I thought I was a smart cookie. That is not a boastful statement at all. I really thought I was smart, and with it, and could pick up on things rather quickly. I thought this until God used a child to teach me a lesson.
Is anyone else like me in that, you were a curious child? You observed something and asked a question about it, because you were genuinely curious about what you saw? For example, my eldest niece was in my bathroom last week and she comes out so sweetly and says, “Auntie, why do you have two toothbrushes in your bathroom? Does somebody live here with you?” Now I can put this out here because I KNOW I’m not creeping, lol, but I said to her NOSEY question, “No baby. I was sick last week, so I opened a new toothbrush and I have not thrown away the old one yet.” But in my head, I heard my grandma’s voice from when I was a curious little child saying, “Stay in a child’s place!”
Those words were like nails on a chalkboard because I perceived so many limitations in being a child. I could not drive, I could not be in the room when grown ups were talking, I had a bedtime, I had to eat what was on my plate whether I liked it or not, and I couldn’t eat all of the candy and desserts that I wanted. Now, if you are a mother, aunt, grandmother, or any other supportive adult in the life of a child, you translate the above as:
- You were taken everywhere you needed to be, when you needed to be there
- You were protected from things beyond your mind’s capacity to understand because a responsible adult cares about you and your development and exposure to things at the right pace
- Your rest was a priority to a responsible adult and anything less than 8-hours of sleep was unacceptable because they knew you were your best if you were rested
- A responsible adult knew that the development of your body is essential to the development of you mind so the foods they gave you to eat were important, therefore, no, were not getting up from your plate until your veggies were eaten
- And no, you couldn’t eat your body weight in candy because a responsible and loving adult knew that you would get sick because you lacked self control and too much sugar would not nourish you. And, if you only want sugar (what is sweet) you would ruin your appetite when you need to eat nourishing (savory; hearty; filling; healthy) food
Sound about right? So why then, as responsible, caring adults do we hold this expectation of children and do not care if they have a hissy fit about our decisions in caring for them, YET, when our LOVING, ALL-WISE Heavenly Father does the same for us, we throw an adult tantrum and think it is the end of the world and that He does not care for us? I just wanted to set the framework for the call for our hearts God is making.
There has been a verse that I have long pondered and it was not until I had nieces that I am growing to understand it.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
In this passage, Jesus was talking to his disciples because they asked him a question about who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Real talk, they wanted to know which one of them was going to be Jesus’ right hand man when they got to glory. Jesus totally flipped the script on them and expressed, “a child.” This left me pondering, “What is it about children that Jesus holds in such high esteem?” My follow up question was, “What behaviors do children have that Jesus wants me to exemplify?” My first answer came through my eldest niece on movie night with auntie.
One evening, my sister needed me to babysit me three nieces. Two are twins and one is older. I had been mentally preparing myself all day because I knew that there would be a flood of little ones calling my name, “Auntie Baby, Auntie Baby, Auntie Baby!” and I knew my least engaged love language would be totally called upon, physical touch. When my sweeties got to my house, as I anticipated, with gap-toothed smiles and arms wrapped around my waist, legs, and stomach, I was rushed by three little girls saying, “Hi Auntie Baby! I love you Auntie Baby! What’s for dinner Auntie Baby?!”
Almost immediately they made themselves at home in my house. They kick off their shoes, moved all my couch pillows, and nestled in. Then came the questions. I fail to remember if there were 10,000 or 10,500, but there were a lot of questions. They wanted to know about my day, what made me happy that day, and what I ate at lunchtime. They wanted to tell me about their day all at once of course, but I had to slow them down so I could hear, give attention to, and respond to each one individually. They wanted to show me their little art projects and coloring sheets from school, so I looked and complimented them. Then they were hungry, so we ate.
Next, the girls wanted to watch a movie. My eldest niece picked the movie and we picked our spots on the couch to enjoy it. This is where things got interesting. I have two rather large, rather comfortable reclining couches. They sit across from each other, so if you are on one, you have a CLEAR VIEW of who is on the opposite couch. This however did not satisfy my eldest niece. The smaller of the two couches with INDIVIDUAL recliners was the one I was sitting on. She did not want to simply sit on the same couch as me, in the IDENTICAL recliner, no, she wanted to sit in the SAME one as me. Physical touch violation #1, lol. So, I am super cramped in a one person seat and my sweet niece is in joy cuddled up next to me. I let my guard down and reciprocated the cuddle [Note: I am not cold, but physical touch is my LEAST engaged love language, so touching others can be odd for me at first]. Then all of a sudden, I felt little fingers rubbing my elbow! Physical touch violation #2! I jumped and asked my niece what she was doing! “I like touching you auntie, you are so soft!” We all laughed and I think I called her weird. We laughed and continued watching the movie. A few minutes later, I felt these cold little feet rubbing on my legs. “What in the world are you doing now?!” “Auntie you’re so warm, I just wanted to warm my toes on you!” My girls erupted with laughter. This served as a PERCEIVED invitation for the twins to come from the opposite couch and pack into the couch with me and their older sister on it. When I asked them why they did not want space to spread out on the perfectly AVAILABLE couch across the room, where they could still very much see and talk to me, they all said, “Because we want to be close to you auntie! We want to touch you!” And my niece with the lisp said, “Yeah auntie baby, we miSSed you and we haven’t Seen you all weeK (please hear the lisp as you read, lol).” I was left thinking. We eventually got through more movie before their attention grew short and they wanted a snack, and to paint nails. The rest of the evening turned out well as we finished all our snacks, laughs, and activities. They drifted to sleep asking about our next auntie movie night and seeing me tomorrow.
God taught me some valuable things through my nieces about becoming like a child:
- There is a way I love that you come to me. As your nieces swarmed you with love, calling your name, excited to be in your presence, do this with Me.
Psalm 100:4 King James Version (KJV)
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
- My presence is your home. Make yourself at home in Me.
Psalm 16:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
- I love when we communicate! Talk to Me about what’s on your heart– questions, joys, woes. Ask Me what’s on My heart. I love to share them with you.
John 15:15 New International Version (NIV)
15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
- I love that just seeing Me and hearing me is not enough to satisfy you! I want you to want to be close to me. Not simply sitting next to Me, but sitting on my throne with me.
James 4:8a New King James Version (NKJV)
8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Revelation 3:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
- I want you to anticipate the next moment we are intentionally together
Psalm 63:1 King James Version (KJV)
63 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
God taught me this day, to love Him like a child loves Him. He is inviting us to make ourselves at home in Him, kick off our shoes, give Him an ear full, cuddle up in His loving arms, relax, and hear His heart. Will you convert (cause to change in form, character, or function [your belief about God]) today and become as a child (teachable, needy, wanting, hungry for Him)? His heart and love is open to you, whether you never have heard of Him or have been walking with Him for a while and need some refreshing. He is here for you.
If you have questions on how to change and become a child of God, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would love to share with you how.
” Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”