“For the eyes of the LORD range through the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
– 2 Chronicles 16:9 NIV
Everytime I reflect on this verse from 2 Chronicles I am reminded of God’s concern for me and the attention He desires to give me in my circumstances. There is another verse in Genesis 8:1 that reinforces the same concept as 2 Chronicles when it talks about God remembering Noah and all the animals in the ark. There were times when I would journal and pray I would express to God my appreciation for remembering me as He remembered Noah. This verse reiterates to the sincere believer that God’s eyes are always attentive to them. With eyes of compassion, God looks with care and concern for those He loves. In the same way, God compels us to look with the same compassion and care for our children during a transition as He looks upon His own children. The reality of the troubles we will have in this life, that Jesus said we would have in John 14, can cause us to forget that our children are going through the transition too. Weighed down and burdened by the reality of what we are encountering during the transition can cause us to be in denial that our children are even being impacted, especially if they’re not talking or reacting in a way that would easily identifiable. They may not be able to express it, or desire to, but they are feeling something. As we are being impacted, so are they.
A recent conversation with my brother provided insight on clues that help us to identify with whether we are, as parents, providing quality/quantitative attention to our children. He indicated the first clue being the children. Verbally, or non-verbally they will communicate their need for attention. Learning to catch them being good and acknowledging them will reinforce to them they are valued. teaching them how to ask for attention in positive, healthy ways will go a long way in discouraging them from using negative, unhealthy means to get our attention. The second would be the internal gauge of our conscience that lets us know when we are neglecting our children’s need for our undivided attention. Setting aside structured time to engage with our children in play, conversation, watching t.v./movies, or arts and crafts related activities will go a long way in reinforcing to our children that they are loved and valued beyond saying the words, ‘I love you.’ Even having special days, rituals and routines, like the ‘menu night’ I started with my children where they get to order from a menu what they would like to eat made Thursdays fun. Soon, they desired telling me earlier in the week what they would like on Thursdays as a way to express their enthusiasm for the attention they were getting associated with choosing what they could eat.My brother even cited how he notices my children frequently offer me hugs in the course of the time I spend with him in his home due to the ‘hug breaks’ we implemented so many years ago. Sincere affection is attention expressed non-verbally.
Allowing time for children to talk openly about their goals, dreams and aspirations about the future is an act of attention given to them and reinforces their value associated with their individuality and their uniqueness in how God has created them. Listening to them share their concerns, also, is a way of providing them attention. This is what God does for us and what he did for Hagar too. God challenged Hagar to continue to give attention to her child, while experiencing the transition, while God provided attention to her by providing for her what she was unable to provide for herself and her child. What Hagar could give her child, God directed her to continue to give attention to her child despite the challenges she faced in her circumstances. Hagar thought that what she was facing as a parent was too great and allowed distance to be created from herself and her child. She became emotionally withdrawn and disconnected. The weight of her circumstances created a wedge between her and her child. When all hope was lost and despair set in, the light of God’s love and compassion broke through the darkness of Hagar’s circumstances and God ministered to Hagar that allowed her to reconnect with her child! God provided both sustenance and a promise to Hagar about her child to reinforce to her that no circumstance is greater than God’s ability to bless and preserve life! Give attention to your child, Hagar, by lifting them up (encouraging them) and taking them by the hand (guiding them) and I will make him great!
May God bless you and help you to trust Him to richly provide for everything you need and empower you to give quality/quantitative attention to your children through encouragement, love and guidance as you transition towards resiliency.