INTEGRITY: Time with God

As a parent, my personal time with the Lord is critical. It is so important because He is my source. My life is in Him. When I spend time with Him, I have Life to give to my children, to give to my husband, and to give to others throughout the day. Making my relationship to God the most important matter weaves an eternal thread that runs through my daily life.
Starting my day with the Lord helps me to hear him later. Here’s an example of when I really needed to hear Him:
It was another busy day! With five children and no more than eight years from the oldest to the youngest, I was on the go! Children to oversee, chores to do, food to cook. I didn’t mind administrating the jobs and doing the housework; but if I had to re-do things because of carelessness, this mother hen’s feathers got ruffled.
The linoleum floor in our family room/kitchen area was NOT user-friendly. It attracted dust, dirt particles, and scuff marks and then advertised them. Cleaning it meant scrubbing it on my hands and knees, a wearying task. Having completed this job one mid-morning, I was relieved to have that behind me.

A little later as we were preparing for lunch, each child was helping. Anna was helping with sandwiches, Patrick was pouring drinks, Will setting the table.

As Patrick tried to place the orange juice back on the fridge shelf, it slipped from his little hands and landed with a big PLOP on the floor, rupturing the side of the carton and sending orange juice under the fridge, under the stove, and covering my clean floor with its sweet, sticky liquid.
That was it. I had been working all morning, and I was undone. Seven-year-old Patrick just looked at me, waiting for my reaction. I did not disappoint him. I lost it. I fussed and fumed as I cleaned. He felt terrible, and so did I.
After cleaning it up, I fled to my room, closed the door, and began crying to the Lord. As I calmed down and began leafing through my Bible, He led me to this scripture: “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” But I read it this way: “You are worth more than a clean floor.” Then I understood. I had definitely messed up.
Patrick was of more value than a clean floor. That’s what he needed to know. Somehow I had everything all out of alignment. The clean floor was important, but not more important than my son’s worth. Of course, I went back to him and asked him to forgive me; and thankfully, he did.
This truth became one of the footers of the foundation of my home: Communicate to the children how valuable they are by how I treat them.

Now, did I mess up? Absolutely. But what if I had not been spending time with Father? Would I have run to him with my failure? Would I have been able to hear the truth he spoke to me in that moment that changed the way I parented? I don’t think so.
Cultivating a daily time with Father allows Him to change us.
Thankfully, He does.