(My granddaughter’s Mama is a professional photographer! kianagrantphotography.com)
Lately I’ve had children on my mind, and it’s no wonder. Of course, there’s a wee bit of obsession with being a Nana, and my baby girl Maisy, and oh, by the way – can I show you a picture? I’ve got a couple. Dozen. Right here on my phone.
It doesn’t hurt to have kids, now parents, who’ve made a career of taking photos, and Kiana asked in a text the other day if she was sending too many. Too many?! Absurd. So. My apologies to the viewing public, but you can blame Pops and Nana if your social media feeds are all-about-Maisy for the next eighteen or so years.
So I’m thinking about children, and the truth of it is, this whole thing started a few weeks back. Not only inspired by a baby-to-be, but by a book I’d been reading. And it wasn’t a childlike book at all, which is sort of the point. It was, in fact, quite strictly adult. A thinking book, recommended by Luke, my almost constantly noodling son. We like to think together, the boy and me, and so a month or so ago, right around the time of his engagement – in fact, the very same weekend – I was at a coffee shop in downtown Denver, when I started reading. And I won’t go into detail about the particulars except to say – it got me thinking. About kids and FAITH.
The faith of a child. You see, the author of this book (the one I haven’t exactly mentioned) was asking some really hard questions about how we as Christians read the Bible. Which are fair questions to ask. And he did a stellar job of answering those questions with some Really. Deep. Thoughts. No doubt about that. Except. It occurred to me, somewhere around halfway through this scholarly exposition – a kid would never think like this.
No. A kid would think thoughts more like Diane’s. Again, my apologies. I know this post is all over the place, but let me explain. Along with books and babies, I’ve been thinking a lot about a favorite neighbor. My faith role model – is how I described her at staff prayer a couple of weeks ago when I made my request. The oldest member of our neighborhood Bible study, and no one I know has such childlike faith. My heart is heavy, thinking about how the beautiful house just down from me and across the street will never be the same without the bright yellow flash of Diane heading to Mass early mornings on her beloved bike. And – has anyone told you God loves you today?! Her predictable greeting, and I find myself praying this ugly Alzheimer’s will not put a dent in such child-deep faith, now blessing the residents of the nursing home at Johanna Shores Assisted Living.
It was Diane’s words running through my head the day our grandbaby entered the world. A happy, holy, healthy baby. Thank you friend, for sharing your prayer, and two days later when the NICU happened, I could hear your proverb like you were standing right here. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It’s the thing I want most for little Maisy. The thing I described in the note tucked into those baby bows and lacy slippers, and the soft stuffed owl. My dream for you is this childlike faith. Faith like your Mama’s, and your Nana’s, too. I wrote this down, and I told this story. How I met Kiana when she was a child, and from the first I knew the heart of a kindred spirit, never knowing she’d be my daughter. The eleven-year-old girl was so much like me, a child of faith. And of course, it’s the years that test it, refine the gold, and prove the heart. So I shake my head, remembering, knowing. How many times lately have I said it this way? My daughter-in-law is truly amazing, gifts and talents too many to count. But her best thing by far is how she loves Jesus with purest sweet faith.
Last week was a whirlwind with baby coming before we were quite ready, and Luke and Ali here briefly, attending a wedding, no time for discussing a heady book. Someday, maybe, mom and son will have the chance to ponder together these weighty matters, and yet. What I really want. More than anything else. For my son, and for me, and for all of us, too. Is THIS. This childlike faith.
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
Note: For those who are curious, the book I’ve been reading is Gregory Boyd’s Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of the Old Testament.