Isn’t it funny the ways in which God talks to us? Sometimes I wonder if he wants to just spell out in the stars what he wants me to learn, or maybe it sometimes it would take a cosmic explosion to get my attention. He could do that, I know. He could use any means imaginable or even unfathomable to communicate with me. Yet sometimes he chooses the seemingly smallest ways to carry big pieces of heart information.
Today it came in waves.
The first wave came when I was explaining substitutionary atonement and the redemptive story of Easter in a way that I thought my four year old and two year old might understand. I was stumbling along and then I hit my stride. “This is going really well” I thought. “They are paying attention. They might even be really understanding this!” Then Braxton, my sweet, spunky, Braxton who is never one to not express exactly what he is thinking or feeling says something profound, dare I say even spirit driven: “My put peanut butter up mine nose!”
Hayleigh instantly burst out laughing and suddenly beating the deep meaning of the story of Easter into their kiddie brains didn’t seem so crucial. I might have thought this moment called for a re-direction, maybe it called for a reminder that peanut butter belongs on bread and not bodily oraphus, maybe a wipe? Instead the moment called for nothing more than laughter, and yes, a wipe.
I have been praying and seeking out to understand the gentleness of God more. I mentioned before how this was an attribute of God that seemed so distant to me. God has been revealing scripture that speaks to his tenderness, gentleness and patience as he parents me and I have been trying to apply that as I parent my babies. In that moment, as we laughed about the peanut butter in the nostrils, God sent me a thought: As Jesus called the little children to come to him and as they sat on his lap and as he talked with them and loved on them I wonder if one of them was like my Braxton. I wonder if one of them spoke whatever was on his mind, even when it had absolutely nothing to do with the topic of conversation. I am sure one of them did. Oh, how I would love to see the creator and sustainer of the universe throw his head back and laugh at this spunky kid’s musings. I bet all the kids would have joined in laughing. What a beautiful chorus of kids laughing with innocent silliness with the master.
The next wave came in the form of this article from Desiring God. This is a lovely and poignant reminder of what really matters as we parent. As I was convicted that I need to avoid parental amnesia and keep my sights set on tomorrow (tomorrow being my kids’ adulthood) and eternity as the article points out God stuck me yet again with a nugget of truth.
Our children are not mindful of eternity, but we need to be. This does not mean that every moment is structured and a teachable moment as I would tend towards in my intentionality. In fact, the opposite might be more important in the little years. Sometimes, as I fix my sights on tomorrow and the eternal I need to take more moments to just laugh with my kids. I need to take more time to just let them be kids and love them where they are. They don’t need to be enraptured by the story of the cross yet. They don’t need to have a spiritual “aha” moment But I can show them the unconditional love of Christ just the same. I can create pathways in their brains and in their hearts now so that someday they can fully embrace and understand the life changing love of God. Whether that means holding my Roycie Girl longer than is convenient, or stroking the face of my sometimes belligerent boy in the midst of his mood swings, or cuddling on the couch watching a “rest-time show” during the middle of the afternoon while my to-do list sits on hold-I can try to show the gentle sacrificial love of Christ to my kids now. I can prepare them so that someday the story of the love that made Easter makes some sense.
Sometimes lessons come in big packages from behind pulpits or from the worn pages of a favorite Bible passage. But sometimes God speaks in the everyday. I am so grateful for a God who loves me and my kids with a passionate and gentle love-so much so that he would love all of us to spend some time sitting on his lap laughing and learning together.