My kids never cease to amaze me. They’re funny, stubborn, helpful, smart, kind, goofy and sometimes just plain weird. Sometimes they make great choices and other times their decision-making skills need a tune-up. Whether it’s my girl’s balancing act across the top of the church’s playground equipment on about a 4″ wide beam…like 7 or 8 feet in the air…over gravel…not a moment I care to relive! She called it gymnastics. I called it a circus act without a net. Or my tweenage son’s reasoning that it’s perfectly ok to play in the pouring monsoon rain while he’s waiting in the school pick-up car rider line on the day I had told him we were going shoe shopping for him RIGHT…AFTER…SCHOOL. Just when I start questioning where in the world these crazy kids came from, they turn around and do sweet & caring things like when my son took care of his sister the day she got sick in the backseat on the way home from school. With no place for me to pull over quick enough, he instinctively held the bag so she could “relieve” her nausea, then helped her clean her face & get a drink, all after spontaneously praying for her to feel better. Funny thing is, all of these things happened in the same month!
Recently, I had one of those moments that was half amusing, half “what’s up with that?” My daughter was starting to dry off after her bath and proceeded to tell me that grandma taught her the right way to dry off the evening before when my kids had spent the night at my parents’ house. I was like, what?! My daughter had been bathing herself for quite sometime and consequently drying herself off for quite sometime, but apparently she had now learned the “right” way to dry off after a bath. She proceeded to give step-by-step instructions so I’d know the “right” way too. In case you wondered, grandma’s “right” way involves drying your upper body before you get out of the tub, then stepping out with one leg onto one end of your towel & drying that leg before stepping out fully to dry the other leg. It really does minimize both cold air/wet skin exposure time and the amount of water that ends up on the bathroom floor & rugs. It’s a very effective method. I know this because I do it the exact same way…because my momma/her grandma taught me to do it “right” some 30+ years ago.
That struck me so funny because for a very long time, I had tried and tried to get my daughter to dry off my way (a/k/a grandma’s “right” way). She refused. She wanted to stretch her towel out on the floor in front of the tub before her bath then afterwards step out onto it, drippy and fully shivering, and try to dry off with the said towel while standing in the middle of it, which would cause her to stumble around because she never really had much of the towel actually available for drying. After trying for some time, to no avail, to change her towel-drying ways I decided that battle wasn’t one worth fighting. I figured as long as she ended up dry and clothed in the end, then all was well.
But one overnight stay at grandma’s house changed all that. That one particular bath lesson reconfigured my daughter’s bathtime routine. I don’t know the specifics of what my mom said to her but, for whatever reason, it stuck. And in that moment when my daughter boasted to me of her newly acquired skill, I knew I should just be grateful that my daughter would no longer be stumbling around after bathtime, caught on her towel all the while howling about how cold she was. But my sarcastic natural tendency coupled with my desire to be right compelled me to make some comment to her about why she wouldn’t listen to my instruction (re:nagging) but would soak up grandma’s wisdom like a sponge (or a towel, lol). Even though I often resort to sarcasm and guilt, this time I could sense God saying, “Huh-uh. Not this time. Pay attention this time.”
Be satisfied with giving the confirmation instead of needing to take the credit.
Miraculously, I listened as He continued: “Be satisfied with giving the confirmation instead of needing to take the credit.” Ouch. That sure gave me something to think about. I knew this instance was relating to my daughter, but immediately He allowed the scales to fall off my eyes so I could see many other areas of my life in which I have cared more about getting credit for myself than giving confirmation for others–my family…my job…my church relationships…my friendships. I could also see the times when it was me stumbling around trying to do things my own way. I could see how I wouldn’t listen to those who had insight that I needed until I got tired of being uncomfortable. The instant download of images into my mind’s eye really was quite humbling as I took in the various forms of my own arrogance and stubbornness.
I’m not saying I’ve fully mastered what God revealed to me that day. But I am thankful that God loves my daughter and me both so much that He’s willing to use an insignificant issue to start teaching me such an important lesson. I can only imagine how often I’m going to want my kids to see or do things my way in the years to come…BUT…what I really, truly want even more than being acknowledged as being right (and I do enjoy that…still working on it…just being honest) is for them to grasp whatever lesson (natural, spiritual, emotional or financial) is in front of them. Be it their people skills, life skills, discipline skills…whatever God has for each of them, I pray they remain teachable and open to a life full of His “better” ways. Heck, I pray I stay teachable and open to a life full of “better” ways. Hopefully, as I grasp what He’s presently saying I’ll avoid a big issue blowing up in my face later.
Know which issues need confronted immediately and which lessons need to wait until hearts have been cultivated by time and experience.
I also pray that God gives me wisdom to know which issues need confronted immediately and which lessons need to wait until hearts have been cultivated by time and experience. Like I learned with my girl’s drying drama, unfortunately sometimes our stubbornness causes us to stumble around a little bit doing things our way before we’ll let someone wiser show us a better way. Hopefully my kids will listen to their dad and me but if (when) they don’t, I pray there is always someone in their path that can reach them and impart Godly wisdom into them when their ears, hearts and minds are ready to receive.
So I want to say thanks, Mom. Thank you for teaching your granddaughter something I tried to get her to understand for a long time. I’m glad you’ve got my back. And that you taught Keirsten how to dry hers, lol.
Thank you, Keirsten, for listening to grandma. Our floors and rugs are so much drier now after your bath time and that makes momma very happy (FYI–wet bathroom rugs make my skin crawl!).
And thank you God for Your still small voice that guides me past my insecurities that manifest as sarcasm and into better ways. Please keep talking to me and letting me know when I need to change–especially as my kids approach their teenage years–so that through Your wisdom I can be the support, confirmation and occasional comic relief they need to navigate their way through the purpose and plans You have for them. I want to listen to You so that it’s not me stumbling and grumbling around, trying to do things my own way. I can trust You, though, because I know no matter which side of the towel I happen to be on, You’ve got my back.
Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.
Isaiah 30:21 NKJV
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
III John 1:4 NKJV