You might remember that our church puts out a monthly women's newsletter. Here's my latest contribution. And you can go here for all the other great articles from my awesome DiVINE Lines sisters.
The Kingdom of Heaven Belongs to Such as These?
It was just before 9 pm, and bedtime for the three little people in our house is usually 8:30. It had been a busy day as usual, and I was very ready for them to head off for sweet slumber so that I could get my little bit of down time for the evening. I noticed though, that my children seemed to be having a blast --climbing all over their daddy, laughing with glee as he tickled them, tickling him back. I stiffled the urge to encourage all of us to start the bedtime routine and just decided to “go with the flow”, which is sometimes very difficult for my routine-loving personality.
It became increasingly difficult not to rush them off to bed when they stopped climbing all over daddy and began climbing all over me. By this time of the evening, I am spent, and every ounce of my flesh wanted to scream “Get off! Let’s go to bed!” But, I felt inside my spirit again that I needed to live in the moment, take it all in, and let my children see me enjoying time in their presence without any real agenda. I remembered the scripture (Matthew 19:14) that says, “Let the little children come to me, for such is the kingdom of heaven.” And I knew that the Holy Spirit was trying to get my attention.
“How is THIS like the kingdom of heaven?” I wondered. If being poked and prodded, and occasionally kicked and tickled when all my energies for the day had been long spent was like the kingdom of heaven, I wasn’t sure I was up for it! But, then my middle daughter, Chloe (nearly 5), calmed down a bit and began gently stroking my cheek and then the eyelashes on my closed eyes. She just continued to gaze at my eyelashes, really studying them. And then, my own spiritual eyes were opened.
What an example of worship my sweet Chloe became to me that evening! My daughter simply wanted to be close to me. She loved caressing my face. She even wanted to take in the smallest parts of my face, including my eyelashes. She didn’t stop because it seemed “weird”, or because she got bored with it, or because she knew everything about me in a few seconds. She continued on for a several minutes. And while she continued, I began to wonder when was the last time I’d really gazed at Jesus like that –full of wonder, study, and delight? When was the last time I’d really seen His face, and been changed from the wonder of it all?
I was reminded of what scripture tells us about Moses after he’d spent time in the presence of the Lord. “But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what had been commanded. The sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.” (Exodus 34:34-35). Time spent gazing at the Lord changed Moses such that all could see it on his face. Isn’t it still the same today?
In those moments, I began to wonder if the time I spend in His presence each day could be seen by my children? Could they see my love and enjoyment and acceptance of them? That evening, while my daughter stroked my face, I gazed at the face of the Lord. I remembered His Word, and begged Him to change not only my face, but also my heart. I implored Him to remind me of what is most important. I pleaded with Him to love my children through me. And then I asked Him to keep reminding me through them that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”