I helped her stand. Most of her strength is gone, or at least enough of it, to keep her from getting around on her own. At 75, her body no longer does what she wishes it could. And so I lifted my mom from her wheelchair and helped her settle in for a nap. These ordinary tasks are frustrating reminders to her of what she can and can’t do at this stage of her life.
As I sat next to her that afternoon, I reminded her that it wasn’t her activities, or what she could do that was important. Her presence was enough. Her presence was needed. Her presence was valuable.
And so it is with us. I have been reminded that one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children is their presence. In a culture that is dizzy with motion, ambition, information, opportunities, and entertainment, our homes need a parent’s presence more than anything. Faithfulness isn’t just about what we do, but faithfulness is also about being fully alive where we are – at home.
In Mark 3:13-14, we read that Jesus called his disciples to come be with him before he would send them out for him.
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.”
Presence isn’t just about proximity; presence is about purpose. Jesus used his presence for the purpose of teaching, loving, preparing, nurturing, showing, and then, sending. Jesus desired to be present with his disciples for the purpose of preparing his disciples.
As a parent, sometimes one of the toughest places to be faithfully and fully alive is at home. It’s easy to be in close proximity to family, but not be fully present with them or for them. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is the gift of ourselves.
Present with our time.
Present with our attention.
Present with our affections.
Present with purpose.
Present with us.
As parents, we know there is a day when our children will grow up and leave us. Let us not miss the value of them first being with us. We cannot give them faith, but we can give them the gift of faithfully being present with them.