Thursday, July 31, 2014

Little kids, BIG faith.



Over the weekend my husband and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. We had a fun night out. It was nice to be just husband and wife and break out of our mom and dad roles for a few hours. Our plan was to come home, relieve grandma of her babysitting duties, put the kids to bed and then continue our "us" time. It was a good plan until... the power went out shortly after we walked through the door. 

My new plan quickly changed to finding flashlights using the light on my cell phone to find candles. As I searched for candles the little ones, specifically our 6 year old daughter, started to get nervous. Natalie repeated, "I'm scared! I don't like the dark! I'm REALLY afraid of the dark!" We did our best to comfort her and eventually she calmed down a little when I my husband gave her a battery operated candle to hold. She walked around grasping it tightly and said once more, with a tremble in her voice, "Mom, I really am afraid of the dark." "I know you are, sweetie. I don't like this right now either but there is nothing we can do to change it at the moment. There is nothing to be afraid of. We have to make the best of this situation" I replied. About that moment our four year old son, Conner, excitedly chimed in, "I know what we should do! We should pray to Jesus and ask him to help us!" Natalie's face lit up, "Yes! I remember what you taught me, mom... whenever I am afraid, call on Jesus and He will help me because He loves me. And I can call on Mary too- 'Mary, I need you' and she'll always be with me."

I stood in the middle of our dark bedroom (tearing up) in awe of their beautifully simple and strong faith in God. Before I could muster up a response they both took charge and began to pray, "Jesus, please help us. We're scared..." and "Hail Mary, full of grace..." while holding onto their candles... they clung to His light- they clung to promises of their Father in Heaven who loves them more than they can comprehend. I was incredibly proud of them and extremely grateful.
"... God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)
Fast forward a couple of days to Monday morning. It was the start of vacation bible school. Natalie was feeling nervous about being in a new place and having to meet new people. She teared up a few times and at one point she told me she felt sick to her stomach and thought she was going to throw up. Oh how I understand how this sweet child feels. She is just like her mama- we struggle with the same things... change, new situations, always wrestling with our introverted and extroverted sides. God has taught me so much about facing my own fears through being their mother.

After helping Natalie talk through her feelings I reassured her that change, while sometimes difficult, is very necessary in order for our growth. She was silent as we got in the car. I expected the duration of the car ride to be quiet from all the nerves but instead she asked to listen to Matt Maher's "Lord I Need You" (my absolute favorite song). The song began to play and I was overcome with emotion. I realized in that moment how much I  underestimate our children and their ability to understand. Here was our 6 year old in the middle of a desperate moment, feeling nervous and unsure but she remembered to ask God for help all by herself. And just a few days before she and her brother remembered to ask Jesus to be with them when they were afraid of the dark. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude. I know there's plenty of things that I do wrong in parenting. In fact, I worry constantly about all the ways in which I am messing up our kids. But I felt this little moment was God's way of telling me, "Calm down, you aren't doing as bad as you think" and "Quit worrying... I have them in my hands."

I pray that our children always remember to cry out to their Heavenly Father... 

When they're afraid of the dark, "Lord I Need You..." 
When they're hurt or angry, "Lord I Need You..." 
When they're lonely, "Lord I Need You..." 
When they need help making a decision, "Lord I Need You..."
When they're overwhelmed by His love, "Lord I Need You..." 

The music continued to play and soon all three kids were singing. Nervousness subsided and apprehensive expressions turned back into smiles as little kids sang their hearts out for Jesus. It was the best car ride. 


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