New Season, New Grace

It had been a while since I'd heard the hurried steps of a child across the kitchen floor in the middle of the night, the sound of urgency unmistakable.  It didn't matter, though.  My ears were still trained.  I was awake and had the covers thrown back by the time his feet hit the threshold of our room.  His brother was sick and needed me.

I spent the next hour helping my teenager get over the hurdle of a middle-of-the-night tummy bug and made sure he was comfortable on the couch close to the bathroom and within earshot before I found my way back to my bed.  I was up with him again a few hours later, bringing him a drink to swallow down the Tylenol for his fever.

As I smoothed back his hair, I reflected on how seldom I have to do that sort of thing for him anymore.  When my baby came into my life, he needed me for every bite of food, every diaper to change, and every blanket to ward off a chill.  But, he's not a baby anymore, and the infant cries for help have long since passed.

And as I tucked him in and left him to rest, I pondered his new needs and my ability to comprehend them.  When he was young, his needs were obvious, and I couldn't miss them.  Now that he's older, am I as quick to recognize what he needs from me?  Because he still needs me, just in very different ways.

Instead of spoon-feeding him his meals, he needs me to challenge him to take in the Word of God on a regular basis, sharing with Him what God is showing me as I do the same.

Instead of the dreaded diaper duty, he needs me to gently point out when his attitude needs changing, modeling for him what it looks like to choose joy instead of irritation.

Instead of covering him up in the middle of the night, he needs me to blanket him with prayer as he heads out of our home on a daily basis to face things I still find myself wishing I could shield him from.

Instead of making all his choices for him, he needs me to allow him room to grow and take risks, while still offering wisdom in just the right places.

And I pray that I don't miss his need for all the little moments of conversation, the engaging of one heart to another--- that I will see the offers he presents to me to enter his world.  He won't be crying out for attention at the top of his lungs anymore, yet, his needs are no less important now than when he was an infant. 

And I want to continue to do the sacrifice of parenthood, and do it well.  To be able to lay down my life for another.  It's easy to know I would sacrifice my life in one fell swoop if it meant saving his, but not as easy when I realize that most laying down of the life occurs one tiny moment at a time.

May all our tiny moments be covered by the Father of all Fathers, for He is able to help us to see each one for what it truly is--an invitation to grace.