Just when I think I’m getting smarter with age, my kids teach me how dumb I really am.
“Mom, how do I make oatmeal?” My first-grader poked her head inside the shower curtain.
“Hi, sweetie,” I squinted through shampoo suds dripping down my forehead. “You’re up early. I can make you some breakfast when I’m done in the shower.” (Can you tell we’re used to sharing bathroom space in our house? Nothing is sacred.)
“No,” she shook her head, “I want to make it myself. I just don’t know how much milk to put in.”
“About a half cup,” I said. “Then cook it in the microwave for one minute, thirty seconds. Do you know how to do that?”
“One three zero, got it.”
“Oh, and be careful when you take it out because the bowl will be hot.”
“Okay! I will! Thanks, Mom!” Then she buzzed into the kitchen to prepare her very own breakfast while Momma earned a few extra minutes in the shower. Good deal.
Funny how kids need instructions for the simplest tasks. We grown-ups can take for granted all the knowledge we’ve stored in our brains over the years, until we’re asked to impart it step by step to our children. You’d think this process of teaching and mentoring would make me realize how smart I am.
Except it doesn’t.
Because I’m a child, too, really—a child of God. And just as I know tons more than my daughter about how to make oatmeal and tie shoes and capitalize the first word in every sentence, it occurs to me how much more my heavenly Father knows compared to my puny wisdom. Sometimes I forget, when I’m struggling to find the answer to one of life’s tricky demands, I simply need to do what my daughter did.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you,” (James 1:5).
What’s the first thing you do when you hit a snag? Do you worry? Freak out? Blow up, stuff in, shut down, or eat a heaping bowl of chocolate chunk ice cream? Yeah, me too. Next time, though, let’s try this.
Ask God what to do. Search his Word for guidance. It’s all in there, you know. Sure, God holds mysteries we may never understand, but for the most part the answers to life’s questions are laid out for us in the Bible. The more you get to know it, the more you get to know God, who is willing and able to teach you how to cook the oatmeal. And he is gentle. He’s loving and kind. He won’t slap you upside the head for needing help, patience or practice before you get it right.
I guess that’s why he’s called the perfect parent.
So let’s take advantage of the privileges he grants his children.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).
“Lovey, was that you I heard clanking dishes in the kitchen?” My husband laid his palm on our daughter’s back as she stood on a chair to reach the microwave.
“Yep, I made my own breakfast.” She smiled wide and proud. “That’s what big girls do.”
“Don’t grow too big just yet!” My husband teased. “You’ll always be our little girl.”
And you’ll always need a teacher, I thought. Because nobody on this planet will ever grow old enough to stop asking for wisdom.
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