It was Sunday morning before church. The two oldest grandkids had slept over at our house the night before. Our ten year old grandson was sitting at the table eating his Frosted Flakes while I hung that day's title of Jesus on my little Christmas tree in the dining room. "Do you have I AM on one of those tags?" he asked. "I AM is my favorite name of God. God told Moses to tell the people that I AM had sent him. I really like that name." Our conversation was less than a couple of minutes, but we talked about how I AM means that God exists, but it also means He is everything we need. I AM your Savior. I AM your deliverer. I AM your healer. Yes, He is everything we need.
That morning after church one of the young mamas came to me saying her daughter has been asking her a lot of questions about God's eternal nature. Her youngest daughter was struggling to comprehend that God wasn't created, didn't come from something or someone, but always was and always will be. "She's got so many questions!", she told me.
I was kneeling next to the tub full of bubbles, helping my five year old granddaughter to wash her hair. While I scrubbed we were singing, "Ho! Ho! the mistletoe hung where we can see, somebody waits for you, kiss her once for me!" This started a whole conversation about mistletoe and if you have to kiss whoever is under it even if you don't know them and other important five year old wonderings. Suddenly she blurted out, "At school, L. said girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys and I said no they can't, so I asked the teacher and she said L. was right. Then at "carpet time" E. said that God isn't real and in my head I thought He is too real!" There in the tub, her head crowned with shampoo suds, all of the important, hard questions and thoughts she had been holding inside since school that morning came tumbling out.
Maybe it's because I was such a tender hearted kid myself. I felt everything deeply and had a propensity to ponder deep things. Maybe that's why I have a passion to make children feel heard, to let them know that their thoughts and their feelings matter. When Daddy left, Mama just did her best to survive and make a stable life for us. No one, not one person, talked to nine year old me about how I felt, how I was doing. I would lay in bed, tears running down my face, and talk to my friend, Jesus, about it all. God used my childhood loneliness to drive me close to His heart, but He also has used it to make me more sensitive to the feelings, questions and thoughts of children.
On a recent podcast I heard Ravi Zacharias say, "The older you get the more it takes to fill your heart with wonder, and only God is big enough for that." It caused me to think about how precious the childhood years are and how aware we need to be of the teachable moments when little hearts are tender and little minds are questioning. We must be alert to these moments, sensitive to really listen, and smart enough to know that it's less about knowing how to answer perfectly and more about making the child feel loved and safe and heard. Children's minds and hearts are full of wonderings, and we only have so many years of teachable moments to turn their wonderings into wonder as we model God's love and listening ears and as we do our best to answer their questions honestly, albeit imperfectly. I know I failed to always do this with my daughters as they were growing up, I know I sometimes fail even now with my grandchildren and the other little ones in my life, but this is my heart's desire. I want to love the children in my life by taking the time to listen to them. I want to participate in God's plan for them by doing my best to help their wonderings be turned to wonder as we talk about the greatness of Who God is and Who He can be to them.
Also joining THOUGHT PROVOKING THURSDAYS
at 3-D Lessons for Life
Kelli at CHRONICLES OF GRACE