Snow was predicted in the mountains with a drop to 29 degrees predicted for the rest of the day. Life had been going at a frantic pace for some months, and it suddenly dawned on me that I would have one of my children at home alone for a rare afternoon. Tasks were always a present part of my life, but a rare moment in which to build deep friendship and trust with my child would not come unless I interrupted this day, to tie the threads of my heart to hers.
“Lord, how can I use this day to invest in the heart of my sweet little one to make her feel special?”
Immediately, I knew what I would do—create a special little “Let’s celebrate Joy,” luncheon. I quickly made a little personal invitation for her to have lunch with me and slipped it under her bedroom door.
Next, surveying the fridge and what was inside gave me some ideas that would delight her. Always, finger sandwiches seemed somehow like a treat to her, as well as gold fish crackers, chocolate and her favorite salad and tea. The roses a friend had given to me became the center-piece and I laid my little tea table by the window with utmost care as though the queen herself would be in attendance. Tiny little porcelain birds held tea light candles, china teacups were added, and music wafted in the background.
I gently knocked on her bedroom door, and said, “Is my little princess ready to attend luncheon?”
Smiling from ear to ear, she peaked out the door to see if someone else was near.
“What is the special occasion, Mommy? Is one of your friends coming for lunch today?”
“No, I said. This is the day I want to celebrate you because you are such a gift to me. I never get you all to myself and so I wanted to make this a momentous occasion for just you and me.”
Little 10-year-old Joy hugged me as though she would not let me go. She grabbed my hand and held it fast as we walked downstairs where she gasped and said, “Oh, mommy, I feel like such a princess.”
The next 45 minutes, we chatted, laughed, and I think I heard every thought, fear, dream and idea she had held fast in her little heart for the past month. As we chatted, with her heart so wide open to me, the Lord prompted me to tell her just how much I loved her. But even more, how much the Lord loved her and had such special plans for her life. In a short period of time, I could see the seeds of faith, dreams and vision planting deep into her heart so easily, as I had prepared the soil with my love and attention.
Now these years later, as she prepares to go to college in another state, I am happy that I know this day rests in her memory.
Years of parenting had taught me that if I wanted my children to love the God I loved, they needed me to show my focused attention to them individually, to invest special time with them, building our friendship, caring for their needs, listening to their heart—so that my words of truth would not be indoctrination, but a transfer of His love through my love.
Tea time discipleship is the term I landed on over the years of inviting my children by themselves into my room to tie the strings of my heart, and God’s message, to theirs. For the boys, it was mugs of hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie; the girls liked tea and cookies and everyone liked chocolates. But for each, it was days and months and years of making focused time, little by little, in which to invest the truths He wanted me to share, that would be there in their little souls for them to draw from the rest of their lives.
After years of ministry to moms, I am thrilled to be launching Mom Heart Online today! Mom Heart Online is a site devoted to the encouragement, inspiration and training of moms all over the world. Mom Heart Online is one part of our larger Mom Heart Ministry vision to start an international movement of small groups for mothers to restore moms’ hearts to God’s heart for motherhood. We believe that God designed a mother not only to give life biologically, but also to give life spiritually to her children, her home, and the world around her. Motherhood was in the heart of God at creation, is affirmed throughout Scripture, and is a critical and strategic part of God’s design for the family. We’re here to help you become the woman and mother God designed you to be. I would love for you to join me there! Visit www.momheart.org!