"The Kingdom of Heaven was made for such as these."
Feb. 6, 2019
One of the greatest joys in my life began around this time last year with a text from a friend asking if I would babysit her youngest child over the summer. Of course I told her I would, because I adore her children and it isn't often summer jobs come to you. Little did I know that "babysitting" would actually turn into a full-blown summer job "doing whatever the Children's Minister tells me to do." Of course I watched her daughter some-- we went swimming, ate a lot of Waffle House, and even took in a theatrical performance. Those days are some of the best memories of the past year, but the real beauty of the unpredictable came out of getting to know all of the children at the church, and learning from them as much or more than I could ever teach them. Those children whom I have grown to love more than I ever thought possible are able to bring out a part of me I believed to be long locked away. Especially for someone, who if we're being honest, wasn't even sure she wanted-- or liked-- children until about 6 months ago. I think Jesus may have been onto something when He said "Let the little children come to me and do not stop them, for the Kingdom of Heaven is made for such as these."
I've talked before about Messy Art Night and how the name of this blog came from something a friend said to me that I didn't understand until I was attempting to explain why running around with sandspurs in my feet and paint in my hair had meant so much to me. I'd like to say that night is what brought me back into the faith after years of floundering around trying extra hard to be a good Christian so that perhaps one day I'd stumble on a moment like this one, but I know it isn't. At least not entirely. Those kids with their wide eyes and outlandish questions about anything and everything makes it easier to ask the tough questions about my own faith. Surely, if a 3 year-old can ask me where babies come from in the middle of VBS, I can find it in myself somewhere to ask why a preacher's daughter lost her faith somewhere in between children's choir, Sunday School, acolyting, nightly prayers, and Wednesday Night Suppers.
Okay, so maybe those aren't the same things, but so often children have this amazing ability to answer without fear of being judged for it. They ask questions, they give answers, they speak without wondering if someone is going to laugh. Children are just tiny adults and they wonder the same things we do. The difference is they aren't afraid to get messy and challenege the people teaching them. "Because" is not a good enough answer. This isn't to say children are exempt from worry and pain-- because that simply isn't the case. Children are simply more resilient, so when they get knocked down they get up a lot faster than we do. They have a lot of courage I wish I could bottle. The world would be a lot better place if we all had the curiosity of a child and the carefree spirits that run so freely across the ballfield slinging paint at one another.
Jesus said "the Kingdom of Heaven is made for such as these" and I think we should do a lot more listening to our tiny human friends. Spirituality is messy. Which is hard, but we can't be afraid to ask the tough questions, even if we don't have the answers right away. If we're ever going to answer them, we have got to start looking at the world with a lot more wonder and a lot less inhibition. If that ever happens, I think it's safe to say it will be beautiful chaos.