Mornings at my house tend to be a tad chaotic. Ever since my daughter started kindergarten, our days start earlier than usual. As a stay-at-home mom, I have always had the luxury (that I have never taken for granted!) that we can take our time easing into the day with coffee, cartoons, legos on the carpet, and changing our Barbies’ clothes five times.
Not anymore. The bus comes no later than 7:45 a.m. and heaven forbid my daughter is late. She is a rule-follower, and I almost am more scared of her than I am of a possible tardy record.
Between getting her and her little brother dressed, teeth brushed, arguing with her about how it’s too late to change her earrings, arguing with him over whether or not he should poop in the potty or his pants, me not getting a sip of coffee until I actually get to the bus stop…well…it’s not always pretty.
But some days…some days…we actually get our crap together. Some days they don’t argue with me. Some days, they are actually excited to get dressed, pick up their rooms, brush their teeth, and eat their entire breakfast. And some days…the best days…I have time to sit and eat breakfast with them and have a chat.
This particular day, my daughter asked me to read a devotional to them. The daily devo idea died sometime over the summer. They had really liked it but we couldn’t keep the momentum going. We read from a book called The Gospel Story Bible by Marty Machowski, which basically tells the entire story of the bible in chronologically ordered, bite-sized pieces, and relates everything back to Jesus. My kids both love it, and it’s always a good reminder for me.
I picked up where we left off, which happened to be when Solomon was king and he finished the Temple that God was going to live in. Heidi began to color as I read. I wasn’t positive if she was listening closely, but I read out loud anyways:
Everyone who saw the temple Solomon built could hardly believe how wonderful it was. But did you know that this temple of stones was nothing compared to the spiritual temple God would build out of His people? In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us that everyone who trusts in Jesus becomes a part of God’s temple and God’s spirit lives inside them. (1 Corinthians 3:16).
When I got to this part, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Heidi had placed her hand over her heart and looked up squinting as if she was trying to strain her ears to hear something. I continued reading to the end. When I finished, she was still coloring.
“Heidi, what we were you doing a second ago?” I asked.
She put her hand on her heart again and strained to hear.
“I was hearing God in my heart,” she said simply.
I smiled. “What did He say?”
She paused a couple more seconds, as if she was listening some more. Then with a nod of her head and a small shrug of her shoulders, she replied, “That He loves me.”
That’s it. Said with the simplicity and confidence of someone that doesn’t even consider God would want to tell her anything else. God loves her. She believes it. She isn’t concerned about what’s next. She isn’t concerned about, well, maybe it’s weird or amazing she heard from God. She isn’t concerned about what God wants her to do with her life or if she’s made the right way or if she’s doing what God wants her to do.
He just loves her. That’s it.
How often do I complicate it? How often do I convince myself, surely there’s got to be more to it than that? With all my self-righteous talk about God’s calling and His timing and His perfect plan…how often do I miss His main message, which He blasts loud and clear in all sorts of ways? How often am I so hard on myself? I have to do more, pray more, read more, remember more, study more, give more…more, more, more.
While all of those things are important, what matters most is that I rest and trust in His love. If I do that, I can do anything that I have brought to Him in prayer. If I am confident in His love, there is no trial I cannot endure. There is no place where I can’t find peace.
When I rest in that, I am positive that my light (His light) and His love shines the brightest. People don’t always need reprimanded. They don’t always need rules. They don’t need a string of, “Well, if only you had…” Sometimes, before they can crawl out of the mess they’re in, they just need love.
Because that’s what God did for us. Heidi, in all her youth and innocence, can see that more clearly than I can. So I will follow her lead.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3