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Sophie from BooMama
"To Know This Love That Surpasses Knowledge"
A few months ago my little boy Alex and I were in the grocery store, and completely out of the blue he asked me if he will go to heaven one day. Because I was a little distracted by the fact that at some point pot roasts have started to cost about the same as a cute pair of shoes from Target, I sort of off-handedly replied, "Well, yes, buddy, if you have asked Jesus into your heart, then yes, you will go to heaven."
And then Alex got very quiet, and after about a full minute of Deep Soul Searching, he screamed "JEEEEEEEEEEEE-SUS! COME INTO MY HEART!" right there next to the pot roasts, only he said it not like he recognized his fallen heart's need for a Savior but more like he was aggravated with Jesus for not sharing His toys.
So while I wasn't completely sure that the little man was clear on some of the more fundamental doctrinal issues, I was entirely certain that Jesus had good reason to take issue with his tone.
But then, about five minutes later, when I was seized by TOE CRAMPS, of all things, I told the little man that I had to stop for a second before THE PAIN MADE MY KNEES BUCKLE, and he responded by saying, "Mama, I would like to tell a prayer for you."
I said that would be wonderful, so we bowed our heads right there in front of the dairy case and he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Dear God. Please help Mama's toes to feel better in Publix so that she can wear her shoe. In Jesus' Name. Amen." And he was so deeply sincere about the whole thing that I wondered for a split second if his profession of faith over in the meat department wasn't the real deal after all.
Before Alex was born, I imagined that this child whose face I had not yet seen would sit with me at a desk while I carefully read passages of Scripture aloud. Everything would be Perfectly Orderly; I would Teach With Care while my child Listened Attentively. Then we would clasp our hands together and begin the walk toward faith with lockstep precision, only stopping long enough for him to surrender to whatever calling God might have on his life.
Because I wasn't idealistic or anything.
But the reality, as anybody with a little one knows, is absolutely nothing like that. The daily process of teaching and leading a precious little heart is about as methodical as herding a room full of cats. And you know what else? It is hard. On every single level. So much of parenting uncovers our own imperfections, and we are constantly being humbled, broken and refined in our own lives while we try to nurture the little lives that have been entrusted to us.
But the rewards of parenting? They're immeasurable. They're eternal. And the longer I'm a mama, the more I find that the most teachable moments in terms of faith don't require much organization or planning on my part. They don't necessarily happen while we're sitting in a church service or when we're Reviewing Memory Verses With Great Intention, though certainly I believe that God uses those things.
For me the most breathtaking moments - the times when my husband and I are both able to share our faith with the most sincerity and transparency - are when Alex picks up a maple leaf from the ground and then says, with wonder, "GOD MADE THIS!" Or when he runs into the house after being outside and says, "Mama! I missed you! And I talked to Jesus while I played!" Or when he's sick with a stomach virus and says, through his tears, "Mama? Will you always take care of me? Will God always take care of me?"
Or even when he puts his hand on my shoulder in the middle of a crowded grocery store and prays for my toe cramps while we stand next to six different brands of sour cream.
In many ways motherhood is absolutely nothing like I imagined but so much more than I expected. And for me, right now, the greatest joy is sharing the Greatest Joy with a four year-old who may get a little cloudy on the theological details - but whose heart is wide open.
I cannot imagine any greater privilege.