“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
I remember counting the months before my babies were born, and counting the months before my adopted baby became legally ours. As parents, we spend quite a bit of time counting, and so do our children.
We count fingers and toes, cries from our babies, the number of times we are awakened in the middle of the night, the smiles, the chortles, the spit ups, the diapers. They count on us to answer every cry and provide every need.
We count the words they form, the teeth that have come in, the number of diapers it takes to get through a day, and then the number of underwear changes when they are potty training, and the number of times they want a drink or one more story or one more hug or to crawl into our beds and be cuddled. They count on us to show them how they should be, how they should act, and what is acceptable. They count on our unconditional love and attention.
We count to make sure there are an equal number of gifts around the Christmas tree for all the kids. They count on us to be there, to be fair, and love them unconditionally.
Counting the days until the first school day starts and then the hours until we get to pick them back up and hold them, our grown up babes in kindergarten. We count with them, proud of their efforts, jubilant when they have it memorized, certain we have the smartest little ones ever born. We count the days until their birthday, the number of candles, the people who will celebrate with us. They count on us to model what is expected, to keep our promises, and to continue to teach them by our actions what they need to know including our unconditional love.
We count the coughs or fevers or illness before we know we have to go to the doctor’s office or hospital. We count the days until they play again. We count the monsters in the closet and the ones under the bed. They count on us to make it better and to banish or calm fears.
We count throughout their childhood, the days before school starts, the days until the breaks, the days until summer, and repeat it again. We count their hurts, their failures, their mistakes, and do our best to make it so that these don’t count when it comes to how they feel about themselves or see themselves or allow it to impact them in a negative way. They count on us to show them how to overcome the hurts, to learn from the failures, to forgive their mistakes, and love them unconditionally.
We count the number of seatbelts in the car so we’ll know how many of their friends we can take with us, and we do this because we know that those moments definitely count as important for them, for their social well-being. They count on us to set boundaries, to be consistent, fair, and honest. And always, to love them unconditionally.
When they drive, we count the minutes until they return home. When they date, we count the minutes until they return home. When they take a job, we count the minutes until they return home. They count on us to let them go, to let them grow, and love them unconditionally even when they make costly mistakes, explode with teenaged drama and angst, and because they aren’t adults yet but want to be, they count on us to know that and give them an extra measure of grace.
I think we do so much counting because we realize that, as parents, what we do counts in the lives of our children. That’s why choices matter so much. The choices we make , the actions we take, the words we speak, and the decisions we reach count to them. We may not always see or think what we do has an impact, but it does. They, our children, count on us to do right, to choose good, and to act with them in mind. And, yes, we make oodles of mistakes along the way. They count on us to own them and right them, just as we count on them to forgive us and accept their parents are, indeed, human.
Sometimes the things we count as important aren’t as important to them though we want them to see from our perspective. Someday maybe they will when they are parents. Sometimes what we think isn’t as important is vital to them; when we know that, we need to re-evaluate our own thinking and sometimes see through their eyes so that we will know how to make it right, how to either lessen their perceived relevance or understand its significance to them.
I don’t think the counting ever ends.
It’s been exactly 48 hours since I’ve heard that he’s okay. The news of the green on blue attacks is terrifying. The resurgence of them defies comprehension. So I’m counting. Counting on God’s promises, counting on God’s sovereignty, counting on He who breathed life to this child twenty something years ago to hold him in the palm of His hand. I’m counting on peace that passes understanding because though I have the information, it doesn’t bring peace. Every son and daughter, mother and father, brother and sister who is there, however, counts. And they are counting on our support and our prayers.
Count with me.
Lord, let these lives that are serving and those sacrified count for your glory, your purpose, your will. And give us the courage, strength and integrity at home to make what we do here count for them, count for those here, and count for You.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
From Chip Ingram’s Walk Thru the Bible about God’s sovereignty:
- God is above all things and before all things. He is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. He is immortal, and He is present everywhere so that everyone can know Him (Revelation 21:6).
- God created all things and holds all things together, both in heaven and on earth, both visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16).
- God knows all things past, present, and future. There is no limit to His knowledge, for God knows everything completely before it even happens (Romans 11:33).
- God can do all things and accomplish all things. Nothing is too difficult for Him, and He orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible with Him (Jeremiah 32:17).
- God is in control of all things and rules over all things. He has power and authority over nature, earthly kings, history, angels, and demons. Even Satan himself has to ask God’s permission before he can act (Psalm 103:19).
Great work. Wonderful reading for a Sunday.
Thank you, Judy!