Sunday, January 4, 2015

What Motherhood Taught Me about God: Becoming Like Little Children

Have you ever taken a quiz to find your learning style? Well, God already knows what kind of learner you are and He works with it.

For me, He must know that I'd learn a lot about Him by being a mom. Pre-parenthood, I'd usually breeze right past a scripture like Matthew 18: 2-3 and not think much about it:
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Those scriptures are all over the place in the New Testament. Jesus is always telling us to become like little children. 

Yeah, it made sense enough, I thought. Until I had kids myself.

After I had children, I noticed that they did irritating things like drop the contents of their hands wherever they felt like and walk away (hundreds of times a day,) ask the same question 20 times in a row and not listen to the answer, or throw a tantrum in the cereal aisle when you won't buy them chocolate Pop-Tarts.

Quite frankly, children are often self-centered, irresponsible, and messy. Yet I know Jesus didn't say things lightly, especially when He repeated himself multiple times.

So exactly what qualities about little children should I be striving to adopt?

I've thought about those scriptures a lot as I've watched my own kids, and wondered what it is about them that we adults don't have.

There are probably lots of reasons Jesus tells us we're supposed to become like little children, but maybe the biggest one is faith and trust.

Kids have perfect faith in their parents. Especially when they're little, it doesn't even occur to them to question the fact that their parents will completely take care of them. 
Circa 2004.
Seeing the floral couch makes me nostalgic.

Sometimes when my kids come to me complaining of anything from a nightmare to "a bump that was on my elbow that was itchy but it's not there anymore," I'll ask, "Well, what do you want me to do about it?" 

And they look at me like that's a stupid question. How are they supposed to know? All they know is, I'm their mom and I'm there to take care of them.

When you know with 100% certainty that someone is there to take care of you, you just go to them instinctively whenever you're hurt, confused, or happy. You don't stop to evaluate first whether they'll be able to help or whether they'll care, you just go to them.

Because they trust you so much, they tend to be pretty uncritical wherever you're concerned. I always look forward to when my babies are about 4 months old and they start to stiffen their bodies and arch their backs when I go to pick them up  they have no idea where I'm taking them, but they're totally up for going with me, anyway.

Even as toddlers, there are still plenty of times when my kids have put their shoes on, gotten in the car, and not thought to ask where we're going until we'd already been on the road for five or ten minutes.

Learning how to evaluate outcomes is important for making decisions in our adult lives, but there's also a lot to be said for childlike faith and trust, especially when it comes to God.

So what would my life look like with perfect trust in God?

I would probably pray more and worry less. I'd be more patient, and feel a lot more peace.  

Inconvenient, messy, and sometimes tragic things would still happen, but I'd be able to go forward with confidence that God will take care of me. Eventually, He'll make everything right.

And in the meantime, while I'm still working on childlike faith and trust, maybe all those "be like a little child" scriptures will help me look at my own kids in their best light when I'm cleaning their snack out of the carpet for the third time that day.

For more posts in the "What Motherhood Taught Me About God" series, check out:

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Peggy said...

You are so right, Jenny! And also as a mother of five it has taught me that little children are often so much closer to God than we are because they never doubt him.

PurpleSlob said...

I love this post! I believe He was referring to the simple trust and whole hearted devotion too!