Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Jesus is fun

One of the scariest and most exciting things about being a parent is that you don’t know how the story will end…that journey your child makes from baby to adult. I have a general idea how I want things to turn out for my girls. It is a collaborative effort, which I am already reminding myself of now 13 years early in preparation for the teen years.

I do know I want my girls to be strong, confident virtuous women with a good amount of self esteem who love Jesus. In these early years, I wonder, “What effect does going to church really have on them? When we talk about Jesus or pray before bedtime, does it really make a difference?” Sometimes when Andy says, “Let’s pray, can you pray Aislynn?” Before dinner Aislynn will say, “No pray, no prayer!” I jokingly say sometimes, “Well SHE’S not a Christian.” On the other hand, she does pray for the entire cast of the Mickey Mouse Club House. I think those two balance each other out!

So what does all this mean anyway, these attempts to spiritualize our children? To “expose” them to Jesus?

On the way to feeding group in the midst of our Christian jams, a Ginny Owens song came on. I heard Aislynn sing the first line of the song (she is very musical and has an excellent memory for music we are discovering). “All I want to do is give this life to you, all I want to do is give this life to you…” she sang. The song goes on “Oh all I want to do is give this life to you. And let your will be done. Till it’s all I want to do.” Very powerful words and here is my 2.5 year old singing them. She doesn’t know what they mean but she is saying them out loud. This is what is going in and what is coming out. I prayed in that moment that she would really sing those words one day and mean them in her heart and soul, and truly live them out. A deep moment in the midst of a dreary day.

Back at home, I heard Aislynn pretending with her Little People castle toys. She had the king and the queen out, “It’s the king! It’s the queen!” I heard as I glanced at her from across the room. “King go for a ride? OK lets go for a ride!” It was a very exciting day in this kingdom. She placed the king and queen carefully in the carriage, making sure that they were facing one another. These sorts of things were important in medieval travel. “Close the door!” she exclaimed. She attached the knight to the horse and the horse to the carriage. Off they went (with side effect hoof noise). And then there it was, “Time to go to church. Let’s go to church. Ok!” The king and the queen were going to church. I smiled to myself.

Of all the places the king and queen could go, and we (and they) go a lot of places. Just last week we went to a gymnastics gym, the park, mcdonalds, feeding group, gym class, etc. and the list goes on. And so I asked, “What are the king and queen going to do at church?” “Making music!” she replied. Aislynn gets very excited about worship. I usually go and get her early from the nursery, just so she can hear some worship songs in the service. She has been known to clap enthusiastically at the end of a song and shout “Hooray! Good job!” I know Carlos, our music minister appreciates this affirmation. So then I asked, “What else do we do at church? Do we learn about Jesus?” To which she replied, “Jesus is fun!” Now granted, Aislynn thinks a whole lot of things in life right now are “fun” (we are working on other adjectives); but just hearing this sweet list voice utter those words made me smile again. When was the last time I thought of Jesus as fun? Have I really ever thought of Him that way? And so I learned a little lesson from a little girl with a little imagination. “Jesus is fun.”

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