I bought Raviolis because I was tired and it seemed easy. All kids love raviolis, right?
Apparently, not mine.
The three-year old flat out refused.
I got mad when she wouldn’t try a real bite. I told her, “You are going to eat this bite or you’re not eating!”
She cried, and took the bite. Then she said she didn’t like it, and I told her she could have bread.
Then I gave in and made her something else. And she got strawberry milk.
I asked the other two if they liked their lunch. They were all, “Yes, Mama, I like it.”
I realized I probably scared them out of not liking it when I spoke so harshly to their sister.
“It’s okay if you don’t like it, just tell me and I won’t buy it again.”
My son says, “Well, I don’t like it.”
My other daughter, the oldest, says, “I love it. I just love it!”
So I’m in the kitchen and I’m fixing my own lunch and I hear crying. I look over to the table and my sweet Ella, the one who “loves” the Raviolis, has her head down and she can’t stop the tears.
“What’s wrong, honey?”
“I want to like the food because you bought it and it makes you happy if I like it.“
“Ella, I am so sorry. You don’t have to like it, you can’t help what you like and don’t like. And you are not responsible for making me happy – look at me – it is not your job to make me happy. Will you forgive me for putting you in a place that made you feel like you had to make me happy? I shouldn’t have been harsh with your sister. I want you to be who God made you to be, and it’s okay to not like things I like. You be you! Do you understand? You make me happy just because you’re mine.”
Her lips go from quivering to smiling.
“I give you permission to not make me happy. You are free to like or not like what you want. I love you all the same.”
The smile expands.
I pour her some cereal, and the day goes on.
And now I understand how the Father loves so well.
I don’t have to please Him. I already do, just because I’m His.
Love, Sarah MaeLeave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I can relate to Ella. I’m a people-pleaser. I remember eating a lot of things my mom would fix and would eat it because I knew she prepared it and wanted me to like it. I ate (and liked) salmon souffle….what child likes salmon souffle?? Now, yes…then, no. The thing with people-pleasers is that we grow up, not only thinking we have to please others and keep everyone happy, but that we need to please God. I, mistakenly, thought that God would be disappointed in me, would get fed up with me and my failures, and the worst fear – would turn His back on me if I didn’t please Him. I have learned that NOTHING could be farther from the truth. Nowhere in the Bible does it say God gets disappointed? That’s a human characteristic we place on God. God doesn’t get fed up. We cannot do anything to make Him love us more or less. When I finally let that truth sink in, what freedom I found. I suspect that Ella is a people-pleaser. How good of you to remind her that God loves her just as she is because He made her. She may need that reassurance a little more than the others. Blessing our children with the truth that they are loved just for who they are and letting them know they can’t earn God’s love is one of the best gifts we can give them. Raviolis?? my daughter hated them. My son, the people-pleaser, ate many a can of those awful things….hmmmm. Loved this.
Jeanne Takenaka says
Such wise words here, Bev. I needed this reminder as I interact with my boys today: “Blessing our children with the truth that they are loved just for who they are and letting them know they can’t earn God’s love is one of the best gifts we can give them.”
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Amen!! No earning 🙂
Bev, I did that with my kids to get them to try new foods. My youngest would try to please by eating it but my older daughter would argue with me and spit it out. God isn’t disappointed with us, He loves us.
That was so good. Thank you for sharing such a great life lesson.
Jeanne Takenaka says
This has been a life-changing lesson for me too. I don’t have to try to please God. I already do, because I am His. It’s so freeing to live with this mindset! I don’t have to earn His approval because I already have it. Understanding this truth has been transformational for me. I am continually amazed at how beautiful, passionate, and pure His love is for His children.
You did a beautiful job redeeming that hard moment with your children. 🙂
So glad I read this. Number 1 people pleaser here. Just realized I made the same mistake just the other day with my son, only I didn’t have the wisdom to redeem myself with him. Thank you for sharing.
Love this, Sarah! Our children teach us so much how He loves. Such a gift. Thanks for sharing!
Co Lawalata says
Thanks so much, to remember me how to love my kids. As our heavenly father loves us.
Because we are His, we belong to Him. We are so blessed
Ok, well this kind of wrecked me!
I have all teenagers now 13-17 (3 of them). I have been praying for the last several months to not take things personally when they are snarky. It’s so easy to slip into manipulation with them and I do not want to for one second. Correction is necessary or reminders and some consequences, but I never am given permission to manipulate them with my hurt feelings or anger. Thank You, Holy One, for guiding us. Keep reminding us to parent as You parent us. Amen
What a sweet way to show your children that as adults we aren’t always right. I know that’s not what the post was about but I wanted to point that out anyway. I remember growing up my mom would make us liver, and disguise it as Spanish rice. I didn’t like it at all but knowing how much effort she put in, I tried to eat it anyway. To this day I have never served my kids liver thinking they wouldn’t like it either (mistake on my part.) As we grow we learn it’s okay not to be the same, because God didn’t create us that way.
Have a blessed day,
Pearl Allard says
Beautifully written, Sarah Mae. Thanks for articulating so well what God has been teaching me, too. So thankful we can just be ourselves with Him!
Beautifully said at just the right time Sarah, thank you ❤❤
Julie Garmon says
This runs so deeply with me.
Thank you for sharing and for writing gut-level honest. All of a sudden I was a little girl again….remembering~~
Rebecca L Jones says
Being around children I thought I’d seen it all. I bought vegetarian vegetable soup with ABC’s, it was a hit even though one sweet little boy insisted he didn’t like vegetable soup. He would eat every bite and I had to make him phony macaroni, I have seen picky eaters, no eaters, thrower uppers and a woman who insisted on giving a baby a cup and not a bottle. But when mt mother got custody of two children, it was different. I’d never seen anyone not want PBJ or spaghettios, even fish sticks are a battle. You’d think I was giving them salmon souffle ala Bev. God loves us though, sometimes you have to laugh and sometimes cry.
Sarah Quezada says
What a beautiful, simple example of God’s love for us! I am so familiar with that gut ache to try and “please” God. I always need these reminders that there’s nothing I can do to earn that love. Thanks for writing!
Christin Slade says
A thousand times yes.
Beth Williams says
God loves us just the way we are-warts and all! The best way to “please” God is to be obedient to His will and calling on our lives. We will never ever lose His love for us! God made each of us different and He loves that about us! Just be yourself and if you don’t like a certain food-just say so and you will not lose God’s or your mama’s love!
Robin Chapman says
Oh, heavens. Thank you for this. My oldest is so like this, and I often wonder how to communicate that I don’t want her to feel responsible for my happy. Thanks for giving me some words… and for pointing my gaze upwards.
Beth Price-Almeida says
Oh wow! I have a 2 year old who is the pickest eater of ALL TIME! He will chew up food and then spit it out. It is so easy to lose my patience with him. A few days ago, I raised my voice at him and made him cry. I have never felt like more of horrible mother than in that moment. Thank you for this post!