unless you become like these…

It’s quite funny when this sort of thing happens. Lately something has switched in Eli and he has become somewhat obsessed with me. It has been trying for me. I keep wanting to figure out what happened and what is going on in his little body and his mind. He can’t be consoled by anything but me and television – which makes things even worse because I feel like a terrible mom for offering consoling through tv. I don’t know what’s wrong with him, and that’s not actually why I’m writing this.

Today I decided to picked up my old faithful friend “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. It has been a favorite of mine for years and years and I find his daily entries to always somehow align significantly to what is happening in my life during that particular time.

Anyway, I opened it up to June 2nd and read this:

“A child’s awareness is so absorbed in his mother that although he is not consciously thinking of her, when a problem arrises, the abiding relationship is that with the mother. In that same way, we are to ‘live and move and have our being’ in God, looking at everything in relation to Him, because our abiding awareness of Him continually pushes itself in the forefront of our lives.”

My conclusion for today: “Stop trying to fix him (Eli) and learn from him.” I may never know what is going on with him and that’s ok – because i have 2 jobs here: 1. Care for him. Make sure all of his necessary needs are being met. 2. Learn from him.

The Lord has given us the gift of children to buffet us, that pure and unadulterated love might be produced. We are fools to think our children will come out pooping flowers and singing sweet praises to Jesus. No way.  Children are meant to serve as a mirror that we look into every day showing us once again how much selfishness still exists and rules within us. They are opportunities for patience and long suffering to be produced within us. For selfless love to be cruciformed within us. And, often more times than not, their weak frame is revealing to us how we ought to relate to God.

What we so often view as weak, irritating and frustrating about children the Lord would say to us, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” That is a humble pill to swallow.

Think about it outside of your familiarity with the text. We usually hide our kids – put them in the corner, or in their own classroom so as to not mess up the spiritual climate of our meetings. We love kids, they’re cute, they’re fun to cuddle when they let us and when they’re not poopy. But, they’re loud, they’re presumptuous, they’re disruptive, they require so much energy, and they’re sometimes embarrassing. It’s easier to just hide them while we do the serious grown up stuff.

But what are we missing out on?

He rebuked the disciples and said “let the little children come to me!” He did not, nor does he now, view children with the same eyes that we do. Is it because He’s a pied piper sort of figure who’s really good with children? Probably, because He is Jesus. But there was something intrinsically deeper and truer that He was communicating to us than just “play with the kids!”.

Children model something to us every day. They model to us the way that 1. we should relate to the Lord. And 2. The way that He relates to us.

I feel to caution myself and all of us – let’s not push the children in the corner and hide them away so as to have our neat and tidy meeting. Let’s invite them to teach us something that the Lord in His wisdom designed for them to teach us.

Hey, I know, it’s gonna be messy! I don’t even fully know what I mean when I say this! I’m more so addressing a state of the heart and mind than I am of physical and practical dynamics. I think, as with most (all) things, we must first deal with our hearts before we can start changing things practically – or else we will just get angry and miss the point all together.

But I don’t want to miss out on what jesus was truly getting at here. It’s not just a “Hey! Go play ring around the rosy with the kids and learn to appreciate them more!” There is a deep, deep truth He was revealing to us concerning how we ought to relate to HIM – not children. But the catch 22 is that the only way we can begin to relate to Him rightly is by first rightly relating with those that He has ordained to reveal these things to us through, and that is children.

The challenge for myself : Begin to look at my children and ask the Lord “What can I learn from them today? Help me learn from them.”

There is something deep and profound waiting to be revealed to us hidden in the weak and needy frame of a child. I want to find this treasure – so that I can be a good parent? Yes. But even more, so that I can be a good beloved of Christ.

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)

Beloved, there is a new secret place awaiting us with store house after store house of revelation and it is called parenting.

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