Emerald is all about Disney World these days. At almost three years old, she has seen the well-placed commercials that come up during Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and she is pretty clear on the fact that when you go to Disney World you get to meet all of your favorite princesses and Mickey and Minnie and who knows who else.
In fact, she thinks that it could even be possible to meet God there.
Tonight, she ran into the room and excitedly said, “Mama, God loves me!” Then she asked, “Can I go to Disney World and see God?”
I was struck by the sweet baby faith that prompted such a question. God is real, she believes with her whole heart. He is real, and where else would we meet Him but in the happiest, most magical place on Earth? I hugged her tight and told her that we can’t see God, but He is everywhere, including Disney World.
After I put her in bed and I sat listening to her quiet singing as she settled down for the night, I realized that the truth is that in a sense she did see God today. She saw Him in the loving arms and sweet simple teaching of her Sunday school teachers. She saw Him in the strength and tenderness of her pastor-daddy. She saw Him in the hands of her brother and sister as they held tight and excitedly led her down twisting church halls.
And, I pray that she saw Him in me, that my love for her would keep sending her the message that she probably heard in her Sunday school class today: “God loves me!”
In fact, I pray that all of my children would see Him in me, that His attributes would shine through so clearly that they know His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His holiness, just by watching their mama.
Because when they’re little like this, you and me, parents, are the ones that they look to. We, who are made in His image, and redeemed by His love, are teaching our children every day what they should believe about God’s character. We don’t have to be perfect. We can’t be. We never will be. But, we do need to take our role seriously, understanding that in these early years we are their source of understanding God’s goodness. What are we teaching them in our everyday interactions? More than just wrath, I hope. More than annoyance. More than selfishness.
Emerald doesn’t read her Bible. But, she does read me, in all kinds of ways that are real and heart-deep. I pray that when she looks for God she can see clearly see Him in the life and speech and attitude and heart and soul of her only mama. I would take her to Disney World or to the ends of the Earth if it meant that she would know Him personally. But, the truth is where she is really going to get to know my God is right here, in our living room, looking into the face of her mother who loves her.