When God Seems Like Your Unreasonable Mother

olive chan —  September 2, 2013 — 2 Comments

Becoming a parent has made me more compassionate toward God. It might sound strange, but that’s the change I’ve noticed in me. Prior to having a child, there were many times when I would ask, “How could you do this, God?” I would think that He was being mean or not paying attention. I would question His intentions. I still wonder what He’s up to sometimes. But my perspective has changed. I give Him the benefit of the doubt more often now. I know that there’s more on the table than my personal happiness.

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Raising a young child has taught me the importance of timing. Sometimes my daughter’s requests are ones that are unsafe or destructive. In those instances I have to say, “No.” Most requests, however, are ones that I would gladly fulfill. It just might not be the right moment. She wants to get off the airplane after 10 hours of flight. That is something I totally want to do as well – just not while we’re jostling through turbulence at 37,000 feet above ground. In that circumstance, I have to not only keep her on the aircraft but strap her in as tightly as possible. I realize my actions may look completely opposite to what she’s asking of me, but I also know the right time is coming for us to disembark. How much more appropriate must God’s timing be in our lives.

Being a mother, I’ve also realized that there are times when I anticipate what my daughter needs. So I offer her some snacks while we wait for the grocery store checkout – before she starts getting restless. Or I set up her blanket in preparation for bedtime. There are some things she doesn’t need to say and I already know. There are some things I know that she needs that she doesn’t even know. I’m a step ahead of her. I recognize this in God’s provision for me, too.

On the other hand, I sometimes intentionally wait until my child asks before I respond. I may already know that she wants a cookie from the way her eyes keep darting over to the counter. But I want her to practice asking. I want a purposeful exchange to unfold between us. I want her to recognize the value in what she is asking for, and to acknowledge the receipt of it from me. In the asking and receiving, I feel like our relationship is being built.

Giving her what she wants brings much delight to my heart, too. I love watching her get lost in her own little world of singsong and books. I love seeing her grin at the sight of her beloved “Duck-duck” toy after coming home from a long afternoon out. I love that she is enjoying life. I can’t help but think that God feels the same way when He sees us revel in His gifts.

Beyond material things, however, there is joy, beauty and richness in simply being in relationship; in communicating with each other and in the simplicity of each others’ company. My favourite times are when we hang out together on the couch or lazy around on the bed in the early mornings. Her eyes catch mine and we both break into giggles. This way of relating – this “being” together – is what the last four years’ journey has been for me with God. It’s beyond asking for things or experiences. It’s beyond receiving even. Can I just be and enjoy being with God?

The other night I reflected again on how easily distracted I am when I’m with my daughter. The phrase, “Prayer is paying attention,” came to me as I mindfully set my phone aside and sat down with my little girl to make playdough waffles. If paying attention to her meant spending quality time with her, prayer is essentially quality time with God!

Being a mother has brought me into a new realm and understanding of love in the context of the parent-child relationship. And isn’t that what prayer is: an exchange and expression of that love?

[Note: If you liked this post, you would probably enjoy this other one that I wrote in my early mothering days.] 

 

Photo credit: Tim Chan | Design: Olive Chan

 

  • Mom of 3

    I would agree 100% on the correlation… And having raised my children to adulthood, I would say, in truth, I always knew my children were “on loan” to me. They were a gift from God. To teach me, enrich me,inspire me,and sometimes disappoint me. The hardest thing was not “letting go”, when they turned 18 or 21. I knew my time as their primary counsel had passed. I had to release the role of parent and hope the now “grown” “child” or culturally recognized adult would seek counsel from me, as a friend. There were many silences that came, as they made decisions and life choices without wanting me to know or to say a word. THAT is when the relationship truths you have observed become all the more real. Right now, you enjoy the admiration and to a great degree control over your child’s environment. Now that mine are grown, I must seek God’s grace all the more. I feel the role as cheerleader and friend harder now…as my adult children exercise free will and I must watch from afar, as they try to fly without a net. Wow, that free will of a young adult is right up there with the terrible 3’s…willful,stubborn,determined…come to think of it… God probably still sees me that way sometimes too. I am just so glad we had 18 plus years of relationship to draw on, before I got to understand that “free will”, can sometimes mean long silences… as my children continue to grow up and hopefully in relationship with me as their sister in God’s kingdom.

    • olivechan

      Dear Mom of 3, Thank you for your perspective. I love that you say that your children are given by God sometimes to disappoint you. I wouldn’t have thought of it that way but now that you’ve said it, I will think differently. Blessings to you as you continue to grow with your children.