A Child’s Faith

A Child’s Faith

Children Encouragement

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~Mark 10:14-15

Who wouldn't want this ninja praying for them?
Who wouldn’t want this ninja praying for them?

Childlike faith. What is that even? I think as an adult it is too easy to forget what childlike anything is. Let alone childlike faith.

So a quick story for you. Recently an adult asked my son to pray for her. She had a pretty big prayer request. Kind of a more adult prayer request.* Not inappropriate or anything, but it was a serious issue. When I think of my children praying, I think of my youngest saying, “Thank you, God, for horsies, dolphins, ponies, and unicorns. Amen.” (Seriously, this is his daily prayer.) What I don’t think about them praying for is those deeper burdens that we face as adults. The kind of prayer requests that for some reason feel ‘heavy’ to me. Something in me wants to shield them from those things. From ‘adulthood.’ From life.

So, right after this friend shares her prayer request with my eldest, my three children and I pile into the car to leave. And before we’re even to the end of the driveway, my son says to me, “She wants us to pray for her.” He then proceeds to share the prayer request with the rest of us. And now all of my children and I know the burden that has fallen on this friend of ours. And I think, wow I don’t know that I would have told little children about that… But I don’t want to let this slip by, so I said, “Let’s make sure to pray for her right now!” And we did. Right there in the car on the way home, we prayed. The rest of the drive home is talking about prayer, how I like to pray right away if someone asks me to pray for them (mostly so I don’t forget**), how we can keep praying for that person, how God knows what this person is going through, how God answers all of our prayers (but not always how we planned), and some talk about the actual prayer request… It was one of those conversations with children where I was not sure how much of what I was saying was really being heard and understood. But we made a good attempt. I patted myself on the back. Job well done Mama!

Now to dinner. My husband asks my daughter to say the prayer at dinner. She thanks God for the food and then reiterates the prayer request. Which was when I realized, not job well done, Mama! I had already moved on, I had figured my kids had too. Meanwhile my husband’s eyes had popped wide open and he was giving me a confused and questioning look across the dinner table (clearly communicating through silent parent lingo: What in the world happened today?). When she finished praying my youngest piped up, he wanted to pray too. So he says, “Thank you, God, for horsies,dolphins, ponies and unicorns. And…” then he prays for this woman too. I’m eating dinner thinking how her simple prayer request has now been lifted up to God three times. How my kids were taking this friend’s prayer request more seriously than I was. How important it was to them that they had been asked to pray. They weren’t going to just let this issue slip their mind after one prayer. And it didn’t stop there! Since then my children have been adding her to their nightly prayers, and adding to the blessing they’re asking for her. It seems like each time they pray, they boldly ask for a little bit more. With simple faith in their God, they are asking for big things. As an adult, I’m thinking, “Is that even possible?” And suddenly I begin to understand what childlike faith is. It’s trusting God to be God. It’s trusting that He can do anything He wants to. It’s not worrying about the details and what is possible or even probable. It’s simple, and it’s beautiful.

Now back to the idea that a prayer request would feel ‘heavy’ to me. Just who in the world do I think I am!? I am not God. My job in a prayer request is not to solve the problem, or answer the prayer. My job is simply to light up a neon billboard and point it at that person (whom God is already looking at), and say, “Hey! Here! You are needed and wanted here! Come and be here!” That’s it. Seeing my children pray for this person, has really opened my eyes to how simple prayer requests can be. I just keep pointing God over to that person, and I wait for His answer. I don’t have to do anything. (Well… other than pray, of course.)

All this to say, don’t undersell your children!! Their prayers are just as effective (if not more so). Watching my kids pray for this woman, has been like water on dry land for my prayer life. If they can pray like that, believe like that, and keep coming to God with expectation, then I can too. And to this friend of ours who asked a young boy for prayer- you better buckle your seat belt and put on a helmet. God is coming for you in a B.I.G. way, Girly. I don’t know what He will do with all these prayers, but it is going to rock your world.

Lphone july to oct 2014 134

Thank you, God, that you hear us. Thank you God for the reminder of what childlike faith can look like. You don’t need us to understand everything about this world. You don’t even need us to understand half of it. We just need to come to You with our needs and open our hearts to the work You are doing. I again ask for your blessing over this friend, and what she is going through. I ask that you would move in even mightier ways than we could ever imagine! And Lord, for all of us, help us to open up our hearts to you like children. Thank you for calling us your children. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Just a small disclaimer here. For anonymity, I didn’t list the person or her prayer request. I don’t have permission to share it here. BUT it was not a topic that children couldn’t handle. Of course there are prayers that we don’t give to children. Topics that they aren’t emotionally ready for. But it is okay to let our kids know there is suffering in the world. It is okay to trust them with harder topics. I was totally fine with this friend sharing her struggles with my children. It was just that I would not have thought to share these kind of struggles with my children. Mostly because I would think ‘what can they do about it.’ And that is just the point- we cannot do anything. BUT GOD CAN.

**yes, yes, I’m a terrible option for your prayer requests. I forget.

 

 

I will say it again: Rejoice!

I will say it again: Rejoice!

From the Authors

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! ~Philippians 4:4

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. ~Romans 12:15

You know what I need to work on? Rejoicing. If I am going to be calling myself a Christian, then I should probably be looking like a real Christian. I’m not sure what you think a Christian looks like, but I don’t think there is a cookie cutter mold for every Christian. We aren’t supposed to look exactly alike- we are the Body of Christ, and we all have different gifts, and different purposes.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. ~1 Corinthians 12:12

TIMG_20140712_212754227hat being said, we don’t need to look exactly like our brother/sister in Christ. But we should be rejoicing. And we should be rejoicing with one another.

What is she talking about? Well, we had a family over for dinner. It was so much fun! The adults were chatting happily, and their three kids were running around with our three kids- everyone had a blast! Then it was time for the other family to go home. If you have young children, I don’t need to go into the details. Kids don’t want to part from one another, even if it is bath night and close to someone’s bedtime… So one way or another it was decided that the older boys could hang out a bit longer, and my husband would run Big Brother’s friend home when it was closer to the big-boy’s bed time.

IMG_20140712_212754227Aug 21 234My daughter was not happy. Her friend had gone home. And while she was prepping for bed, her big brother was running around and giggling with his buddy. Life is tough.

“What’s wrong?” I asked the pouting tooth brusher.
“Send him home!” She said through a mouth full of toothpaste bubbles.
“Send your brother’s friend home?” I asked.
An empathetic yes accompanied by a fierce pout was the response.
“How do you think your brother will feel about that?”
“Well, I don’t have my friend!”
“Yes, you don’t have your friend. But I asked you, how will your brother feel if we send his friend home?”
Silent pouting.
“And how do you think his friend will feel? It looks like they are both having fun, do you think our friend would be happy if I went outside and told him to go home?”
“Well next time just my friend gets to stay!”
“Hmmm…” I began washing the face that never fails to have remnants from every meal of the day somewhere on it, “And how would your brother and his friend feel if next time I said, ‘You can’t play together. Go home!’?”
“Well, it’s not fair!” was the over the shoulder response as I steered her towards her bedroom.
“You mean, it’s not equal? Do you think everything has to be equal all the time?”
A decisive nod. Because everyone thinks that everything would be okay, if only everything were equal.
So I reminded her of the time her brother had to come home with me while she got to stay and play with a friend. And the time she stayed with me so she got to have cookies, and her brother had none. I thought of a few other examples and then said, “Well, if everything is going to be equal, I suppose that you cannot have a friend over next time, because you’ve already had someone over twice. And also the next time we make cookies, you get none.”
This long litany of times where the unequal scale was tipped in her favor was met with quiet. So I slowly tucked her into bed.
“You know what I would love?” I said into the quiet. “I would love if our family could be happy when their brother or sister is happy. And not worry about who is more happy, or who has had more time with friends. I would love if we did not worry about everything being equal, but if we could be happy for each other. You just need to remember that happy times will come for you too.”

Now this is a hard and cumbersome talk to have with a five-year-old. But I suppose an optimistic parent hopes that these kind of talks will stick little by little. But what struck me was, later that evening, as I was tucking in Big Brother, I had almost the exact same conversation. The next day’s activities included something his sister really enjoyed, but he merely tolerated. So he said we shouldn’t go. I asked him how he thought that would make his sister feel? Then he said he should get to do something equally fun, because that would be what is fair. So I told him about the conversation I had just had with his sister who had to wave goodbye to her friend, while he got an extra half hour with his friend.

There was a quiet reflective moment. And then I said again, “I hope we can be a family who will choose to be happy for each other. If something goes well for someone, let’s choose to be happy for one another. Even if we feel like we didn’t get what we want. I would love if your joy could be my joy, and if my joy could be yours. I would like to share my joy with you.”

Tucking kids into bed is hard parenting. Seriously.

But it was good reflection for me too. This is jealousy. Jealousy is wanting what others have. It is missing out on sharing our joys. And I am just as guilty as my kids. I am just as likely to measure and assess what I deserve. And I am quick to notice if I am not getting as good of a deal as someone else. But that verse in Romans has been on my mind lately. Rejoice with those who rejoice. All Christians do not need to look exactly like each other. BUT, we do need to rejoice with each other. We should celebrate each other’s accomplishments, smile when someone else is having a good day- even if we are not. It’s not always easy to rejoice with others. We are very aware of the negative in our own lives, the ‘unfairness.’ We could easily choose bitterness and jealousy, that’s our human nature. BUT wouldn’t it be beautiful, wonderful, amazing, and so much better to be able to share in someone’s joy? If we let go of having to have everything equal, what would life look like then?

 Lord, forgive us for being jealous and bitter. Forgive us for thinking that if only things were equal, then we would be happy. That’s a lie. Happiness is knowing you, trusting you, and realizing that what we have is more than enough. I know that we can face truly hard times that make this hard to believe, but Lord, please reassure us now. Fill our hearts with the truth of your love. Bring peace and freedom to our lives, and help us to truly let go of our jealousies. I pray you would shine your light into these areas of our lives. And even more, I ask that we could learn to truly share in the joys of others. To rejoice with our friends and family, and especially to rejoice in who You are! In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

 

Mr. Magoo

Mr. Magoo

From the Authors

 keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
~Psalm 16:8

This is my Mr. Magoo. He just had a birthday, and decided to just open his birthday presents while no one was looking (first thing in the morning). And yes, we got him a shovel. It promises to be an interesting (and dirt filled) spring!
This is my Mr. Magoo. He just had a birthday, and decided to just open his birthday presents while no one was looking (first thing in the morning). And yes, we got him a shovel. It promises to be an interesting (and dirt filled) spring!

My littlest boy has discovered the joy of binoculars. He’s running around with them pressed up to his eyes… and he’s completely blind with them. The art of peering through binoculars is an acquired skill. It takes practice. Apparently lots of practice. My little guy keeps running into furniture and walls. He can’t see what’s right in front of him because he is “looking” through the binoculars. It’s so cute. So very cute. As a parent I am just in love with my little-Mr.-Magoo.

But once again, God whispers to me- that’s you. I’m so busy looking forward to the future, and to what is coming next, that I am missing this moment. And this is truly the only moment I have. I cannot relive the past, and I cannot live in the future. I need to be here, in the present. Or I’m going to miss all these adorable moments with my children. If I’m always looking to the future, I’m going to miss a lot.

Just be here. Just be here, in this moment. I keep whispering this phrase to myself. Slow down, and just be here.

Right now is a gift. This moment, this breath, my husband, these children, this life… it’s all a gift. Don’t miss the gift!

Thank you, Lord, for this moment. Help us to breath it in and focus our eyes on You. Help us to see the gifts you have given us this day. Help us not to worry about the future, and help us to reconcile our pasts. Let us grab hold of the things you have placed before us for this day, that we could accomplish your purposes today for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

I was at a friend's house when this guy came to call...?
I was at a friend’s house when this guy came to call…?