By: Betty Predmore
As I sat with my bible and my coffee this morning, the voice of my 8-year-old daughter drifted from down the hallway. She was lost in her own thoughts, singing a song that she made up in her head, oblivious to the fact that I could hear her. “I am a child of God!” she sang, repeating this verse over and over. I sat and listened, encouraged by the fact that even in her moments of total abandon, she recognizes her position as one of God’s precious children.
There is no doubt in her mind. No worry that God might love her brothers or sisters more, no apprehension of being “less than” in God’s eyes. She recognizes, as we all should, that we are all equal in the sight of God.
For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. (Galatians 3:26)
What about us as mothers? Do we make sure our children know they are equally loved? Or are we more like Jacob, pouring our love and attention into one specific child? My goal for my children is that they all love and appreciate each other, that they are there to encourage and support each other, and that they are each other’s strength long after I am gone. This cannot be achieved if they are resentful of one another, hurt by feelings of inadequacy, or insecure. So it is my job to make sure they all know how loved they are, how treasured they are, how very priceless they are to me. They are each so priceless….for their own unique reasons. They are gifts from God, designed to bring me so much joy and teach me so much about life, all from their own individual perspectives.
Ponder for just a moment this morning. Are you making sure to show equal amounts of love and attention to your children as you go through your day? Are you making sure you spend time in conversation with each of them, getting to know them for who they are? Is your hug as strong for one as it is for another? Are your moments of laughter shared with each of them? Or are you like Jacob, lovingly creating a beautiful cloak for one, while the others stand by and watch?
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors. (Genesis 37:3)
What about grown children? Do you pour all of your love and attention into one….clearly sending a message to the others that their place in your life is not equal? I know it sounds awful but I can assure you, it happens. Does it happen intentionally, or is it because sometimes a mother is just unaware? Did Jacob purposefully single out Joseph as his favorite or was he unaware of his actions, and the way they made his other sons feel?
But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peacefully to him. (Genesis 37:4)
I try to be careful about this. When I send out an “I love you” or “I miss you” message to my adult children, I make sure to include them all. If I call one of them and talk on a certain day, I will call another the next day. My love for them, my hugs, my acceptance of them…all equal. Sure, there are times when I spend more time or focus on one or the other, but always, my love for them is equal. I don’t want my kids getting together and plotting the demise of one of them out of resentment and bitterness, like Joseph’s brothers did. And while I knew they would never plot to kill or sell off a sibling, they might build up resentful, hurt, bitter hearts towards each other. And oh, how sad that would make my mama heart!
There is a lot to be learned from Jacob and Joseph. There is wisdom there, staring us in the face, telling us not to make the same mistakes. When we raise our children in confidence of who they are, of Whose they are, they are assured of their value. When we love and nurture them, and appreciate them for the special things that make them unique, they are confident. When we approach parenting with a sense and purpose of equality, we build them up. When we assure them not only of our love for them, but of God’s great love for them, we give them the freedom to sing in their moments of abandon, “I am a child of God.”