Lately, I feel like a woman in love. I find myself singing when I don’t mean to be. I feel this deep sense of love and gratitude and tenderness when I think of my beloved. It seems like there’s this gurgling joy that just keeps springing out of me. And it’s coming from some place deep, deep, deep inside. It’s a renewing energy inside of me and I know at least a big part of it is because I’m falling deeper in love with Jesus as I teach my children of His love for them.
It’s like this. Have you ever had a moment where you see someone loving your kids well and it just makes you fall more deeply in love with that person? Maybe it’s your husband wrestling on the floor with your sons, or your father patiently teaching your little one how to fish, or maybe it’s your sister who’s called to invite your little girl for a tea party and a sleepover. And if you don’t have children, I’m sure you’ve had the feeling: when you see someone being kind and generous to someone you love, it makes your heart swell. And that’s just how I feel lately as I teach my little ones about Jesus.
I have to confess, my own spiritual growth has been really spurred on lately by a few—I’m going to call them works of art, because that’s what they are—works of art originally designed for toddlers and children. And I’m so grateful for real artists using their gifts for children (and their parents!) that I have to tell you about them. The first two are both by the same writer, Sally Lloyd Jones. Oh friends, whether or not you have young children, buy her children’s Bible and read it. You will fall more in love with God through it. In her “Jesus Storybook Bible” she tells the story of the Bible not as individual snapshots of Bible heroes, but rather for what it is, a meta-narrative capturing the fierce and unrelenting heart of God for His people. Here’s a passage from the creation story and more specifically the apex of creation where God makes Adam and Eve:
“So God breathed life into Adam and Eve. When they opened their eyes, the first thing they ever saw was God’s face. And when God saw them he was like a new dad. “You look like me,” he said. “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever made!”
“God loved them with all of his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.And Adam and Eve joined in the song of the stars and the streams and the winds in the trees, the wonderful song of love to the one who made them. Their hearts were filled with happiness. And nothing ever made them sad or lonely or sick or afraid.
“God looked at everything he had made. “Perfect!” he said. And it was.
“But all the stars and the mountains and the oceans and galaxies and everything were nothing compared to how much God loved his children. He would move heaven and earth to be near them. Always. Whatever happened, whatever it cost him, he would always love them. And so it was that the wonderful love story began…”
Isn’t that breathtaking? Doesn’t it make it all just come to life for you again in a new way? Oh, how I want to be a part of that song of the stars, streams, and winds in the trees. Oh, how I want to know that perfect happiness of Eden that we will taste of once again in the new heavens and new earth! Oh, how I want to let that deep, deep love of Jesus seep, seep, seep into my soul and transform me!
Tonight, as I put my son Luke to bed we were reading from Sally Lloyd Jone’s Hug-a-Bible, intended for an even younger audience. Thanks to the beautiful creative work of Sandra McCracken, Flo Paris, Katy Bowser, and Ellie Holcomb (Rain for Roots: Big Stories for Little Ones) who took Jones’ beautiful words and put them to gorgeous singable melodies, I was read/singing with and to Luke these words:
“He made the stars and oceans blue
But says that none compare with you.
You are his treasure and great prize.
He knows your name. He made your eyes.
He is your Shepherd, little lamb.
The King of Heaven
The Great I am.”
And as I’m hearing Luke sing these words and singing these words to him, I’m holding back the tears because God loves my little ones so well and that makes me just fall more and more in love with Him. And the more in love with Jesus I fall, the more I want to teach my little ones to love Him, to walk with Him, to lean into Him, to know Him.
Last week in the days following Easter, we were leaping (I’m not kidding—and I know the visual picture may make you laugh–it made it hard for my husband to work downstairs!) around the house to this melody, also by Rain for Roots with words by Sally Lloyd Jones. Take a minute to watch this video, I think it will fill you with joy and give you a glimpse of the kingdom of God!
And Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). I think I’m learning what this means. As I fall simply more in love with Jesus, I find my heart becoming more like that of a child: exuberant, free, sincere, and full of trust. This is not my work, but His in me, a miracle of grace.
And here’s the takeaway: if you find your heart and mind numb to the things of God, maybe it’s time to look at Jesus and God’s Word again with the simplicity of a child. What is this whole story about? “Who died but came alive again? Who came to rescue you and win? Who came to make all things brand new? Who did it all for the love of you?” Sit awhile and meditate on the answer to that question and then, “Sing and dance and leap and run! His name is Jesus, little one!”
Let your heart be little, and you will remember once again what it is to worship a God so big. See yourself for the vulnerable child you are and you will remember what is to rest in a God so good and strong. Rest once again in the strength and warmth and purity of God’s love; let your heart be little and your God big.
P.S. I’m super excited to be able to give away next week during launch week for my new book, Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting a digital download of Rain for Roots’ cd, “Big Stories for Little Ones,” and also two signed copies of the cd at my release party (WIW_LaunchParty (1)) on the 20th to some blessed expectant mama.
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