It was a throwaway remark, but it formed the basis for one of my earliest impressions.
I was a four-year-old, at a five-year-old’s birthday party. My own five-year milestone was just around the corner. I was sitting on my mother’s lap, as I often liked to – especially in uncomfortable social situations like these. As I nuzzled up there, an adult looked down at me and made the comment: “When you turn five, you won’t be able to sit on your mummy’s lap any more!”
At that moment, something in me sank. I took him literally.
So you turn five, and comfort and nurture gets thrown out the window. Is that how it works? My mum’s lap was a place of refuge in an often scary world. And this right – this peace – would be taken away. Very soon.
And from that moment on, I really didn’t want to grow up.
In fact, I avoided the normal, healthy journey into maturity in many ways.
As an adult however, I’ve become more and more determined to prove my independence. To not be labeled a child.
But maybe, just maybe, I’ve lost a little something in the process…
Oswald Chambers said this:
“Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power.”
Not many people would say that complete weakness and dependence is something to aspire towards. But there’s something in this that makes sense. The weaker we are before him, the more God can do through us. We take on his power, rather than trying to exert our own.
The paradox of spiritual maturity, I think, is that the more we ‘grow’ in our relationship with Christ, the more dependent we become.
Every parent knows their children were born into a tough-as-nails world. There’s no denying it, hiding it, or pretending otherwise. But it’s a world that contains more than a glimmer of hope. It’s a massive ray of sunshine actually. And his name is Jesus.
Children of normal, healthy parents know instinctively, from day one, that they are loved unconditionally. The ‘rebirth’ of coming to faith in God is the same. As soon as we believe, we are accepted unconditionally because of what Jesus has done for us. We are family. We don’t have to impress him to be loved. His death on the cross for us and resurrection made sure of it.
We are born into his grace and freedom. Simple as that.
The trouble is, we try and grow up too fast. Like toddlers who try to walk before they crawl, we stumble and fall with all our overblown efforts.
But if we look up to the Heavenly Father and just take a moment to realize His arms are there, waiting to support us… Then we can learn so much quicker. Unlike a teenager for whom it’s no longer healthy to remain totally dependent on his parents, we are actually encouraged by God to remain under his guidance into adulthood.
The beauty of this is that, unlike flawed earthly parents, he won’t manipulate, control or exert unjust, unloving authority over us. He sets us free to make our own mistakes, ultimately revealing that his ways are grace and truth, life and peace. And when we take a wrong turn, he’ll gently guide us back because ultimately the relationship with him is what matters most.
Jesus, help me to be a kid again.
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.'” (Matthew 19:14 NLT)
“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)
“So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.'” (John 3:7)
Great article Ali!
This is wonderful and you wrote so much, I feel like I should write a long comment 😉
I like your quiet, gentle perception and understanding of life. The way God made you has allowed you to be the sensitive loving Mother that you are. I had many unkind and thoughtless words spoken to me by a father when I was a child, and I can still hear the words in my mind. Praise God that I found the ultimate Father who loves me. Yes, when I come to Him, I know He loves me unconditionally.
Thanks Joy, I appreciate you taking the time – and your kind and encouraging comments. I’m sorry your young heart was broken in that way, and so glad you’ve found affirmation in your relationship with the Father whose endless love can never be taken away from you x
Oh, I see that pretty red-haired lady stopped by… I’ll have to go over and visit her. 😉
Thanks so much Ali, for sharing this message now. Some things keep coming up and I think I just need to be stronger, more mature, in order to handle them. But what if I was weak and expressed my hurt to Him, as a child. Told Him how much I need Him to be strong for me in these situations? God bless you as you bless us and sit on His lap today!
Yes.. we all fall into that trap I think, and forget how much we need and benefit from His strength.
Yes I too have had to tell myself it’s OK to be vulnerable, and foster daily/minute-by-minute dependence on Him. He’s the only one who we can truly entrust all of ourselves to. And He’ll help us in ways we could never imagine, in whatever situation we’re facing. He just wants us to trust Him…and He’ll take care of it, with us.
Loved the thought that this world of ours “contains more than a glimmer of hope but a massive ray of sunshine.” I don’t know about the rest of the world but having grand kids makes me realize that being filled with childlike joy and faith is something we don’t ever have to give up. Love that about Jesus!
Thanks Joy! It’s wonderful how we can always find permission to be child-like and free in every stage of our lives 🙂 I’m sure you’re a wonderful grandma.
Sweet post, Ali.
God could have saved us and left it at that. But no, He not only saved us but adopted us as sons and daughters. This is amazing!
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1a
This inheritance is amazing! Blows me away. Thanks for the verse and the wonderful reminder of who we really are. God bless you, daughter of God x
I like your perspective here. I wonder why we, as adults, try to grow our children up so fast with such silly remarks. I agree that in our relationship with God, we need less independence. (I know I make my biggest mistakes when I ‘forget’ to seek God’s guidance, or choose to ignore what I know is there.)
Yeah… it’s like we’re afraid of letting kids be kids sometimes. Maybe they challenge something in us.
And yes… we can be so very stubborn. But he’s gracious in the way he reels us back in to his love and gentle guidance.
Very well written article, Ali. I sense your tender spirit.
Thank you so much for your encouragement 🙂
I’m so glad God loves us unconditionally…! Thank you Lord for who You are. Great Post!
Thank you! Such a relief isn’t it? God bless, and thanks for dropping by with your encouragement.
Really great post…All through life we must remain childlike, yet not childish…young at heart, yet always growing up. And I wonder…Children of normal, healthy parents know instinctively, from day one, that they are loved unconditionally… are any of us normal and healthy without Him. Even for those who come from the best families, I think there can be something missing in the heart without Jesus.
Thanks so much Sheila. Yes, that’s such a good distinction – childlike yet not childish.
I’m trying to learn to remain dependent on him AS I take bold steps for Him, because I know He’s holding me all the while. My Father who believes in me, giving me the resources I need.
And yes I know what you mean with that thought – I suppose He is the only normal, healthy parent (if there could ever be a norm!). I agree – he fills our heart in a way that even the most healthy, ‘textbook-perfect’ parents could. So thankful!