in your words there is life

for so much of your young childhood (well, since you were born), we have prayed over you and have spoken to you, showed you, Jesus.  we love Jesus.  and so you've seen us, in our frailty and incompleteness, love Jesus the best we can.  we've taken you to church where you have listened to us worship God in voice along with others.  and here you have joined with other little ones to listen to bible stories and to participate in them lead by dear friend-teachers.  we've dedicated you to God in our church, committing to raise you, teach you in the ways that honor Him.   And so slowly it seems, we have added to your heart these drops of goodness of knowing Jesus's Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.  Not really in a conscious way by anything we could have forged, but in a way that God our Father is able to do in sweetness and perfectness.

these days you have asked--have had a much deeper inward dialogue then i will ever know--who God is.  you've asked in ways about heaven and what it is.  and i'm sure these are questions that you've finally been able to think about because your four-year-old-mind is on a marathon of trying to make sense of everything which includes the intriguing bible stories in children's church.  you're connecting.  and you're yearning for something bigger then yourself.  it's because there has been a seed inside your heart.  nothing that we have formulated, or willed with our own minds.  it's been there because of our prayers for you and because, well, because we show you that we our loved by Jesus' Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love, imperfect as we are.  and so there are questions that want answers.

and we try.  i try to tell you of One who loves you.  i tell you of God who has a special home for you and wants to be with you--when you are old and ready to be with Him.  i say that He has rescued your heart and has made it Good for He is good.  and He wants to be near you, for you to love Him.  we speak of heaven, this perfect home, where there are no sad things or boo boos.  and you tell me it is the place where you can swim with sharks and wear pretty dresses.  i say yes.  and smile while i imagine that kind of magnificent.  i say this is because God makes heaven perfect.  and we will sing songs of love to Him, like the ones we sing together now before you go to bed.

and so all of these questions and ponderings have been turning themselves over in your mind, being gently kneaded like bread dough into the fibers of your heart and soul, awakening that seed.  so much so that when we talk about Jesus and being with Him, you say, "i want Jesus, mama!"  and a thousand angels in heaven rejoice and in that instant--or maybe even before you speak it--He is there.  saturating your being with all of His beauty and Truth.  in you.  and you in Him.

today we are driving home from grocery shopping, you and your friend in the backseat while i put the bags into the back.  i enter into a conversation that began somehow, but know that God was present with it all from the start.  you, sophia, are excitedly telling your friend that, when you are very old, you will go to a home in heaven.  and you make sure to tell this friend that you will ride a shark when you live in heaven someday.  i agree with you and talk about God who makes heaven beautiful.  and the little girl asks, "who is God?"  i pause and think about this grand question and the age of the audience waiting for a reply.  "He created the world and everyone--even you!  He made heaven and loves you.  and He wants you--when you are very old and when it's time--to be with Him in heaven someday."  "what is heaven?" she goes on, trying to put all of this in a way that a five-year-old can picture it.  and i don't remember all of my words.  we were driving and these girls have short attention spans.  but i said something to the effect of those who love Jesus, who accept His love, will live in heaven.  and my girl shouts, "i love Jesus!  i'm going to heaven when i'm a grandma!"  to which this friend replies, "i love my mom and dad and they love me."  and later, "i don't want to go to heaven...."

and of course here is a five year old to whom i can only say so much and she has limits to what she can understand.  but there is my sophia full of joy and pure life who unashamedly calls out her love for Jesus in front of her friend.  she claims that she knows of His Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love by way of speaking her love for Him.

i know this.  i witnessed what God's Spirit inside a four-year-old, in her limits of knowledge and theology and life experience, looks like.  it is two times in a row, taking her friend's hand in hers and saying in such patience and sincerity, "i love you leila."  and when not acknowledged or reciprocated, she repeats, "i love you leila."  and she continues to hold that friend's hand, with a smile on her face, even when, again, her friend does not respond in kind.  because there is something far more beautiful in my daughter's heart that allows her to love another person (someone other then one who has shown her love over four and a half years), in an unyielding way where it is okay to not hear the same words or be  shown the same love in return.  and i know that our Father has called our precious Sophia's name, has spoken over her, because she is His.  i experienced the mystery of seeing my child become a child of God, to be used to show His glory to another little person, and to love another human being out of a heart full of the Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking Always and Forever Love.