As a young girl, my first ideas of what God was like were connected to my ideas of what my earthly father is like. Because of that, to me, God was interested in me and in the things I was interested in, but he was not too intimately involved in the details. He was always there in a pinch, could fix almost any problem, and always came to my rescue. It was a comfortable, dependable, and fairly predictable relationship. It was very safe. I am thankful for it.
I think girls tend to marry men rather like their fathers. Sometimes that is a good thing, sometimes, not so much. For me, I found the very best of my father in my husband, Matthew. In many ways they are similar, but in others they are very different. Still, it was the qualities I loved most about my dad that first drew me to my husband. I think that is very cool.
I remember one of the first times Matthew rode in my car, he thought he needed to check the oil. (I didn’t know why, something about a pretty yellow light on my dashboard…) He checked it, and apparently I was a quart low. He happened to have a quart on hand, and put it in my car. Just like my dad. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
I have grown in my faith over the years. It has changed the way I see God, and the way I think God sees me. The biggest thing that has changed about the way I view God is that I believe he is more intimately involved in my life than I realized. He’s not watching from a safe distance, ready to jump in and intervene at a moment’s notice, he is right there, close as a breath, all the time. It’s like the old hymn I used to sing,
“He walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own…”
I have recently noticed something about the way I parent. I love my parents, and I think they did a stellar job raising me, if I do say so myself, but there are differences in the job they did and the job I think I am doing. My parents often tell me I need to back off a bit in my parenting. They think I might be too intimately involved in my children’s lives. They tell me that my kids will figure most things out on their own, and that I should just be available if they need me. I think they think I meddle. Okay, sometimes I meddle.
But recently, a light bulb went on in my head. My parents parented me according to the way they see God parenting them. I parent my kids the way I see God parenting me. I don’t see God standing at a distance, interested, but just diligently watching. I see him all up in my life, leading, directing, protecting and loving. He talks to me, and I talk to him. I share with him my hopes, dreams, fears, and failures. I am his.
I can’t fathom not being up close and involved with my children. It’s how God parents me and it’s my best example. I want my kids to look at me and Matthew and the way we parent, and realize that’s how God wants to be with them. He wants to be as up close and personal as he can be.
The Bible talks about the spiritual relationship God wants to have with us as being like the physical relationship is between a man and woman in marriage. That’s pretty close. And for a child of God, there can be nothing better than knowing that He wants to be that close.
Take a look back at the way your parents parented you. Do you think it has affected the way you see God and his relationship with you? Does the way you see God influence the way you parent your kids? Is that a good thing for your kids? If not, could it be you need to change the way you see God?
Remember, the way your kids see you may well influence the way they see God.