i pray the Lord my soul to keep.
when in the morning eye wide and awake.
pray the Lord my soul to take.
mommy, daddy, bryan, ashley, ollie, cary, zap, the crabs, the fish, the bird, the rabbits, doc, shelly, and allll of our animals. God bless the good people, bad people, white people, black people, purple people, red people, orange people, yellow people, allll the people in the world. God please forgive me of my sins and help me to be a better person tomorrow.
and then i'd pray for God to please let me marry some boy that i currently had a crush on.
how innocent. i mean look at that. i prayed for every bloomin' animal that lived under our household - and we had a lot and that doesn't include them all. we had hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, snakes...our house was a zoo most times. and i prayed for every person in the world. do you see that? good people and bad people. in my little heart, there was no one outside of God's reach to love. i remember praying that prayer, mostly, while living in the house we lived in the longest. so let's say that prayer began somewhere around 5 years old. and that was the same prayer i continued to say...now. i say it still. i say it still as i lay my head down at night just to remind me of that innocence. it's the catalyst that gets my heart praying in all different directions. it's almost like i pray that prayer and i'm looking back at a little girl who isn't me. cause let's face it. when you're a child, you're so different.
when does that change? when do we lose the faith that we had in childhood?
God says that we were created for him and by him. if that's so, then something in us must yearn to be with the one who created us. i know that i used to have a near panic attack if i lost sight of my mom in a grocery store. lordy me, if i lost sight of her once, i lost sight a million times. and i'd hollar out, "mooooommmm!" of course all moms would turn and i'd be embarrassed. but i needed my mom and my dad. they were my lifeline. but so was God. so is God. and children know that. it may not come out as knowing that Jesus is the son of God...but they know something bigger is at hand and they know love sweeter than we do. their love has yet to be spoiled by the world.
they still hold hands with classmates who don't feel good - just in hopes that holding their hand will help them feel better. they still cry when their goldfish die. they kiss the tops of frogs backs. they take in deep breaths and giggle when the wind blows suddenly. they hug with a fierce intensity as if it's the only hug they'll ever be able to give you and they want it to be the one you'll always feel and remember. they smile at everyone despite whether they smile back. they love sitting near the ones they love.
my sister-n-law told me that when her oldest son started preschool, he had a precious little black girl in his classroom. i guess my nephew hadn't really been around anyone with a skin tone different than his before. the teacher informed my sister-n-law, that day at pickup, that my nephew had stood in awe of this little girl and just stared at her while he said, "she's beeeauuuuutiful." see, isn't that it? no prejudices - just a heart that was made to love, loving.
somewhere along our way, satan starts rubbing in lies. he starts telling us that our skin tone is prettier than another, that a certain face shape is most perfect, that blue eyes are better than brown, that you don't have to smile at everyone and you definitely don't have to be nice to everyone. but those are all lies. nowhere did jesus say - hate your neighbor or be unfriendly to him when he wrongs you or when you're in a bad mood or when you want to, just ignore him if you're in a hurry.
i know that we can't keep innocence innocent forever. i'm fully aware that our minds are invaded and bombarded by worldly thinking. but the one thing we can do is practice innocence. we can be aware of where our innocence is tarnished and be more intentional in how we love. after all, the loving we do isn't for us anyway. we love others so that they will feel loved. and if they feel loved, maybe their hearts will be positioned and open a little more and a little easier to receiving the love of Christ.
faith like a child. isn't it precious?
shirley was in my kindergarden class. she came back to school after having a nasty bout of chicken pox. she was from a poor family and i knew her clothes were different from mine. and when she came back to school, her spirit seemed so broken. she was so embarrassed by all the pox scars all over her face and arms. and so on the way to the cafeteria for lunch, i grabbed shirley's hand and held it as we walked and i told her, "it's gonna be alright."
i don't say that to pat myself on the back. i say that looking back at a little girl who i'm proud of - because i'm not her anymore. but i want to be. i stand in awe of the faith and love i had as a little one - like all little ones have.
faith like a child. i want to practice that more and foster that in loralai so that she knows that in a world that's full of lies, it's still ok to love like Jesus.
look at that - faith that no one's gonna let go of her so that she can sit on that table without crashing to the ground. isn't it precious? no doubt. no worries. just pure chicken, peas and i'm ready to swing joy!