First day

After his first morning of preschool, Jackson sits on a bench outside the elementary school to show me the ocean he made.

There is nothing like first days to drive you to your knees.

Jackson began preschool today, and like most moms I think I was just as nervous as him. It is a wonderful and aching feeling to watch your child grow up. As we prayed together in the car before going into the school, hearing my son talk to his Heavenly Father was so precious. He walked bravely through the halls to his classroom, though I know he was a little scared, and marched right up to his teacher to inform her of a few things before he went off to play. Snapping a few photos of him wearing his new backpack felt so momentous.

I could tell I wasn’t the only mom who was definitely looking forward to seeing her baby, I mean preschooler, and hearing about their first day, as we all stood outside the school waiting to pick them up mid-day. The class came streaming out to open arms and hugs and kisses, as they all clamored to share their stories of the morning.

As we have been preparing for this day, I have found myself praying more and more fervently for my son as he enters this new world:

  • that God would guard his heart and keep it tender for what is true, noble, right, pure,  lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
  • that Jackson would be kind, friendly and polite to those around him.
  • that his friends would be positive influences in his life, and that God would protect those children and bring their moms and dads into a saving relationships with Him.
  • that God would strengthen and shower his teacher with wisdom, patience and grace.
  • that his teacher would help Jackson to learn and encourage his curiosity and creativity.
  • that Jackson would know, more than ever, that God is with him and loves him.

As the years pass, and first days of school come and go, I know my heart will echo these prayers again and again.

Jackson and me getting ready to leave for his first day of preschool, and after four years we still love being cheek to cheek!

Jackson and me on my first Mother's Day in 2007. As most parents will say, I can't believe how fast they grow up!

Boldly Asking

Lauren getting ready to ask me for something (probably cookies)

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for.

I John 5:14-15

Children have no fear when it comes to asking for what they want.

Exhibit #1: It is not yet mid-morning, but Lauren comes to me with her beautiful, blue eyes open wide and grasps my hand. “Mommy, cookie?” Knowing already that my first answer is going to be no, she quickly conjures up some tears and increases the urgency in her voice as she asks again. Then, the full-on begging and whining and crying ensues as she asks again and again to get a snack.

Exhibit #2: Lauren’s belly is full of cookies and it’s time for her morning nap. Knowing he will have some time to himself as I rock his little sister to sleep, Jackson quickly asks me, “Mommy, I’m not going to play computer games, right?” His method of questioning always catches me for a moment because my first inclination is to counteract the false question, which then automatically sounds as if then he can play computer games.

An entire art gallery of exhibits could be created for all the questions my children ask me on a daily basis. I often grow weary from the daily inquisition, but at the same time I am thankful that they know they can come to me and ask me anything, because I love them. I want them to come to me, confident in their standing as my children, knowing that I will hear them.

Both of them can be very persistent, boldly asking what is on their hearts.

I want more of that kind of spirit.

As I pray with the kids before bed each night, I have noticed that many of the requests I ask God are actually more statements than questions.

Exhibit #1: God, please watch over Jackson and Lauren tonight. Keep them safe.

Exhibit #2: Lord, help them fall asleep quickly and sleep through the night.

I’m not really asking God, I’m telling him what I want.

Sometimes I struggle to communicate with God. I get in the habit of talking on and on and never listening for His response. It’s like I text him short messages of “I need this,” or “please do this”, and when I don’t get immediate confirmation, I feel like I’m not connecting. What I really need is a heart-to-heart conversation with my Savior.

Like my kids, I need to crawl into His lap and cuddle for awhile. I need to feel His heartbeat. And, I should not be afraid to really ask what’s deep in my heart. I need to ask, and wait to hear His answer, knowing that He will only do good. I must completely trust Him.

Though my children aren’t perfect, and they can be known to throw a fit if they don’t get what they have requested, they aren’t afraid to ask. They openly and honestly share their desires, their needs, their wants, their fears and their dreams with me.

My Heavenly Father wants the same kind of relationship with me.