7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring of water in the desert. The spring was beside the road to Shur. 8 He said, "Hagar, you are the servant of Sarai. Where have you come from? Where are you going?" "I'm running away from my owner Sarai," she answered. 9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, "Go back to the woman who owns you. Obey her." 10 The angel continued, "I will greatly increase the number of your children after you. You will have more of them than anyone can count." 11 The angel of the Lord also said to her, "You are now pregnant. You will have a son. You will name him Ishmael. That is because the Lord has heard about your suffering. 12 He will be like a wild donkey. He will use his power against everyone. And everyone will be against him. He will not be friendly toward any of his relatives." 13 She gave a name to the Lord who spoke to her. She called him "You are the God who sees me." That's because she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."
This passage tells of the trials of Hagar, the maid of Sarai. Sarai was unable to conceive so she sent Hagar to Abram, hoping Hagar would bear a child in her place. When Hagar became pregnant, however, animosity developed between the two women. Sarai's mistreatment caused Hagar to run away into the desert. There God intervened and encouraged her. She knew He truly understood her struggle, and as a result, she felt deeply known by God. She even named God: "You are the God who sees me." This gave her the strength to go back and fulfill her responsibilities to Sarai in the midst of tough circumstances.
Like Hagar, our kids desperately long to be seen and known by their parents. How can we do this? By taking time to discover and celebrate their interests. By appreciating their unique qualities no matter how different they are from our own. By listening to their perspective on life. When we discover and value our kids' God-given uniqueness, they feel known and accepted.
Parenting by Design Daily Devotional, 4/23/13