MY wife and I both worked full time, but my office was at home, so I cared for our baby daughter during the day. It was a daily challenge for me to learn how to balance parenting and a career, for the two often seemed to collide. But with God's help I saw that each had a rightful place in my life, and one need not detract from the other.
As I prayed for guidance, I found common ground. Serving others and child rearing weren't competitive activities but mutually beneficial ones. Both required watchfulness, tenderness, compassion, nurturing, and prayer. The spiritual qualities I expressed in one activity strengthened my abilities in the other.
In working with our daughter, it helped to recognize her completeness as a child of God. I didn't have to shape and form her but to acknowledge what God had already created her to be. Man's true selfhood is the spiritual offspring, or reflection, of God. Man reflects God's perfection. Therefore each of us is spiritually endowed with the ability to feel peaceful, satisfied, and safe. We are loved by God and can feel His ministering presence, even if we have not fully demonstrated our true, spiritual being.
For my daughter to become bored was perhaps my greatest fear. When she ran out of things to do, I would give her a new activity; but she would soon lose interest. Then I realized that God is the source of all good ideas and that she, as His image, had just as much capacity to be inspired as I did.
I held back on prompting her with suggestions and let her follow God's leading. Soon she learned to keep productively and happily occupied for hours at a time. The Bible states, ``Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear'' (Isaiah 65:24). We were learning together that our Father-Mother, divine Mind, was providing us with all the ideas we needed.
As well as keeping my daughter happy, God's help proved invaluable in maintaining both her well-being and my productivity in my work.
One day when she was learning to stand, she grabbed a drawer handle on my steel desk to lift herself up. But the drawer was yanked open, and she fell and cut her lip on a corner. Fear, more than the cut itself, caused her to scream and cry.
As I turned to God in prayer, I remembered a statement from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science: ``The harmony and immortality of man are intact'' (p. 521). While the appearance was one of accident and discord, I knew this spiritual harmony was the truth of my daughter's real selfhood. I thought of her perfection as a child of God and her indestructibility and safety in His care. I assured her of God's presence and comforting love.
My business telephone rang. I felt I needed to answer it, but with a crying baby in the room, I wasn't sure what to do. Knowing God could meet everyone's needs, without delay, I reached for the receiver. As soon as I picked it up the crying stopped, and a peaceful quiet baby rested in my lap.
When the call was finished I saw that the cut had vanished; it was completely healed. My daughter was back to her happy self, and I could resume my office work.
Every legitimate demand upon our time can be met with grace and cheerfulness as we recognize and feel God's presence and power. His help is swift and dependable.