One year ago today, something amazing happened. I got to see a remarkable little girl who I’d been waiting to meet for a very long time.
I’m a stereotypical single person. I’m not very comfortable around kids. They kind of scare me, to be honest. I don’t know what to do with them. I didn’t babysit as a kid. I worked in libraries. Books were way easier to take care of. They didn’t wander off or need changing or fed.
But when this little girl got here, she changed my mind about kids. Not that I didn’t like them before, but for the first time, I really wanted to be around one—her specifically. And as I’ve watched her this past year, I feel like I’ve really learned a lot about who God is and how He sees us.
Today’s verses are Matthew 18:2-4.
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Kids are easy to dismiss sometimes because they’re small or because they haven’t experienced a lot of life, but from what I’ve seen, kids have a better grasp on God and following God than grownups do. So I thought, in honor of HooChild’s first birthday, I’d make a list of some of the things she’s taught me in the last 365 days.
1. Get dirty. It’s more fun.
Kids don’t worry about their clothes or their possessions. Probably because they didn’t have to buy them. And in a grown-up’s world, that’s a bad thing. It’s irresponsible to treat our hard-earned possessions so carelessly. And there’s truth in that, but what we grown-ups forget sometimes is that even though we’ve worked, it’s still God who gives us all we have. We should be thankful, yes, but we shouldn’t worry. Because if we get dirty doing God’s work, He’ll provide what we need.
2. It’s the simple things in life.
How many times have you watched a child miss the point of an expensive gift? You spend a bundle on a fancy toy and the kid is more interested in the box it came in? Turn that around, friend. Who missed the point? Kids have a marvelously sensible view of life. They don’t need fancy toys or expensive gifts to be happy. They see the simple things as wonders. As adults, we lose that. And we shouldn’t. Life really doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it.
3. Sometimes you just need your dad.
And then there are the bad days when nothing goes right and you just need to remember that God is in control. But there’s something in grownups that doesn’t allow us to receive comfort. We see that as weakness. We think we have to power through no matter what. But we don’t. And sometimes the battle really is too much for us to handle on our own, and there’s nothing wrong with leaning on our Heavenly Father for a little bit.
4. Look for joy everywhere.
We live in a beautiful world, full of marvels and miracles, and grownups rush past them all too often. We need to slow down. Take in a sunrise or a sunset. Wonder at a dandelion gone to seed. Watch a bird build a nest. Stop and smell a flower or the scent of cut grass. It’s all amazing, but we can’t enjoy it if we’re too busy to notice.
5. Make each moment count.
Time goes so fast. So fast. And in those fast, fleeting moments, it’s so very easy to forget what matters and focus on things that don’t last. Don’t. You know what those things are. They may be different for every person, but we all know what they are in our own lives. Stop focusing so much on the things that only matter for a moment and start focusing on the things that will matter tomorrow and the day after and the day after and the day after.
A year ago today, I got to see a tiny little girl all swaddled up at Wesley Hospital, 10 hours old and strong enough to hold her head up. This coming weekend, we’re going to walk around zoo together and I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll tell us exactly what she wants to see. She’s a tiny bit opinionated.
What do you need to learn from the kids in your life? What truth have the children you know taught you? Are you open to it? You should be. Jesus thought children were important, worth spending time with, worth investing in. So pay attention. That answer you’re looking for might be as obvious as the next kid you talk to.
(photo credits to HooChild’s mom and the amazing Melissa Dinsmore)