Love: on children

“The soul of Jonathan was bound to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” 1 Samuel 18:1

I feel that way, and it is times four. To have children, and to choose them, is to have four little souls of yours walking around, outside of you but always part of you.

It is impossible at times and the most incredible at others.

I remember the first days of my daughters’ life, not sleeping just to watch her every breath with wonder and awe. I was clapping, literally clapping with glee in bed with her next to me, unable to close my eyes lest I miss one little moment of her life.

I did sleep, eventually, and there were moments that were tough, particularly when she cried endlessly for hours a day, the first few months of her life. When she got sick, I worried. And when she found her will, I first did not know how to discipline. Learning how to, was really hard.

But the hardest part, the most difficult, is protecting her from the things in this world that are wrong and broken and tough to face.

It is so important for me to find ways to protect her from the ugly, sinful, yuckies of this world and give her the beauty, the goodness, and the truth God intents for her.

It always costs me to do so, usually my time, focus, and energy. I have to keep my soul connected to each of my children and can not let myself slack in my active engagement. Yet, when I do lean into who she is, who each of my children are and are becoming; when I watch their world and surround them with good experiences and rich ideas, and lovely images, and keep the truth of their need for growth guiding our interactions, there is a deep joy and contentment that I could never had known any other way.

What a beautiful thing God has done in giving us love. He exists in it, and as we love, we experience God.

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

What an amazing gift that God has offered to each of us who are parents. Every day, we get to rise from our beds, shake off the nights rest, and choose love, again. And in this way, we live in God and God lives in us.

Our souls are bound, the choice is ours, and when we do choose to love those little ones, we find God.

Faith: on driving with my 4 year old

“A double minded man unstable in all he does” daily convicts me.

My children are working through the book of James, reciting to me the whole of it as they copy it down to memory. I can be making my bed, or finishing dishes, or just popping off of facebook, and I am wisked past the scattered tribes, opened to considering it all joy, and then am asked to have faith, to not doubt.

It stuns me every time.

Faith, such a simple idea, so straightforward.

It scares me though. The living out of it. The waiting.

Late at night, the prayers trickle off my tongue, singing the truths I want to see. There are hopes, there are dreams, healings, changes, futures, and I lay them all bare, before my God, as I fall into slumber.

It is the day light of them that is the hardest. The unanswered and the unknown. The tragedies and the no, no my dear, no. I always resist the no. But it is the “not yet” that holds me still the longest, against a wall, pleading, waiting, stillness.

My 4 year old took me to task on an old one, one we have asked for most of his life. “Mommy, when you gonna have babies? When you gonna grow fat and I can help with diapers? I want babies, I want two babies, I want twins”. All this, at a stoplight. Me a million miles away.

Startled back into the car, I hear his request. It is so simple. We both agree it is what we want. I respond, “Let’s ask God, who gives us all things. God can give mommy babies.”

And I do pray, repeating every word, adding that they be healthy babies, chuckling with the word fat.

My tender 4 year old boy doesn’t mean fat in an unkind way. To him, fat is the sweet roundness of a mother’s pregnancy, the sturdy Santa in his suit, his own love of pulling up his shirt after a big meal and showing all the fullness therein. Fat is happy, full, lacking in nothing. Fat is pure joy, and he wants it for me.

The smile sits on my face as I continue in the sweet thoughts of my sons descriptions when he leads me back to the matters at hand.

“God can’t hear us. We in the car, we so little, and He so big. God can’t hear us, can he?”

I hold my breath.

“Well, maybe God so very big that He can here even our tiny voices in the car”.

I don’t know how to respond. Is he so very wrong? Am I so very different from a 4 year old in my faith? Can God hear me in the car, is God a God of stoplights, and 4 year old prayers, and babies coming to late in life wishes? Is my little voice loud enough?

I remember back to the morning chores, me rushing about, my older two trailing me with their memory verses.

What did they say? What was God’s point?

Perfection, completeness, lacking in nothing is possible. But it is only possible through perserverance. Is that what prayer is?

Testing of your faith…when it comes, not if, but when….consider it all joy. Prayer as testing, prayer as perserverance, prayer as never doubting.

James so boldly assures us that God answers our prayers for wisdom, where we lack, He generously gives.

So I must perserver in the testing of my faith. Even as I ask, I must know He will give – at the very least – wisdom in the matters I ask, and maybe even, a yes to the request for more babies. But I must not doubt, or give up. Until the wisdom comes, I can keep asking with the knowledge that I will be complete, lacking in nothing, perfect, as I push through the testing of my faith, as I perservere.

Back in the car, I turn to my son, “Yes, Jeremiah, you are right. God is sooo big that He can hear our tiny voices. Even in the car, even our little prayers. He hears, and He will give us his wise answer.”

Satisfied, he relaxes in his carseat. The light changes. And as the signal invites, I accept, and drive forward, boldly, full.