I stirred the marshmallows impatiently, waiting for them to melt down into the butter and create a yummy, gooey mixture. Stirring and stirring, it seemed to take forever. When they smelled slightly burnt I gave up and poured the gooey stuff on top of the cereal. It just wasn't working. The food color I added didn't spread, the cereal mixture stayed rather lumpy. In my eyes it was a failure, but not in Emma's. In the end, she ate her treat just the same. She talked excitedly about the lumpy shapes we made. She grinned from the experience of baking with mama.
And I was humbled. My negative spirit was sure that this was a disaster. I saw all the little ways that I failed, while she saw the good in me. She was completely content with the outcome. To her, there was nothing better.
Children have such a wonderful view of the world. They see the simple things in life. The beautiful things that we, as adults, overlook. Their viewpoint is so innocent, their joy is so catching. Their love, so overarching.
Sure, life is messier with children in tow. I'm not sure I'll ever, truly have our kitchen spotlessly clean again. Decorating the Christmas tree this year was quite chaotic, with a toddler trying to help and a baby trying to eat each ornament and piece of tissue paper! Getting out of the house can be such an ordeal as well. Jackets, missing shoes, a much needed lost toy. An independent little girl that has to strap herself into the seat. And the list goes on.
Many days my head feels overwhelmed. I'm feeling it especially, today, now that all the visiting family as left and the husband has gone back to work. Once again it's just me and the kiddos and this balancing act called life.
I see that things that didn't happen. The times when things just didn't turn out right.
I forget to see the beauty in it all. The joy of the simple moments.
In Luke chapter 17, people were bringing children to Jesus so that He could bless them. The disciples were waving the people off, perhaps viewing the little ones as a nuisance, but Jesus thought differently:
“Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you: Whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18: 15-17; HCSB).
Did you read that? The kingdom of heaven belongs to those who have hearts like children. Who see the love, the beauty all around them. Who love with all of their hearts.
I know that my world was forever changed (almost) 3 1/2 years ago when my daughter was placed in my arms. As her parent I have so much to teach her about laws, faith, and respect. But she has been teaching me so much as well.
Today, I'm so thankful for her childish spirit, that sees the good in a burnt treat, the beauty in a simple acorn on our afternoon walk, the sound of a bird in the trees. I'm thankful for the way she dotes on her baby brother, and how much she shares her love with those around her. She teaches me how to love like a child. There's really nothing quite like it.
What lesson could you learn from a child (yours or someone-else's!) today? What can they teach you about the heart of God?