ago, I was having coffee with one of my dearest friends. During our conversation, between the catching up on life and giving little ones more snacks, she said something so profound it stopped me in my tracks. She said, “Jess, I don’t want to live for bedtime. I don’t want my kids to feel that I am surviving until I can have ‘me time.’” This began a conversation between me and God. I have seen so many posts of mommas on social media expressing exhaustion and stating “surviving to bedtime,” “countdown to bedtime,” or “Is it bedtime yet?”
Now, DO NOT get me wrong. I have, of course, felt, thought, even stated those same things! When my friend stated that simple phrase, it turned me back to the heart of my Father. What if He felt like that about me? — “I can not wait till Jess finally figures out what I’ve been trying to teach her!” or “I cannot wait till I can finally have a break from Jess.” How heartbreaking is that?
So my question to us as mothers is this: How do we delight in our children as God delights in us?
John Piper stated it so well when he said, “The question is not whether God delights in His children. He does. The question is twofold: One, what is it about us that He delights in? And two, why does He tell us that delights in us?”
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
In these two passages, we see both sides of delight: God delighting in us, and our delighting in God. Delight comes from a place of joy, of seeing our children as the creation God has made them – flaws and all. God is the one who shows us and teaches us what it means to delight. So let’s break it down and see what delight is and how God delights in us as His children.
“Delight,” by definition from good ol’ Webster, is “a high degree of gratification or pleasure : joy. children squealing in delight”
I might have had a little squeal myself when I saw that word — joy. You cannot have delight without joy, and you cannot have joy without God. The process encompasses them all. Therefore, if delight comes from joy, we have to look to our Father for joy and see His example to us as His children. I think there are three great ways that Christ shows us how He delights in us.
First, Christ welcomes us. Matthew 19:14 is the famous passage of Christ welcoming the ones that culture did not look at as important. Doesn’t that sound like our culture today? That children are an inconvenience that we need a break from.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Christ welcomed children, arms wide open, and did not allow any circumstance to stop them from coming to Him. His own disciples, to whom He had been intentionally teaching the Kingdom, tried to stop them, believing they had no status with Jesus. How often do we allow distractions and other things — good things — to hinder our children from coming to us?
My Wyatt has been the child who has grounded me. He is the one who will make me stop everything and just be with him. Some of those instances are good things, great things in fact, but realizing that God hand selected me to be his momma and now was the time to say “no” to everything else around me and “yes” to him has been a constant growth area in my life. To welcome him into my lap and read Where The Wild Things Are for the seven millionth time because, mommas, it goes by so fast.
Next, Christ draws us. Christ invites us, pursues us, draws us to come and be with Him. He is a calm voice, calling in our chaos to just come, be, rest. Jeremiah 31:3 says,
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”
He calls us with unfailing kindness. A few weeks ago, my 6 year old was having a day. The moment she jumped into the car after school, I could see all of her walls fall down. She had been “on” all day. Trying to please, obey, be a good friend, learn. Getting in the car was her safe place where she immediately let that striving go. Therefore, Momma was on the receiving end of sass and attitude. God had shown me months earlier how normal this was for children when they knew they were in a safe place. Audrey knew that I would love her “with an everlasting love” regardless of how she treated me. I had a choice in that moment: I could first discipline her, because how dare she talk to me that way, or I could draw her to me with kindness and love and realize, that girl needed to cuddle up in bed and watch Reading Rainbow with me. Our kids are going to have bad days. Goodness, I have bad days!! As we continue to grow in this parenting thing, we can recognize when there are moments of correction needed and when there are moments of holding, loving, and comforting after our children are back in their safe place.
Finally, Christ fellowships with us. We cannot dive into this without considering the story of Mary and Martha, but let’s look at it from a different view. Let’s look at it as Jesus just sitting and being. Jesus came in and sat with Mary. He saw the many things that were needing to be prepared, but He did not allow that to distract Him from being simply present with Mary. Not because HE needed that fellowship, but because Christ recognized that Mary needed it. He delighted in being with Mary, knowing He was meeting her emptiness. This is so eye opening! I’m sure there were people who needed to be healed, demons that needed to be cast out, a message that needed to be preached. Instead, in that moment, Christ saw Mary. He recognized that she needed Him to be with her.
Not because HE needed that fellowship, but because Christ recognized that Mary needed it.
In this life, there are countless, unending things to do. There are also little ones who are simply craving for us to just sit and be. Please hear me; as a housewife, I am not dismissing the need of laundry to do and dishes to be cleaned and groceries to be bought. What I am encouraging you to do is be intentional for those times with your children. They will see you put that phone away and go outside and play sidewalk chalk. They will see you take a day off of work for intentional one-on-one time with them. They will remember those bedtime reading cuddles.
Delight. Christ delights in us by welcoming us, drawing us, and fellowshipping with us. How can you, today, delight in your children as Christ delights in YOU?
Pictures by Meg Richardson
Edited by Jordan Johnstone