"It was Jesus Christ Himself who taught us to look to children as an example. The New Testament records His answer when His Apostles disputed who should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Jesus answered their question with a small yet powerful object lesson. He called a little child to Him and set him in the midst of them and said:
“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3–4).
What is it we should learn from children? What qualities do they possess and what examples do they demonstrate that can help us in our own spiritual development?
These precious children of God come to us with believing hearts. They are full of faith and receptive to feelings of the Spirit. They exemplify humility, obedience, and love. They are often the first to love and the first to forgive. "
-Jean A. Stevens, "Become as a Little Child", April 2011.
I was reminded of this eternal principle yesterday....let me explain.
I had just picked Noah up from his summer camp yesterday afternoon...it was so terribly hot outside...temperatures had soared by 3:00 to 100 degrees--and so in an effort to cool off--we climbed in the car and decided to get some frozen yogurt.
Perfect remedy for a hot summer afternoon, right?
On the drive over to the yogurt shop...he was seated in his usual place in the very back of the suburban.
The babies were nestled in their car seats napping while we listened to this CD of hymns...
And then I heard Noah from the back seat..."Hey Mom!! Did you hear that?"...
I replied as I looked at him through my rearview mirror..."Hear what, Sweetie?"
And with the biggest and sweetest smile across his face, he responded,
"It was Jesus, Mommy!!--- He just whispered in my ear that He loves me."
I had to sit there for a minute and collect myself while we were sitting at a red light...a huge lump in my throat formed immediately in response to what I heard come out of my son's mouth. This precious 6-year old who has such faith and love for the Savior had humbled my frustrated and downtrodden heart.
When I was able to get my words out...I responded, "Baby that is wonderful--He does love you so much and I want you to ALWAYS remember that."
I will readily admit just minutes leading up to Noah sharing this tender moment with me---I was feeling pretty gloomy and quite frankly, had been having an overall crummy day. The day before we had just received the devastating news that our foster son's mother has been let out of prison early and has now requested full custody again. I was battling some really angry feelings about all of this---because despite her actions of trying to sell this sweet baby boy for money (to a complete stranger, I might add) for drug money--- when he was only 7 months old---she now will most likely gain custody of him again. And sadly, given the family circumstances---it is heartbreaking to think what might happen to our foster son in this type of dysfunctional environment. Even more frustrating, this news comes on the heels of us learning just over a month ago that the court had ruled to actually begin termination of parental rights. Which once completed, that would have allowed us to begin the adoption proceedings.
But sadly, with his latest development with the bio mother---all of that will now be put on hold...indefinitely.
A heartbreaking setback, indeed.
So yesterday, I was feeling the weight of this situation wash over my heart and mind--and then it didn't help that I have not been feeling well since Sunday--- I've been experiencing some pretty intense pain in my arms and hands from my rheumatoid arthritis---which on stressful days like this---it makes it all the more challenging physically to care for my babies.
Jody is out of town with work, so I was feeling more overwhelmed than usual caring for the kids by myself. The babies had worn me slap out earlier in the day-- both are teething right now and not feeling well as a result. And then, to make matters worse--- when I walked in the camp yesterday afternoon to pick up Noah--he refused to leave -- and then proceeded to throw a royal temper tantrum in front of everyone. I finally had to get stern with him and raised my voice telling him to get in the car. Ugh...
Not one of my best moments or days as a mom ---at all...
I share this because I think that is why what my dear son feeling the love from the Savior soon after that truly struck a tender chord in my heart. It softened my heart....it reminded me to look at my current situation with our foster son and my struggles as a mother through eternal eyes.
I felt that the Lord knew that not only did my little fella need to hear that He loved him--but also on a deeper level-- He needed me to be reminded to not get so caught up in the daily struggles of motherhood---to see this season of my life for what it truly is--a partnership with Him in raising some of his most precious, eternal spirits. Spirits that He has allowed me to care for, love and raise in this earthly journey of ours together.
Yes, while listening to hymns playing in the car, Noah felt the Spirit in a very tender way and in doing so---I was reminded that the Lord is never far away-- He loves each of us unconditionally. Even when we find it hard to love ourselves and forgive our shortcomings.
I'm thankful for this lesson I received from my young son yesterday and his ever faithful little heart. For reminding mama to be more "child-like" in my faith and to seek daily to truly "see" my life through an eternal lens.
But more importantly, for helping me feel the love of my Savior on a day that I needed it the most.
"God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
this is how He shares His love...
for the family is of God."
- Jean A. Stevens
Have a blessed day...