One of the first commands they have you teach your new puppy in obedience school is to, “look at me.” This is accomplished by showing the dog a treat and then moving the treat next to your face. Dogs don’t naturally enjoy eye contact, because in the wild it signals a threat. However, it is important for a family pet to be comfortable with people looking right in its face. I learned this when I was a teenager, with my Chow puppy.
Even though at the time I didn’t have any children, I knew enough about kids to say that my dogs were preparing me for child-raising. Sure enough, in many ways they did. As a mother of two special-needs children, I have had to work to teach them to look at me as well. They also have a difficult time with eye contact, so I remind them all day long.
A more humbling part of parenting is having to ask children to look to us when they are hurting, scared or confused. I know very well my weaknesses and limitations, but I have to put the fear of those aside and be strong for my children. I am so thankful that I do not have to parent all alone! Jesus is always with me, gently guiding and providing me with wisdom when I have run out of my own ideas.
The ironic thing is when I pray for wisdom, I usually hear Jesus say, “look at me.” He knows how I focus on my problems, allowing them to grow bigger and bigger, until they threaten to overcome me. As soon as I turn my eyes on Him, though, they shrink back down to size. I am so glad that God is bigger than all our fears, anxieties and worries. I am praying that more and more we can keep our eyes fixed on Him, the author and finisher of our faith.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2