A couple years ago when I was going through one of the hardest times in my life, a time when I had to begin to dig in and deal with the effects of the pain, abuse and the fragments of what was left of my heart—My pastor at the time prophesied over me and it's still a recording I reflect back on and listen to often. At the time it seemed a bit foreign of an idea but boy did my life follow the path of what was spoken about me that night.
The biggest part of the message was this verse Isaiah 11:6, "and a little child shall lead them." My daughter at the time was 3 and I was told that she was me. She is here to lead me and teach me in only the ways a pure, innocent big eyed child can lead.
My childhood was taken quicker than a thief in the night. I was robbed not long after birth. My purity stained by the blood of those that were supposed to protect and guide me but instead covered me in their sins. My shoulders, though small then had to learn to carry a load unfit for even the strongest of adults... Left broken was not just my back, but my heart, mind, heart, soul spirit and my purity.
During each of my days I hear the gentle whisper of God nudging me to pay careful attention to the children around me; most importantly my own. So I find myself watching my daughter as if she were a movie or a much loved book that I cannot seem to put down. I begin interpreting the lessons God is teaching me through her; they are lessons we all need.
Curiosity: We must be curious about ourselves only then can we be curious about our creator. Kids are never afraid to ask questions especially the question of why and when they are denied the answer they continue to ask without fear or awareness of the tenacity of their persistence. How many times have you or I stopped asking a question or never asked a question because we felt embarrassed, annoying or silly?
Be fluid: Go with the flow, that way you have more freedom from anxiety and your expectations. Have you ever noticed how just as they are curious, children often never say no to new adventures or activities? They are more willing to experience new things and off the map ideas.
Hug more, love more: Children are more inclined to love and show affection to just about anyone. I may be too affectionate but I love hugs and when they are offered up, I take them!
Do we love like them or do we make snap judgments based on appearance and perceived quick assumptions?
Be in awe: Watching children for even a few minutes you will experience their bewilderment and the “awes” of what we would consider the most normal and unexcited things. When is the last time you were in awe of the things around you or the small and big wonders of God?
Children at play: Children are not the slightest bit consumed by how they look to others when they play. They yell and laugh as if they were unaware of any other human existence. They are raw; they are pure. They are not afraid or deterred by the dirt. What we adults see as dirty and messy, children see as a tool used to create, mold and discover.
What my daughter has taught me when it comes to relationships with others:
Be realistic: When it comes to our expectations of others we must be realistic. We need to be realistic enough to leave some room for human error especially when it comes to those around us who still live with a veil over their eyes. “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8 ESV) Being a parent or just being around children we see that we must meet them where they are and realize that we need to adjust our expectations accordingly; we must be realistic or we will end up frustrated and fed up quickly. Along the same lines we also need to stop trying to change them into who we want them to be and let them be who they are.
Believer or not everyone is created uniquely different and we must stop trying to mold and fit everyone into a box that we've decided is the best box. There is a reason God made us all different; let’s embrace it.
Pick your battles: One of the biggest yet instrumental lessons I have learned from my 5 year old daughter is the art of picking your battles (mind you I still do not have this down fully yet).
I see a lot of “beefing” (judgments, criticizing, fights and finger pointing) on social media regularly and it is almost consistently between believers. Before we decide to take on a post we do not agree with or start an argument we must stop, breathe, pray and decide if this is a battle worth taking on. If we spend all our energy battling against every post, comment or picture we will not only exhaust ourselves but we will become what we are not, “spiritual police.” Bottom line... love trumps judgment.
I highly encourage you to stop for a few minutes and watch a child for a few minutes this week. Allow a child to lead you and you will find yourself looking at life, problems and people in a whole new way.