Today Siah and I were sitting at the table while he enjoyed peanut butter and jelly as only kids can, reading a stack of books. He received this book for Christmas from my in-laws and I LOVE IT, especially since it is filled with brown people and non-anglo Jesus and the heart of God. We were reading about how the Bible is a story that sometimes people think is about rules or heroes or a nation, but how it's really a story about God and in the middle is a baby and that baby grew up to be the biggest hero ever, and I asked Si if he remembered baby Jesus from when we talked about him at Christmas time.
He said, "Dep, momma, dep. Yeah-Yeah love baby Jesus." (Yep, momma, yep. Siah loves baby Jesus)
I got choked so up and said, "Yeah Siah, momma loves baby Jesus too. And baby Jesus loves Siah." To which his eyes widened, and he said, "DEP!"
I have a fear of brain-washing my children with religiosity, when really I just want them to know the whole, beautiful truth and self of God. We tell the stories, we go to church, we practice life as the church, we focus on truth and love and grace in our parenting and as a family. But I know that true relationship is deeply personal, and I want to respect our children's own stories with God as they explore that. Never to have this.
When my small boy, who is just learning what it is to love someone or something ("Yeah-Yeah love hi-ho momma. Yeah-Yeah love pitates. Yeah-Yeah love Buzz.") shared an unprompted open heart about Him who I love most of all; I can't even explain. In that moment I understood what the difference was between the brain-washing and the genuine spirit. And I was humbled and overwhelmed and overjoyed and trying not to cry so that he would finish his apples while we read more stories. Language has enabled me to share this greatest love and hope and truth with him in a way that I never had been able to before.
A friend of mine reminds me that the kingdom of God comes through babies. Although I am not often able to unpack the whole of what that entails, today I was able to taste a wide and delicious slice of it. In a season of my life that has taken over my mind and soul, I very much needed to experience the washing over of the promise and spirit of God as He holds my family so much more expertly than I.