Jesus and my Toddler

My suburban is always parked in my driveway. It usually has too many bug guts splattered on the windshield and too little gas in the tank. The #momlife sticker on the back window suggests to all other drivers how I spend most of my time and where my priorities lie. It also may explain why I am so distracted when I’m on the road, often driving with one hand reached in the backseat doesn’t make for a lot of awareness.

20180624_132711I am not a great car owner. Whenever my husband mentions that we should take it to the shop, my first reaction is to question whether that’s necessary and then procrastinate on making the appointment. I depend upon my car everyday, multiple times a day, but I don’t like to fill it with gas, spend money on it, or care for it in any way. In fact, I really only recognize my immense need for my car when it breaks down, usually due to my own procrastination to take care of it in the first place.

God commands us to have childlike faith, and since I have been a Christian all my life, this can be hard to achieve. My dependence on God often looks more like the way I depend upon my car, only appreciating His constant presence in my life when something breaks down.

After my car spends time in the shop, I usually go through a period of gratefulness that it is still in my driveway and hyper-sensitivity to all of its needs. But a few months down the road, I go back to taking it for granted and neglecting the blinking light by my speedometer. My walk with God often looks a lot like this. Whenever He sees me through a major change in my life, I praise Him and pray to Him constantly, fervently living to serve Him. When a few months have passed, I go back to weak prayers, obligatory Bible reading, and overlooking His many blessings.

Since entering motherhood, my inconsistent and noncommittal walk with God has changed. Someday, when my hair is gray and my son is grown, I am going to thank him for the many ways he taught me about authentic faith in Christ.20180611_191035

At three-years-old, his honest love for Jesus convicts me nearly every day, and motivates me to grow still closer to Him. His fascination with the most simplistic aspects of God’s creation convicts me that no matter how many times I see a bird in flight, it should still cause me to recognize God’s true character–a God of abundant love, sovereign over every detail.

His innocent questions about where Jesus lives convict me that perhaps my knowledge of the Lord has grown weary, and I no longer see Him as a constant companion. His profound connection and concern for a hurting acquaintance convicts me that I too should have compassion for all God’s people, following Jesus’ own example. 

His childlike faith has allowed me to see God through the eyes of a child–the way I used to see Him when I slept on princess sheets under a white-lace canopy.

My son weakly walked up to me last week and said, “Mommy, my tummy hurts.”

Since I’ve learned not to put a lot of stock into my toddler’s complaints, I aloofly said, “What do you want to do about that, bud?”

Completely unaware that I was about to experience one of those lasting moments, a moment I will look back on when he is well grown, he surprised me when he whispered, “I want to ask Jesus to come help me.”

And with that, he began to pray.

“Do you feel better now, bud?” I asked after he’d said amen.

With a grin, he looked at me and shouted, “I feel great!” and ran off to play with his brother.

20180701_131620It occurred to me in this intimate moment with my son that as an adult, my knowledge that the very presence of Jesus will not only diminish my pain but completely cancel it out has grown weak. I often find myself praying fervently to Him, yet feeling no change whatsoever after I say amen. This absence of answered prayer is not from a lack of God’s presence, but from a lack of childlike faith.

When I bow my head to pray, I must believe with as much passion as my toddler, that Jesus is ready, willing, and waiting to give me all that I desire.

This is authentic faith.

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A Gift from the King

I remember when I was a kid, and it was the night before my birthday or Christmas or Pajama Day, I would lie awake, smiling at the ceiling, with just the slightest trace of nervousness fluttering around in my chest–as if the air I was breathing had been charged with a startling energy. The notion of sleep was such an impossibility that I didn’t even attempt to close my eyes. I just lied there, thinking about how perfect my life was.

It’s not like my life was perfect. It’s just that none of the crap mattered because I knew tomorrow was going to be awesome. It’s as though, while I lied there dreaming of tomorrow, I could already experience the joy that I would encounter the next day. Now that is childlike faith.Person, Human, Female, Girl, Cap, Winter, Snow, Gloves

Things aren’t like that anymore.

I still have joy, but my life is so far from perfect that the word actually makes me grin more than anything. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time I stared at the ceiling in the middle of the night with an unmistakable giddiness in my heart. I do, however, recall staring at the ceiling on several occasions with worry swirling through my mind.

It is difficult to obtain a childlike faith when you are smack in the middle of adulthood.

Even though these moments of inexpressible joy are fewer than they used to be, they certainly still happen, and my adulthood has made me more aware of who deserves credit for these blissful moments.

It is the moments where your problems have not gone from your life, but they’ve gone from your thoughts. In these moments, you recognize what life is truly about. It is not worry. It is not finances. It is not career. It is not simply surviving from one moment to the next, fighting to enjoy a life of chaos.

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No. It is in these moments where God decides to stand up and command your mind to be still.

These moments, where childlike faith actually seems within reach, are the most unlikely of gifts. For these moments are utterly contrary to our earthly reality but undeniably in harmony with a Heavenly truth. For in these moments, you get to see a King bring a gift to His servant.