The other day I was upset with one of my children. This particular child had their own idea about their life and it did not coincide with mine.
So I threw on my sweats and a sweatshirt, grabbed a water bottle and left the house to go on a long bike ride because I was getting angry and I didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.
For the past several months I have been learning to surrender my feelings over to God the Father. So while I peddled down a side road, I said out loud, “Lord Jesus, when this child doesn’t obey me, it makes me so angry. I am feeling very frustrated right now.”
I added, “I mean, I know how she should live her life. If she simply did what I told her to do, her life would be perfect.”
I immediately chuckled because that sounded LUDICROUS even to me.
This sort of situation always started with me wanting to get a child to DO something that I knew would benefit him or her. Surely that was within my motherly duties? Yet. It wasn’t working out so well.
So I kept surrendering, “Lord, I just want to help her; I obviously don’t know how to do this very well. Please help me. I am frustrated.”
Then. Then I heard this in my heart, “Why are you going after the low hanging fruit?”
I braked. I stood, straddled my bike and said, “Low hanging fruit? What do you mean by that?”
In an instant I could see/sense/feel that my daughter’s heart was the “higher fruit.”
Oh. Wow. I stood there another moment. It was INTENSE.
I got back on my bike. I made it to the trail and I just peddled.
I had many thoughts, too many and too private to share here. But the gist of it: yes, there are behaviors that are best.
If raising children was JUST about compliance, then yes, she should do everything I ask….but what I felt the Holy Spirit teaching me:
“There is something more precious here. Have the eyes to see it…...Go for the higher gifts.”
I need to attend to (and guard) her heart, not try to control her behavior.
I could also see/sense/feel that trying to control her behavior was a knee-jerk reaction in me, a quick fix, a “low hanging fruit.”
And of course it only made everything worse. No one wants to be controlled.
I love lessons like this. Because as I kept peddling (I ride for an hour or more) the Holy Spirit kept sharing with me. He showed me that when I can go after the higher gifts and attend to my daughter’s heart then SHE will be transformed. That’s what He is after.
How should I attend to her heart?
Well, instead of pointing out my child’s flaws or issues or problems or disasters, I could smile, love, attend to, hug, laugh with, enjoy, sit by, giggle with, love. I could minister to her heart by doing kind things, by continually and constantly doing those little things, those things that say, “You are mine and I am so grateful for that...how did I get so lucky to be your mother?”
Isn’t that gorgeous? I mean GORGEOUS? And what kid wouldn’t want to grow up with that mom?
At the end of my bike ride I was singing and laughing and happy. I was ready to love once more.
As I have reflected on “the low hanging fruits” message, I have come to see a much bigger picture, a much greater blessing.
When I consciously make the choice to go beyond the HOW: “This is how you must live your life” and I instead spend good, quality time climbing after the HEARTS of my children, He not only transforms the children… that is how He transforms ME.
P.S. If you like these thoughts, then check out The Daughter Dare; I designed this free online course so mothers could connect in real ways with their daughters.