I actually thought of many things to title this blog post. "Kids and the Holy Spirit," "The infinite wisdom of children,"....and a few others. I don't really have much of an official "intro" for this one, so I am just going to dive right in. Bear with me if you can, because I do have a direction for this post, and think I will eventually arrive at it. Anyway, let's get to the "meat and potatoes," shall we?
My son's name is Seth Gabriel. We named him that for a reason. His first name means "consecrated to God," and his middle name means "messenger of God." In Bible history and geneology, parents would name their children based around characteristics they wished to bestow upon them, aspirations they had for them, physical characteristics (Esau means "hairy" ), or pregnancy/birth circumstances (Jacob means "heal snatcher," because he came out of the womb grabbing his brother's foot, and lesser-known name, Jakin, from a geneology listed in Genesis, means "to writhe in pain). I decided I wanted to find a name for my son that meant something special, something that spoke of the character I wished for him to have. We want him to be a young man who sticks close to the Lord, and is unafraid to be His messenger. I can only hope and pray he lives up to that potential.
My son is an interesting child. He's very sensitive, very emotional, and at times very challenging, and pretty high-maintenence, but he is also very kind and loving, emapthetic, and has a very big heart.
Okay, before I proceed, let me state for the record that I understand most of the verses I am going to quote are shortened, and maybe a bit out-of-context, but hear me out. I am not trying to falsely quote or interpret the Word of God, and I believe I will be able to pull this all together in the end.
Its funny... We expect our children to learn from us, and for us to guide them and steer them along in life. Biblically-speaking, "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child...," (Proverbs 22:15) and therefore it is our duty to lead them and teach them what is acceptable and right in this world, and what isn't. So when we are actually ministered to by our own children, it is quite eye-opening, humbling, and stops you in your tracks. You feel the love and the heart of the Lord in a whole new and different way.
Okay, I need to slow down here....
While, yes, a child's heart is indeed foolish (I think its safe to say anyone who's a parent - Christian or not - would agree with that), the Bible also says,
Mark 10:13-16 (New International Version)
13People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
14When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
16And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
I interpret this to mean that, while "foolish," with so much more about the world to learn, children actually know a lot more about how to operate in faith than adults.
Think about it logically. Children are completely uninhibited with what they say, what they do, and how they feel. Sometimes to the embarrassment of their parents even. Young children haven't yet experienced enough judgment, ridicule, or fear of repurcussions for what they say, do, or feel yet, so they don't know any differently. What may not be seen as "socially acceptable," is perfectly fine when its said, done, or felt by a child. Children don't censor, because they haven't been socialized to need to yet. In a way, I actually think this can be a blessing. Sure, sometimes kids don't know when to quit, and that's a bad thing, but it can also, at times, be a good thing. Kids have the blissful boldness, tenacity, perseverance, and utter unawareness that they are stepping over social boundaries.
In regards to faith, children aren't afraid to speak in truth, because they aren't aware that others may not want to hear it. Kids don't really rationalize, talk themselves out of things, or worry about what others will think of what they say or do. They just follow their hearts.
Getting back to my son....
A month or two ago, I had a day where I was hit with some horrible stomach cramping. It got so bad that I couldn't even take Joy to dance class because I was in so much discomfort. I took it easy for a while, sat and sipped some water, and cuddled gently with the kids. After a few hours, I was up and functioning again, so Seth asked me if I was feeling any better. I told him that I was feeling much better, to which he replied, very matter-of-fact, "Good, because I prayed for you." I had not asked or prompted him to pray for me. He just took it upon himself to do it. And God answered his prayer.
I learned a lot from that. First of all, how many times have I forgotten to pray for my kids when they are hurting? Put it this way....a LOT more times than I have remembered to! Secondly, I learned that no prayer is too small, no prayer is unimportant, and no prayer goes unheard. God listens to everyone, even little children. Third, we should pray as openly and uninhibited as children do, trusting fully in the Lord, and knowing he hears us. Praying selflessly, expecting nothing for ourselves, only for His help for someone else. (Mark 10:13-16 again.) Jesus loves kids because they aren't afraid to love Him, talk to Him, commune with Him, ask of Him, or occasionally even be His vessel to minister to others.
Now, onto last night....
Yesterday was a bad day for me. You know how sometimes you have those days when life just feels like more than you can handle, and you feel buried in your less-than-ideal circumstances, to the point that, for a short time, you lose sight of the forest through the trees? That was where my head was. During dinner, my husband noticed I was very quiet, so he asked me what was wrong. Against my better judgment, I began rattling off everything, and ended by saying some things about myself that were highly dramatized, mostly untrue, and very self-depracating. Rationally, I knew none of these things were true, but at the time, I said them anyway because I felt so overwhelmed. It was neither the time nor the place to say these things in front of my kids, and for that I feel rather ashamed. But what's done is done. Anyway, after my rant, I walked into the kitchen, crying. My son came over, wrapped his arms around me and said, "Mom, you are special! You have 3 great kids, a nice husband, and a good house. You have friends. You are a good mom." Wow! Convicting and healing all at the same time!! I immediately felt an indescribable calm come over me (the Lord, for sure), and almost instantly, I began to feel better. My son was right. I can dwell on all the things that aren't right, but the bottom line is, I do have 3 great kids, a nice husband, a good house, friends, and I am a good mom. Really, what else matters?! All the rest pales in comparison!
I am still in awe over the fact that I got such a huge, comforting word from the Lord through my 8 year old. And it just confirms that I DID pick the right name for my son. He really is a little light in this world. A young man, a CHILD, who is dedicated to praying the prayers the rest of us think are too small, and boldly speaking words of wisdom from the Lord. I am immeasurably proud of my son, and if he is this amazing at age 8, I look forward to what more the future holds for my boy, and how much more he is going to teach me throughout our lives.
I guess my point is, like Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:2 (NIV), age is irrelevant. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. The old has an obligation to teach the young, but the young can sometimes teach the old. And its humbling.