By: Julie Paulsen
Do you have family stories that are told repeatedly? Stories how Suzie broke both her wrists at the same time, or your all-American family vacation that turned into a nightmare? And ladies, how many times have you recounted every detail of your birth stories? We’re women, who bothers counting, it’s the story shared most with girlfriends? In our house it was the “Story of the Crib Toy.”
Colleen, our first daughter was given one of those hanging crib toys that are strung from one side of the crib to the other, a swag toy that frees up Mommy for a few minutes. Today they’re made as floor toys which are much more extravagant and fun for baby! In our family, this one toy taught us how to train up each of our daughters. It all happened by accident we thought, but God was showing us very early in their little lives how each child would develop.
Colleen was an easy baby, quiet, calm and contented. Since she was our first, we assumed all of our children would lie on their back, very still, focusing in on the hanging toys. Her eyes would fix on the ball as if she was in the final round of a stare down competition. This baby could focus!
Eleven months later, along came Lesli, our little redhead, along with two holes in her heart. Her physical issues though didn’t slow her down much as an infant. Lesli would lie in the same crib, with the very same toy, with arms and legs flailing, using every ounce of her energy to smack the ball, making it move. After a few minutes her head was damp from exhaustion, forming little red ringlets. This baby had energy!
Fourteen months later, along came Heather…same crib, same toy, but a very different response! She would lie there and talk, talk, talk to the ball, or anything that happened to catch her eye, and she demanded eye contact! Her mouth moved constantly. This baby could communicate!
So, just what did we learn from our observations? We learned many lessons and I’ll share a few.
- God’s creations are perfect, exactly as He made them. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…, Jeremiah 1:5. This knowledge will deepen and build trust in our God, who knew our child before we did, and designed them according to His will and purposes.
- God’s design for each child is something to be studied by parents and used for training. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…, Ephesians 6:4. Jesus demonstrated his love for people by how He communicated with different people in different ways. He could see their hearts; we need to observe them to know each child’s heart.
- God saw much farther ahead than we did! Only He knew exactly what they needed to fulfill His purposes in their lives. He has given us all we need …that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:17. Praise be to God!
Through the years, in each stage of development, these character traits which were obvious at such a young age, continued to be seen in each girl. Colleen can focus, Lesli still has energy and Heather loves to talk! As parents it helped us in training, in educating and in disciplining.
I imagine you can rather easily pick out traits in your own children, Mom. Have fun observing your children. Build into who they are by encouraging them in the Word. Most of all don’t fear for the traits you would rather have changed. Trust God.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. – Corrie Ten Boom
JULIE PAULSEN is a mom to three grown daughters and the grandma to 12, almost 13! For her “empty nest” years she has invested her time in serving as a MOPS mentor mom and is passionate about prayer, revival, and living out the Titus 2 mandate. You can read her blog at: Laughing At Winter.