(Written by Misty Smith)
I’m here. I see you. I understand. I care.
Therapists call these the “be with attitudes.” When I’m working with families with small children, I encourage them to practice being present with their child and then observe how their behavior is positively influenced. Children want to know you are with them, you see them, you understand them, and you care for them. When they feel loved in these ways, less acting out occurs.
Don’t we all want to feel these things though? Haven’t we all acted out at some point just to get others to see us? We want others to know what we’re going through. We want them to be with us, not only in our joy, but to sit with us in our pain too.
Jesus is the best at the “be with attitudes.”
To the woman at the well he said, “I see you. I see that others are chastising you. I understand that you’ve been rejected by many. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through.” (John 4:1-26)
To Zaccheus he said, “I see you in that tree! And I care! Let’s go to your house together.” (Luke 19:1-10)
To the paralyzed man, he saw his faith and need for salvation. He responded by offering his presence to this man for eternity: “Son, your sins are forgiven. Get up take your mat and walk!” (Mark 2:1-12)
I don’t always practice being present with my kids. There are times when my toddlers throw fits and my response is, “I see you. And I need you to STOP!”
But God scoops us up when we’re looking our ugliest and loves us despite our fits, and despite our shortcomings as parents. He is present with us in our sin and in our sainthood. He sees us in every moment, the good and the bad, and His gaze never changes–He always looks at us with love and compassion. He always understands. He always cares.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”) Isaiah 7:14
The Holy Spirit lives in us! That a most Holy God would consider us worthy to live in our bodies is just incredible! He has promised to never leave us or forsake us.
He is forever present. He is always with us. He is Immanuel, God with us.
Meditate on that and thank God for it. Allow the impact his presence has on you to influence how you are present with your children. Look them in the eyes when they feel sad and respond with compassion. Snuggle up with them and really listen to what they are saying. Sit down on the ground and play with them. Love them both in their sin and in their well-doing.
And teach them that God is with them always.
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
As moms, God is always with us too. This precious reminder is tucked in at the end of the Great Commission. After Jesus calls us to make disciples, he reminds us God is with us. He must have anticipated we would feel scared and alone at times. Surely he knew the task of discipling children would be a challenging one! So He reminds us we are not alone, He is with us, He sees us, He understands, and He cares.