Friday, February 01, 2008

"Up There and In Here"

The other night, I volunteered to teach the children's activities at church. And, for those of you who've ever worked with little kids, you certainly know that you never really know what you're gonna get! You never know what will come out of the mouths of babes (like when I had to correct them for saying "butt" and "shut up." I tried to explain--as I did a lesson on "hiding God's word in our hearts"--that those probably aren't some of God's favorite words).

Sydney was the youngest in our group on Wednesday, and so you have to give her a little leeway in how she handles the discussions and activities. With a three-year-old, you can never fully expect what sort of tangent she can go off on (you know...you're talking about Jesus one moment and then, before you know it, you're talking about Sleeping Beauty!). But, once you get past having to be a little more patient with the younger ones, you realize how much you can truly learn from the littler children.

I've always thought that the younger you are, the closer you are to God in the simplest and most innocent of ways. As we get older, we take things out of perspective...when we really should just be taking an experience or an emotion or an activity for "what it is." There are days when I can feel like I'm pretty connected to God, but then I realize that Sydney is probably a lot closer to Him on most days than I am.

Take, for example, what gem of a lesson she taught me this past Wednesday.

We were talking about how we should hide God's words in our hearts, when she decided to just start talking about God in general. She raised her hand (thank goodness for some of that politeness I'm trying to teach her!), and told all of us, "I know where God is."

I smiled and thought, How sweet, fully anticipating that she would answer with "heaven" or "up in the sky."

But wait for it... cause here comes what I like to call an "aha" or "God moment."

She answered, "Up there," as she pointed to the ceiling,

And then added, "And in here," pointing to her heart.

Up there and in here.

Wow, did that one catch me off guard. I kinda blinked back a little tear, felt the little catch in my throat, and answered her with some sort of theological response appropriate for a group of preschoolers and elementary-aged children. "You're right, Sydney," I said. "He's up in heaven [and "everywhere, really," one of the boys added on. So true, Luke!] and he lives inside of us."

Where she got the concept of God living inside of us...in our hearts...is a bit beyond me. I'd like to think that I talk about those sorts of ideas on a regular basis in everyday conversation (which I try and do), but I also imagine that her three-year-old heart and mind is just able to wrap around the idea in a way that just makes it make sense to her. Of course, God lives up there and in here. "It's quite simple to understand," she probably thinks. "Doesn't everyone realize it?"

I certainly know that it made me stop and think. It made me ponder the fact that I often focus on one or the other, but that I need to connect to the God that is both awesome AND personal.

And it made me stop and thank God for little girls...
for their innocent understanding...
for their close proximity to divine things...
and for the lessons they can teach their Moms.

{and now, because I experimented with my new camera...here are a few pics I took of my theological Sydney this morning. and the cats and the backyard...






24 comments:

~gkw said...

Cool Pics! and such a sweet story about Scout.... What happens to them when they get older?

hippochick said...

O my gosh. Out of the mouths of babes! My Gretchen was three years old when she came to Jim and I and told us she was going to ask Jesus into her heart tomorrow. And, sure enough, she did. It was on my mother's birthday. Clearly, Sydney is paying attention to your spiritual teaching.

I love the pics. Especially the black and white of Sydney and the cat. Also the birdhouse.

Wonderful post.

Gin said...

Oh Cheryl, what a wonderful story.

And the pics look great. I'm jealous of your camera.

Dawn Bibbs said...

Cheryl, I am constantly awed by the fact that our baby daughters share a kindred spirit. What a blessing they are to us. Oh, if life were as simple to US as it is to the little ones. God has done a mighty work, to be able to show us grown ups, through the eyes and words of children, how sweet and innocent a God filled life really can be. Kids, rather they know it or not, have the power to keep us grounded and focused on what's REALLY important...The simplicity and complete love of God. How amazing to see the world through their eyes.

Have a great weekend, my friend.

Patti said...

Thank God for the small ones... they truly are little blessings! I love the pics with the kitties too. So sweet!

Cheryl Wray said...

G--I love the camera!!!!! Cmon now, our others are pretty sweet MOST of the time. :-)

Hippo--Ah, that is such a sweet story about your daughter too. Sometimes they really do "get it" even when they're young.

Gin--It was very sweet!!! And I love my camera! :-)

Dawn--You're right. I really do think that Jayla and Scout are Soul Sisters!!!

Patti--The kitties were fun totake pics of too!

Linda said...

What an important aspect of the Divine that she has grasped at such a young age. Wonderful job Mom and Dad...keep up the amazing work...btw, the pics are gorg. Love and hugs.

Heather said...

That was beautiful, TFS and yes Thank God for little girls (and boys):)

Ms.L said...

I love her sweet face poking out from her hood:)

Kelly said...

You know, as mothers of small children, we don't always get feedback as to how we are doing. But, it sounds like last Wednesday you got an "A" for teaching Syndney what really matters in this world.

Gretchen said...

What a lovely post about the innocence of babes. We are to come to Him as little children, and Sydney's response makes it easy to see why. All the polish and "ought tos" are stripped away. It's just her and Jesus.

Have a great weekend!

Cheryl said...

Love your pictures. That was so sweet of her to answer with such confidence. Kids are such a blessing to us. God Bless!

Delia said...

Great pictures!

I love the story about Sydney! It's wonderful how children seem to so easily accept God and to understand His truths.

Adriann said...

How sweet...they do that to us don't they? One of the teachers at William's school passed this week and he told me that she has a new body and he's glad He said I'm not glad she died, but I'm glad that she's not in pain anymore. It totally blew me away...coming from a six year old.

After your story, Sydney looks so wise in those pics...

Enjoy your weekend...blessings!!

camport said...

so sweet and so true!
:)

Jenn said...

Adorable pictures!! They are so cute!!

Auburn Kat said...

That is so sweet! You really have done an amazing job with your daugthers!

Liz Ness said...

Awww...just love the photos (especially, the one with Sydney picking up the cat!). Also, your story is so touching...I just love kid's perspective on God. They seem to "get" it better than we do sometimes! So sweet!

Also, way to go to you Mom and to your hubby! Kids are amazing, but even more so when their parents are, too!

Disney Scrapper said...

Sounds to me like she listened to your lesson and knows that he is in her heart.

Susie Q said...

Truly, the words that come from little ones are the most precious. I love that you too believe they are the closest to God...: )

Your children are just angels. Even when they are not! : ) Sweethearts.

Love the pictures!

Love,
Sue

Maria said...

What a CUTE post! And adorable pictures Cheryl! So glad you are having FUN with your new camera!!! Congrats! Happy Sunday, my friend!

Loreluca said...

Such a COOL story! Bless your child, Cheryl, and bless your heart, for you have been teaching her right!

Kathy said...

I wish we could all be back in that place. Where we are connected, without even realizing it.

You are so right, that as adults we tend to work ourselves away from it. What a precious reminder your little one gave you.

Adrienne said...

awwww that is too sweet! I am NOT reading your other entries until I watch LOST lol I have NOT seen it yet lol