I have a confession to make.
Several times a year when I gather up the boys’ toys to donate to the Salvation Army and Social Services, I make sure they are either at school or asleep. Doing otherwise results in the inevitable cries of, “Oh, I forgot about this!” or “Oh, my favorite toy!” even though they haven’t played with it for a year.
Until my oldest son surprised me. And in an instant, I realized I should never underestimate the power of the Spirit to work in a child.
My husband and I were in the family room going through toy chests when I heard the pitter-patter of little feet.
“What are you doing?” my firstborn asked. My heart dropped and I told him a half-truth. I was organizing the toys. Which, technically, I was. But when I looked across the room at my husband, I could tell we were both thinking the same thing.
We needed to be honest. He was old enough, and he could help. I held my breath as my husband explained we were gathering toys to give away.
“We want to make sure other kids who less fortunate have a good Christmas too,” Daddy said.
I explained that we wanted to give our best so we could honor the families who would receive these gifts. As I looked at the amount of stuff lying on the floor, I knew we had been blessed with much. But did my son? I waited to see how he would react.
Then, he amazed me.
He began gathering things and placing them in the bag, which was nearly full already. Not just thoughtless items but items he and his brother played with and loved. And what surprised me most? He didn’t want to stop.
As I watched me son in awe, all I could say repeatedly was, “Thank you.” To my son, yes. I told him how proud I was and how grateful we were for his giving attitude. But inwardly I thanked God.
Often, I think my husband and I are doing this parenting gig alone. I feel inadequate on a daily basis and I second-guess decisions more often than I’d like to admit. I forget there is a third party involved, which although invisible, is the most important influence in my child’s life.
I forget about the Holy Spirit.
When I pray, asking God to help me be an example for these kids he’s entrusted into my care, he listens. When I ask him to fill in the spaces where I am lacking, he hears me.
Even when I don’t know what to ask for or how to pray, he sees.
And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Romans 8:27 NIV
Let’s not underestimate the power of the Counselor who lives in us.
The same power which arose Jesus from the grave is accessible to us everyday, if we are in Him. We simply have to believe. We have to ask. We abide in him and seek even those answers we may not like.
And when he moves and stirs hearts in those moments we least expect it, we fall on our knees, we give thanks, and we know with new certainty: our help comes from him.