“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 19:14
I was listening to a sermon a while back and something the preacher said pricked my heart. He said, “My Mom…was truly my friend.”
As I sat there and pondered those words, I asked myself, How many times have I heard someone say, “You’re not your child’s friend. You’re the parent.”
Believe me. I get it. I get the logic. I get the dangers that it is trying to avoid. The problem is, I’ve lived this “you’re not your child’s friend,” motto so very literally, that I believe my children may be suffering for it.
The weird part is, I have always been a lovey, touchy-feely, huggy type of person. I was so excited at the prospect of having kiddos that I could love on. So when these two precious little guys entered my life, I thought I would be lovey, touchy-feely and huggy.
But I wasn’t.
I was guarded. My kiddos were extremely manipulative in their affection because they had to be. They had to watch out for #1 because their birth mom did not. Perhaps because she couldn’t. And so for the first year especially, my kids, especially Pickle, were hugging me only when it suited their needs. This was not how I had pictured motherhood.
As a result, I started becoming distant with my children. I would still speak comfort to them, kiss their owies, and rock them at night, but I always did these things while shrinking back, fearing I would be hurt.
During a particularly bad day a couple of years ago, I was pouring out my heart to God, feeling downright sorry for myself. And I heard Him so gently say, “It’s awfully hard to snuggle up to armor.”
Wow. Right between the eyes.
IT IS…It’s AWFULLY hard to snuggle up to armor. It’s heavy and hard and cold.
You see, I was so busy guarding my own heart in fear of being hurt and rejected that I was protecting myself against the two little people who needed me most. They needed to be allowed into the safe haven of my heart. The Enemy of my soul, who is the Father of lies, had been trying to divert my attention and was actually succeeding in fooling me that they were my enemies.
I am so incredibly thankful for that AHA! moment.
Mamas, our armor was designed by the Captain of our souls to protect against Satan and his wiles alone. It was never designed to protect us from the pain inflicted upon by others. Jesus’s life and ministry bears this out. We will experience pain if we love like Jesus does. But if we wear the Armor of God correctly, we can be assured that the pain that we experience will draw us closer to the Lord, rather than away from Him.
That evening as the preacher was talking about his mom, he wasn’t talking about being her pal. They didn’t hang out together, I’m sure. But she was warm, approachable, and caring of his soul. She prayed for him, counseled him, and was the listening ear he needed. I know this preacher, I know his Mama, and I know the rest of the story. You see, right after he called his mom his friend, he said, “True friendship exists only in the gospel.”
We have such a high calling as mamas who serve Jesus. We can be an approachable example of Christ’s love to our children so that they can understand the verse:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Have you ever seen the film, “Anna and the King”? I don’t remember much about that movie. But the one scene that will forever be burned into my mind is when the king was in the throne room. People were repeatedly bowing to him. They were careful to never look into his eyes. They were sure never to turn their backs on him. They had to be announced and approved before they could approach the king. Right in the middle of one such audience, the doors burst open and in ran his littlest and most cherished child. She dashed right past the people who were so terrified of their king, climbed up the many steps and crawled onto her daddy’s lap who was on the throne. She held his face in her hands. She had no fear of him because, although he was a great king, he was her father first.
Oh, how I want my children to know that they can approach Jesus this way! But in order to teach this, I must grasp this concept for myself. As I do, they will be comfortable coming to me for help and I will then be able to ever point them to Jesus!
Dear Heavenly Father, may my children always know that when they need a friend, I will be there. And so will You.
Blessings and much love,
Friends, I’d really like to hear from you! How do you practice approach-ability with your kids?