My oldest daughter, a mom to three boys ages four and under, often declares “Eyes!” to my grandsons. She wants to ensure her directions, encouragements, and proclamations are clear and heard. Seeing their eyes increases the chances that they’ll heed her instructions. After all, two three-year old twins and one four-year old have multiple distractions at any given point in the day; wrestling, jumping, cars, towers, forts, tools, and you-name-it are all viable contenders for their attention.
As moms—and grammies—we’re really not so different from our active preschoolers and bouncing toddlers. There are multiple noteworthy attention competitors in our lives. Piles of laundry, social media, exercise, driving our kids to and from their activities, concern over the milestones our children “must” achieve or exceed, what our friends are doing or not doing, meal planning, and the rest of our mile-long list make for impressive, excuse-worthy reasons for distracted mothering, and, worse, distracted Christ-following.
Jesus, too, summons us with, “Eyes.” He begs us to make eye contact. Hebrews 12:1-2 (CSB) reads:
"Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Motherhood is a race. A marathon with daily demands in each leg of the race. Lap after lap after lap, moms run with occasional pauses for air.
The only way to persevere on the motherhood track is to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” When we veer off-course, looking away from God for our satisfaction, relief, pleasure, or sustenance, we’ll miss his message for us. We’ll get caught up in short-sighted goals or temporary, lesser important targets for our kids.
Colossians 3:1-2 emphasizes the eternal mindset we’re to have, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” When our mothering and grandmothering eyes roam from earthly thing to earthly thing, we miss the joy and the eternal hope God has called us to.
When my pastor-husband and I were in the throes of raising our three children, it was easy to set my eyes on teaching them to read, and on lofty, unrealistic expectations for doing everything right from family time to sibling time to dinner time. As they grew older, my eyes often glazed over from concerns for friendships, homework, and wishing for their success in every extracurricular activity. These weren’t bad things to care about and focus on, but good things shouldn’t take our eyes off the greatest thing—our triune God. His plan is bigger than what our eyes can see. Good things are good when we see them as from the Lord, as under, through, because of, and for the Lord.
When are eyes aren’t on him, the laundry pile will seem monstrous, the energy-sapping lack of sleep will feel unending and overwhelming, and the sheer strength required for parenting will seem out of reach. Conversely, when our eyes are on him, our perspective alters.
Springtime in Iowa ushers in long-awaited warmer weather. With that comes what my grandchildren gleefully define as “yellow flowers,” otherwise known as dandelions. This spring, several of our six grandchildren exclaimed, “Grammy, look at the beautiful yellow flowers!” In response, I couldn’t help but concur, “Oh, Yes, they’re so pretty—yellow flowers!”
What grown-ups see as weeds and nuisances, children see as “yellow flowers” and signs of spring and summer. So it is when our eyes are on him. Laundry stains can serve as a reminder of a day fully lived, and crumbs on the floor can cause us to be thankful for the food God provides for our children; instead of comparing ourselves and our kids to others, we can rejoice that God uniquely created each one in his image with good works for us to do.
Eye contact with our Lord and Savior helps us rejoice in our salvation and the gift of salvation available for our children and grandchildren. In the midst of overly done supper, undone projects, long grass, short tempers, empty milk jugs, and full plates he redirects our gaze to the things above.
The words of Psalm 121:1-2 wash over us with the reminder of strength which comes from eyes looking for him, at him, and on him. “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
Moms, grammies, we help little ones all day long and all night short. We cannot help without our Helper. Eyes. He beckons us—eyes on your Helper.
 Gen. 1:27, Eph. 2:10
Kay is a pastor’s wife, mom to three grown children, mother-in-law to three amazing spouses of her kids, and “Grammy Kay” to six grandchildren (soon to be seven) ages four and under. Kay recently graduated from Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University with a M.A. in Ministry Leadership. Kay loves the Church world-wide and her multi-site church, Prairie Lakes Church, in Iowa, where she currently leads the prayer ministry, writes sermon curriculum, mentors, and co-hosts their small group, along with her husband, John. Kay enjoys creating prayer journals for her grandchildren, running, writing, and cooking freezer meals when she’s not playing or helping with her grandchildren, which, in this “blink-of-an-eye” season, trumps all other “extra-curricular” activities.