When my daughter was two years old (before her brother came along), we did everything together including our weekly trips to the grocery store. On one excursion, I grabbed a cart at the local Jewel Osco and plopped her in the child's seat in the front of the cart. Every trip was an adventure, so I whispered a short prayer and proceeded to serpentine up and down the aisles.
We had made it about halfway through without incident, but the moment I turned the corner to head down the cereal aisle, I felt a sense of apprehension rise upward starting at my toes.
Our cart pulled up alongside an employee stocking the shelves. He was a very friendly man of short stature with a warm smile. "Good morning," I greeted him. "How are you ladies, today?" He responded, smiling, and then...
"Why is dat man soooo short, Mommy?" my daughter chimed in. I felt my face burn because I knew that not only did he hear, but the folks in our aisle and two aisles over, must have heard as well. Two year old's don't pull any punches. They just ask or say whatever is on their little minds, and with one volume - LOUD!
I tried to embrace this teachable moment as I reminded my daughter that God makes everyone special. I told her that God created that man with the same care in which He had created her. I smiled apologetically. The man smiled back with understanding...and then on we went.
Thankfully, as we mature, we hopefully begin to have a filter on our thoughts. We learn that our mouths are not like a convenience store - open 24/7. We don't let every thought in our brain come out of our mouth, but there is one person, with whom we clam up, who really DOES want to hear what's on our mind and in our heart.
“Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
I know that when I pray, I often think I have to come up with the right words, or I try to say what God wants to hear. I know I need to praise Him, before I petition Him, but what about the times that I'm in so much pain, I can barely utter a desperate groan? Perhaps I'm like a child who's fallen, hurt themselves, and is crying uncontrollably?
What if I'm so angry that I raise a fist to God to furiously ask Him, "Why this?" My words are critical, loud, and filled with hurt and frustration. Am I so unlike a toddler having a temper tantrum?
When I blurt out my unfiltered thoughts, doubts, questions, criticism, and disbelief am I not like a little child squirming free of a parent's grip? When I am afraid, fearful, hurting, or sad, do I not reach longingly for my Father's hand?
God is BIG enough to handle our childlike emotions and feelings.
He wants us to come to Him with pure honesty and not hold anything back. Our relationship with our heavenly Father is, perhaps, the most HONEST relationship we can possibly have.
So why do I hesitate to go there? Many of us have assigned our earthly father's traits to our Heavenly Father. Perhaps we think He is distant, aloof, critical, not warm and fuzzy, a true disciplinarian that is waiting to make check marks in the mistake column, and is secretly disappointed with us? Maybe we've had an absentee father or even been abandoned or abused by our earthly father?
I admit, I related more readily to Jesus at the beginning of my faith journey. I loved the pictures I saw in Sunday school of Jesus, smiling and warmly beckoning the little children to come unto Him. But, as I've matured in my faith, I have witnessed and experienced, firsthand, the awesome lovingkindness of my heavenly Father. I asked Him to work that trust deep into my soul and He obliged.
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 9Jesus replied, “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen theFather. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, performing His works.…(John 9: 8-10)
Jesus reminds me that if I have seen Him, I have seen the Father, because Jesus and the Father are One, and Jesus is actually God in human form.
Jesus is lovingkindness because God, who dwells in Him, is lovingkindness!
So if we want to enter the gaits of heaven, we need to have faith and trust like a little child. God desires to have a relationship built on intimacy and honesty. He wants us to come to Him as a child would - with our REAL selves showing and our questions blazing. Trust me, God's big enough to handle it.
Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me for keeping You at a distance or feeling like I have to clean up my act or better myself to come into Your presence. Remind me that is only by the grace of the sacrifice of Jesus that I can enter Your Holy presence with pure honesty. I thank You that You are a patient, long-suffering God. You never tire of my questions; You use our doubts to draw us closer into knowing You. Give me the reassurance that I can come, real and raw, before You and You will meet me with mercy and grace. Thank You for giving me Jesus so that I might know Your lovingkindness. I praise You for Your faithfulness throughout my life. Let me always, like a child, take hold of Your hand that is outstretched with love toward me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What about you? What holds you back from being real with God? What misperceptions have you had about God? How do you see Him right now? In what area does your relationship need to grow? Will you share?
Mother's Day Giveaway!! "A Moment to Breathe" daily devotional book :) On Mother's Day I will draw one lucky winner to receive a copy of this devotional book (just hardcover). I've written two devotions, but there are some well known writers who have contributed: Holley Gerth, Ann Swindell, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Alia Joy, Denise Hughes, Emily Freeman, Lisa-Jo Baker, and more.
Two ways to win:
1. SUBSCRIBE to my blog. Be sure to click the link in the email you will receive to verify your subscription and to get my weekly blog posts.
2. Leave a COMMENT and say, "Count me in!" in your message. Choose the "Anonymous" option if you are not a blogger, and then sign your name at the end of your comment.
**Winners will be announced in my next post so be sure to check back** MSRP $19.99