Written by Abbie Ginther
When’s the last time you got REALLY excited about something? I’m not talking that rush when the Starbucks drive-thru is strangely quiet and you wonder if the rapture came and you’ve been left behind. I’m talking about the heart-pounding gasp of wonder that makes you want to shout, “Come and see!”
My toddler feels this at least four times a day. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. You’re on the phone or you’re cooking or napping (ha! A girl can dream) and a bright little creature materializes, complete with a phenomenally loud voice and a doll-sized vice-grip, tugging insistently, “COME AND SEE!” It might be a bird on the fence or a hangnail or the leaves changing color, but no matter the source of excitement, these tiny humans know it’s not enough to take it in—it has to be shared to be fully experienced. Come and see. And you might have been sleeping, working, or doing something else of tremendous value, but you stop. And you go and see.
Despite my impressive ability to rush through life in a distracted haze, my kids consistently invite me to come and see. They remind me that wonder is found at a meandering pace, in the empty space concealed in a seashell or between the rhythmic words of a favourite book—in the listening, in the touching, in the tasting, and the marvelling. They are thrilled with little treasures. Pockets full of rocks, they bust through my tasks, through the clamour of social media scrolling and through my to-do-list.
… As if I will ever accomplish my to-do-list anyway. I think it’s the adult version of the song that never ends. Aside from the every day errands, when I examine my mental parenting to-do-list, I get overwhelmed. Breastfed or bottle? Ergo or wrap? Pre-school or daycare? Public school or home education? Gymnastics or soccer? McDonalds or Burger King? McDonalds. Duh. They don’t call it a “Happy” Meal for nothing. #kiddingnotkidding
Even outside of these factors, I’m so busy seeking to control. How do I prepare my children to brave this world of drowned toddlers on desperate foreign beaches, of photoshopped magazine covers, of mosquito borne illnesses, of war and fear, of exploitation and slavery? It’s enough to make me want to close the curtains and binge-watch Paw Patrol on Netflix until the kids are eighteen or dad comes home, whichever comes first. My clutch on the details tightens as if these little decisions can guarantee my kids’ security and well-being. You don’t even want to see how much time I spent researching car seats. Hot tip? They’re ALL NATIONALLY APPROVED so likely I’m just sitting here comparing ‘safe’ with ‘also safe’.
And my brain just keeps on filing away this info, racing and whirling in busy-productive mode until I crumble into defeat at the feet of Jesus. And as I quiet down and look up, I don’t see a first-class children’s program or a five-step plan. I see the God-became-man who modelled that He always had time for the least of these. Time to draw in the sand with a stick and let people deal with their own hearts in the silence. Time to take a nap in a boat. Time to eat with friends. Time to say to Andrew’s questioning spirit, “Come and see,” and when Andrew did, he got so excited that he couldn’t wait to introduce everyone he knew to this Jesus.
It turns out that my kids have it exactly right. The more that I come and see, through actually reading my Bible (it’s harder than it looks, folks) and spending intentional time in prayer, the more joy I find in this little life right in front of me. I’m not saying I feed my kids verses for breakfast as I whistle my way through the laundry. I’m saying that this dedicated time allows me to step back in the mundane and catch my breath and just a glimpse of the holy in the commotion of my day. And it’s there, in between the meltdowns and the library books and Caillou and fruit snacks.
Jesus is there. He’s there in the slow realization that the very best thing I can do for my kids is not doing at all. It’s being transparent enough for these little eyes to observe that He is strong when I am weak… which is sort of a relief. My kids don’t need me to be flawless or make faultless choices. They need to catch me interacting honestly with this Jesus Who is grace, Who is mercy, Who is love and Who is present in my day. It’s not a structured lesson plan, it’s not Pinterest perfect, and I sure don’t always get it right. But knowing that I am not the answer and instead am pointing my kids to the answer and the author of their lives, is freeing. It’s my job to be present and faithful in this moment and leave the rest at His feet. This practical faith has offered me relief from anxiety in parenting. Today, right now, I’m consciously choosing genuine excitement as I squeeze my girls’ hands and offer the most important invitation they will ever receive.
Come and see.
“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Joyful are those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8
Abbie is a child of God and also a wife and the self-professed mombie of two littles. She believes in grace, caffeine, and the therapeutic benefits of locking herself in the bathroom to write on the Internet from behind her mom goggles in Winnipeg, Canada. Follow along (or offer professional help) at her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.