In the first chapter of the book of John, our relationship with the Lord is as clear as it can be: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” (John 1:12) As a mother, I have discovered that there is more power and truth in the the word “children” than I understood when I was a young twenty-something single girl. Changing my perspective on that one word has changed how I view my relationship with God.
I was running late one afternoon, getting ready to leave my para-teaching position and head downtown for my night class in the credential program. I rushed around the make-shift computer lab where I spent the day demonstrating the myriad of uses of PowerPoint and Excel, tossing papers in piles. “I’ll sort these later,” I told myself. Who was I kidding? All teachers know that later doesn’t really exist; the pile just gets deeper.
I grabbed my purse, rummaging through its content to find my keys. I couldn’t locate them. I shook my purse, listening intently for the jingling that would lead me to the spot where the keys were hiding. But there was no jingle. I frantically glanced around the room, but the keys just weren’t there! Did I really have to spend time searching each classroom, all 12 of them, to hunt down the car keys?
“I don’t have time for this!” I muttered, just as co-worker stepped through the doorway.
“Have time for what?” She asked innocently, unaware that I was about to unleash my frustrations on her.
“I can’t find my keys! I have to be downtown in 30 minutes! I looked all over the room, and I don’t have time to waste looking for them all over the school!” Somehow, voicing these thoughts made the problem seem ever-so-much more dire.
“Did you pray about it?” she replied as she left me to search on my own.
You have got to be kidding. Pray about my lost keys? God doesn’t want to hear my absurd and petty issues. I just misplaced them. You are supposed to give God the big stuff, like marriage and cancer and…
In this tiny and truly insignificant circumstance, in light of those life-altering issues, I had forgotten God’s promise that I am his child. Had I remembered, though, I am not sure it would have made a difference because the word child didn’t mean much to me back then.
Now I have two sweet little boys. These little boys lose things. They lose the remote for the TV and can’t watch Paw Patrol or Ninjago. They lose the best rock from their collection. They lose the red balloons they bring home from Red Robin. With tears streaming down their cheeks, they come to me for help. My heart snaps in two when I see those tear-stained faces and pouty lips. While I get irritated and want them to keep track of their things better, I also want to help them find what they have lost. I want to guide them and comfort them through all of their childhood trials, in hopes that they will learn to come to me when game-changing challenges obstruct their paths.
So I start the search. I ask them questions such as “Where did you have it last? What color is it? Where were you playing with it?” Then I turn the couch pillows upside down, I empty the toy box, or I lay flat on the floor and shine a flashlight under the couch. When we find the buried treasure, we celebrate.
What I have learned is that God loves me over and above how I love my own children. He gets irritated with my lack of discipline and faithlessness, but that doesn’t limit His desire to see me happy. He asks me to pray, to talk with Him, to make Him the center of my little world. That means getting on my knees, physically or in spirit, and giving him everything. As I practice that humbling of spirit, He will teach me how to trust Him with both the life-changing challenges that can stop me in my tracks and the mundane missteps of daily living.