Friday, March 21, 2008

And the Four-Year-Old does it again...

She's really on a roll.  Or maybe it was the Holy Spirit.  Either way, my lovely child has given me something to ponder.  This morning was one of those rare, relaxed, "home days" (only filled with a hubby who had to vacate the bedroom a couple hours early to allow our friend to take a shower and prepare for her job interview, the presence of another friend who would take this first friend to the airport after the interview, the impending arrival of my mother-in-law to whisk away said child for Easter Breakfast preparations and a phone that won't stop ringing).  

Like a said, a rare, *relaxed* home day.  I was happily padding about in my pjs and robe, feeding people, cleaning up the kitchen, floating around from pile to pile to make order out of chaos, and checking in on the girls who were, shockingly, either sharing or staying out of each others' way.  Praise God for his daily mercies.  

Sitting in the front room I graciously received my daughter's birthday party invitation (b'day still over 6 months away).  It was a picture of her, with a "gummy head" chasing her (but she was too fast and got away, "so don't worry mommy").  [Do I talk about name calling again now, or enjoy the picture...]  About five minutes later she brought in a picture for her sister - two beautiful faces with geometric hair. Gorgeous.  

Here's the problem.  

She wants to let her sister hold the picture.  She wants her to keep it forever.  BUT, she knows her sister is not as gentle as she is.  So she gives it to her and explains "No crumpling."  Then she takes it back. Then she holds it up for her to see.  Very close and far away.  Then she asks, "Do you understand?"  My youngest says "Yes."  Syd gives her the page.  Wait!  Yes to crumpling or yes to no crumpling?  The page is back in Sydney's hand before Savannah has hardly touched it and I'm ready for the certain paper cut to start bleeding... no blood.  Bonus. This game goes on for some time, and, surprisingly, my 18 month old eventually has the page for about 30 seconds, during which she very gently and carefully holds it straight, exclaiming over it's wonders in beautiful toddler-speak.  

What's the point?  I watched this exchange and wondered how often I do that with God.  Do I make pretty pictures and invite him only to my "parties"?  Do I try to give him something and then take it back, in a very complicated dance of control (or the illusion of it)?  If I know he is going to destroy something, shouldn't that be an indication that it's not good for me and instead of holding on like a security blanket I ought to throw it out like it were on fire?  And lastly, do I ever trust God to grasp me with his careful touch and beautiful words, much the way Savannah surprised me by her "no crumpling" after all?

Quiet times with a four-year-old.

Last night as I tucked my oldest into bed, she picked the story of the Prodigal Son(s) from her kid Bible.  (you can read it in a "grown up" Bible - Luke 15:11-32).  At the end of the parable, her Bible explains how much God loves His children and will always love His children.  Even though she was tired, she was also able to be quiet and think, so here's the conversation we had after the book closed:

Me:   Are you God's child?
Her:  Yes.  Everyone is God's child.
Me:   No, not everyone is God's child. 
Her:  What? (sounding someone more awake than 20 seconds ago)
Me:   God made everyone, but they are not all in His family.
Her:  Oh.
Me:   How do you know if you are in Jesus' family?
Her:  He's in my heart!
Me:   Right.  Well, not everyone has Jesus in their heart.  But the ones who do are God's            children - they're in His family.
Her:  Oh.  Well I have Jesus in my heart.  He gave me a NEW heart.  So I'm His child.
Me:   Yep!
Her:  And did Jesus give you a new heart?
Me:   Yes!
Her:  And did Jesus give daddy a new heart?
Me:   Yes!
Her:  And did Jesus give Savannah [little sister] a new heart?
Me:   We don't know.  She doesn't have any words to talk to us about that yet.  But we are praying that Jesus will give her a new heart.
Her:  Right!  (look of wheels turning...)
Me:   I'm your mommy, and you're my daughter, so you're my child, right?
Her:  Right.
Me:   How about your friend *Name*?  She is your friend and we love her, but she is not my   child.  She is a person, but she is not part of our family.
Her:  She's not in Jesus' family either.
Me:   She's not?  (wondering if now our family is the only part of Jesus' family)
Her:  No, she's in Santa's family.  (Confirmation that the discussion of Santa we had from November until last week is getting in there...)
Me:   You can invite her to be in Jesus' family.
Her:  I can?!?!  I want to do that!
Me:   You tell her what you know of Jesus, then you ask her she wants Him to come give her a new heart.  If she does, she can pray and ask Him for a new heart that loves Him.
Her:  Okay, I'll do that.  When she gets back from vacation.  Mom?
Me:   Yes?
Her:  I'm tired.  I love you.
Me:   I love you too.  Goodnight.
Her:  Goodnight.

These are the sweet moments of motherhood.