At this time one year ago, we had a toddler in our midst. Our young daughter was in diapers, just learning to speak, still so very dependent on her dad and I to entertain her. But now, quite suddenly it seems, I have this little girl in front of me. She speaks real sentences and can tell us about her day, she can put on her own shoes (when she chooses to, of course), she is capable of controlling her emotions (sometimes), and we’ve been out of diapers for months and months! The time between age 2 and 3 holds an amazing transformation!
We reach another milestone in her young life this weekend – she is now old enough to go to Sunday School! On top of that, she was presented with her very own Bible at church this morning!
Oh, the pride this little girl felt! “I’m a big girl now, mommy!” And (unlike her momma) she experiences joy at being the center of attention! She was looking forward to this day all week – every morning “Is today the day I go to bible school??”
Now our conversations will begin to change. Sure, she can sing Jesus Loves Me and she says her prayers at meals and bedtime. But now it all gets real. Who is this God, really? Why does God love me, and how do I follow him?? (Well, OK, these are questions I’m still working through – but you’ve got to start somewhere!)
I think she is ready to dig deeper into this faith thing. Our neighbor died a couple of months ago. He was an encouraging presence on the front stoop, always greeting the kids and asking how their days were. Lea recently began to ask – “where is Mr. Landon?” So I tell her that he died, he is with God. “With God?” she asks, with bright, open eyes and furrowed brow. “Is he at a different church?” Every day, the same questions. I watch her process and seek knowledge.
Yet she reminds me that she is still very young; she doesn’t have to take life too seriously and she says it like it is! During the children’s sermon a few weeks back, our Pastor was talking to the kids about the armor of God. This is Paul’s guidance to the Ephesians – how to be strong in the Lord; how to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) Paul describes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation; fantastic imagery for kids! In my younger days this was used as a lesson with a group of second graders at day camp. As we read through the verses, each child would put on a piece of clothing representing each piece in the armor of God. I can vividly picture these small kids stumbling around in their “bulky” armor! I hope it was a memorable image for them as well.
Back to the children’s sermon… My daughter is sitting on the Pastor’s lap (center of attention, remember?) and he is carefully trying to explain the belt of truth, first making sure the kids understand that a belt will hold up your pants. He fights through the chaos and attempts to get his point across.
Then my daughter turns, aims directly at the Pastor’s microphone and begins to speak. For half-a-second I thought she would say something inspirational – something that would prove she had listened to the Pastor’s words!
She declares in a sweet voice that booms through our sanctuary, “Grown-ups wear pants!” I guess she was listening, but not quite ready to hear God’s message on that day!
So many stories I could share; so many memories yet to make. But today we celebrate! My baby is a big girl; she’s taken one of the first steps in her own faith journey! So excited to see where this walk takes her!