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. I love love love mothers. I love how we love (and how we sometimes miss the mark). I love writing about the ups and downs of it all.
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