• Pippa Botha

A pencil on the pillow

One of my all time favourite memories is of Willem as a young child discovering a pencil on his pillow after school.

Unknown to me, Willem needed a new pencil and had prayed that Jesus would give him one. A friend came to tea that morning and placed a pencil on each child's pillow before leaving. She had no idea of Willem’s prayer. She just felt somehow that the little gift would convey the message that the children were precious to her and remembered by her. Her gesture did more than she could have imagined. It told of a Father who hears prayers spoken in secret and responds to His children’s needs. It conveyed the message that we are precious to God and remembered by Him!

If I had known that Willem needed anything, I would have gone out and bought it for him. Because I didn’t know, I couldn’t get involved and God could show Willem more about Himself.

We are often tempted to play god in our children's lives. When they need something, we feel compelled to provide it. When they are hurting we must fix it. When they are stressed we must relieve it. We are always in the, comforting, helping, feeding...often irritating but always excusing ourselves that we are doing what's best for them. In my mind's eye, I see my child looking for God and wanting to learn more about Him but between him and God is me, rushing around very busily doing what's “best” and not realizing that I’m blocking his view. All my child can see is me!

The story of the pencil reminds me to get out of the way so that the focus can fall on the One who is worthy of attention. The One who is there when I cannot be. The One who is dependable and trustworthy, faithful and true. The story of the pencil convinces me to trust God with my children’s needs, to consult Him about their issues before I blunder in to fix them and to surrender to His instructions even when He says I must leave it to Him.

My calling as a mother is not to be the centre of my children’s attention but rather the director of their attention onto God!


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