Lessons from Little Ones

By Susan G Mathis

Children have so much to teach us. Last week I spent time with four young families. One had a newborn who slept peacefully in my arms while I gooed and giggled over every infant face she made. She was content. I want to be content too.

Another family had four busy little ones ages 3-7. The twin three year olds presented me with “gifts” of scribbled drawings that I just can’t throw away. I want to give others more gifts—gifts of myself—even if they are a bit scribbly.

The third family has a six month old, a five year old, and a seven year old. The five year old is a bug-crazy boy who just had to show me his “pet” fly. The six month old worked and worked to roll over and grab a plastic bowling pin, and we all were in awe when she accomplished her feat. And the seven year old read a book to me, and I marveled at the miracle of reading. I want to always be in awe of the wonder of life like these sweet kids.

Then I got to Skype with my grandchildren, the most precious part of my week. They are curious, funny, busy, energetic, inquisitive, and always learning. We laugh and talk and read books and blow kisses. We connect and reconnect on a deep and loving level. And it fills my soul in ways that nothing else can.

Each one of these children is a special and unique gift to me, and each one reminds me to step back from cooking and cleaning and pay bills and all the grownup busyness of life and to take time to be inspired at the beauty of Pikes Peak or create a story or dream or really enjoy moments with loved ones. Time with children not only helps me to reorient to what really matters but also enjoy my days so much more.

Contentment. Giving. Wonder. Learning. Growth. Love. These are what each child teaches me, and I want to apply all of them to my relationships with God and others. Good lessons, kids.

 

Dear Lord, Help us to be like little children, content, growing, loving and learning more about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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0098_Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Many years ago as the mother of a strong-willed toddler and a newborn, I didn’t want to be “just” a mother. I wanted to be out ministering to the world. I hated my husband, Larry, who seemed oblivious to my needs. I continually complained about his neglect and the thankless job of raising children. In time, I learned to choose contentment in three primary areas: problems, possessions, and people.

Problems
Complaining about our circumstances stems from a discontented heart. This isn’t a new attitude. In Exodus 15 through 17, the Israelites complained about the lack of water and food. Then when God provided both, they complained abut the type of food they received.

On the other hand, Joseph is an example of a contented person. He trusted God even though he was sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, forgotten by those he’d helped, and seemingly ignored by God (Gen. 39).

Read More →

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