The Joy of Kids

JonahPirateYesterday Jonah told me he wanted to be a pirate. He brought his red cape to me and asked if I would tie it around his head. He then made a makeshift sword and started saying “Arrrrr…” Then Elijah got in on the act. He put on a Santa Claus hat and told me he was a pirate too. What is more, he took another Santa hat and put a bunch of toys in it and told me it was his treasure.

A while later, I saw Elijah spinning in circles. When he got done, he started walking in zigzags around the living room saying, “Room is spinning…room is spinning”. Kids are awesome. This morning, it continued. When it was time to get dressed, the boys decided that one pair of underwear wasn’t enough. They both, on their own, put an extra pair on their head and started running around laughing hysterically. Ahhh….the joy of kids!

I love the sound of laughter and activity in the house. I love it because it is sweet and fun and playful. The more I thought about how much I loved hearing those sounds the more I realized that it won’t always be that way. There will come a day when the house will be quiet. No more running around. No more pirates. No more underwear on their heads. Just quiet. When it happens I hope I can say we raised them right. I hope we can say we did everything we could to help them love God and love others. My prayer is that we found a healthy balance between loving playfulness/freedom and discipline/boundaries.

It is important that we are our kids parents and that we are their friends. One without the other is harmful to their well being. That tension is real and it is powerful. It reminds me that the same is true of my heavenly Father. He is my disciplinarian but He is also my friend. He puts me through the fire that refines me but also would want to spend playful time with me as well. I hope that doesn’t sound like I have lost my sense of wonder and awe of God. Quite the opposite…it makes me even more in awe of a God who can love me like that.

I am certain there will be a lot of laughing in heaven. I am not so sure about the underwear on the head thing but I can definitely hear the laughing!

When Our Kids Teach Us About God

Today Jonah, our two year old, shed some light on why God doesn’t always give us the things we really want. Missy had baked some cupcakes and he really wanted one. He threw a fit trying to get one so we didn’t let him have one until he calmed down and asked nicely. Then he wanted another. He proceeded to throw another tantrum trying to get said cupcake but this time we didn’t let him have any. He was told he had to wait until lunch and if he finished all his food he could have another. He didn’t like that answer and stormed off into his room. When lunch came he said he wanted a cupcake. We told him again what he had to do to get one. He didn’t like that answer and whined through the first five minutes of lunch before he finally started eating his food. Once he finished all his food he got what he so desperately wanted.

It reminded me of my relationship with God. Sometimes there are things I really want but God makes me wait because he knows what is best for me. It was best that Jonah eat a balanced meal. It was best that Jonah learned to wait. It was also best that Jonah is learning how to ask politely for things. Imagine what kind of child he would be if we gave him everything he wanted the moment he asked or the moment he threw a tantrum. I doubt he would make it very far in life. God knows what we need and He knows when to give it. So the next time you wonder why God isn’t giving you something remember that what He does give you will be just what you need.

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.    9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:7-12