“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1:19 ESV)
When I became a mother of one, I was so engulfed in her. Not to the point where she became my life, but I was in tune with every move, thought, and feeling she had. I filled her cup often, to the point where she wasn’t a needy child, but a giver. The love she felt at home spilled over onto her friends.
Then I had a baby…
For the first 6 months everything was “normal”. The baby ate and slept, and I remained being in tune with my now oldest daughter. What I didn’t realize is what was brewing inside of her.
I learned a long time ago, mainly from being married to my husband, that you hear the loudest by watching and interpreting. Often, when someone is hurt or in need, they respond in ways other than saying “Hey, look over here, I’m needy, my cup needs to be filled.” They react in many other, sometimes adverse, ways.
Time passed and I noticed my oldest started reverting to acting like a toddler. My daughters are four and a half years apart, so she was no longer a toddler. This transition into “kid-hood” was new to both of us. I started noticing that my daughter’s cup was getting empty. The whining increased (50% of that came with being 5) and she began to crave attention or even be sure to affirm that if someone mentioned something that her younger sister did that she could do it too. As a mother, that was painful to watch because I wanted her 5, now 6, year old self, not a replica of her toddler sister. I didn’t want her to be needy at all.
My daughter’s cup was empty…
I prayed and reached out to God with ways that I could fill her. I wanted to take her on errands alone with me or even out to eat, but those weren’t the things she wanted to do. So they really didn’t have a lasting impact. God whispered to me and told me that all she needed to be filled with was my undivided attention. “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13 ESV) I was providing answers, but did not hear her. All she wanted was me and her, on her terms, playing dress up or make-up without being interrupted by, “stop that, put that down, hold on Sweetie, Mommy’s listening but hold on,” as I multitasked with managing her younger sibling.
One day I stopped and listened. I listened with my heart and became open and available. When the first opportunity came, we hopped in my bed, watched her favorite Disney movie, with popcorn (yes in the bed) and sporadic moments of ballet routines during commercials. She enjoyed it and eventually opened the door and asked for her sister to join us.
She was full…again.
It didn’t take much, but I learned that not only do I need to have quality time on her terms, but I need to be consistent. Giving undivided time is hard when you are a busy mom. It’s a challenge. But wise counsel has informed me that if I don’t spend this time now, I will regret it later.
Thank You for being so patient with me and for answering my cry when I call. I thank You for quickening my spirit to hear Your voice and to empower me to put your commands into action. It is my prayer that every mother has the ability to hear what their children are saying to them and fill their cups as You have ordained us to be able to do. May You give all of us a heightened sensitivity to the needs of our children so that we can fill them with Your love, joy, peace, and mercy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Mommies, Aunties, Sisters, and Mentors, I EMPOWER you to be quick to listen. Odd behavior is usually the result of a need. I EMPOWER you to seek God to help you fill the cups of our children by giving them what they need.
Are your children’s cups empty?
As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a university administrator. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NIV) Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Her passion is mentoring young women and marriage empowerment. She resides in Orange Beach, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They are members of New Beginnings Christian Center in Foley, AL.