Thursday, February 7, 2008

More Than Anything...

Bella has taken to covering her eyes when we ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do. It is not the wild, throw yourself on the floor kind of fits that we encountered when Hope was her age, but she is expressing the same sentiment. She is quietly, but firmly acknowledging her distaste for our opinion. In some ways, I am thankful for her more docile way of handling herself. After all, she may never publicly embarrass me with an all out temper tantrum or reduce me to tears after a long day. There is some comfort in that to be certain. Bella may be more serene, but the thing is, at least with Hope, I am clear on where she stands.

I guess I worry that if Bella, indeed, grows up to be a quiet observer of the world around her…if she maintains her more cultivated disposition, that I may not notice if she walks away from the Lord. It might slip right by me on the way to church, or the youth council meeting, or See You at the Pole. (P.S. Don’t think for a minute that I am not just as fearful of the more obvious ways that Hope, in all her demonstrative glory might walk away! May the Lord have mercy on us all!)

In a lot of ways, I was that kid. No…not the quiet part. I was the kid who didn’t rock the boat much. I did all the right things, but in the end I am not sure that I was any better off than those who didn’t. Instead of walking away from God in an obvious way, I did so more subtly. Somewhere along the way, I began to believe that I had God all figured out. Gosh, even writing it now I am struck by what a dangerous road that is to travel. I stopped having questions and, instead had all the answers, and a dangerous shift took place in my heart.

To my great benefit, I had so many who poured into me and who endured my know-it-allness and who began to ask questions I didn’t have the answers to. Oh the power of the mysteries of God! Those difficult questions set me back on the right path…a path clouded with questions that can’t be answered fully this side of heaven. A path that requires living out of faith and that breeds a hunger to know more and more and more and the more you know the less it feels like you understand. Therein lies salvation!

More than anything in the world, I want my kids on that path. I often pray with a shaky voice that God will do whatever it takes to get a hold of their hearts. I confess I am sometimes too overcome with fear to say those words. But, when it comes down to it, what else really matters. Nicole C. Mullen (whom I have gotten to meet twice and who I am somewhat fanatical about) has a great song that she wrote for her kids about this very thing. Give it a listen if you get a chance. Here are the words:

I wish I could paint your world so beautiful
And I wish I could make it right
But of all the things I could ever want for you
I wish this more than life

Love the Lord, with all your heart
With all your soul, your mind and strength
Love the Lord with all your heart
With all your soul, your mind and strength

And if I could give you back your innocence
And if I could turn back time
If I could heal you of all the broken promises
Still the greatest thing in life is

Love the Lord with all your heart
With all your soul, your mind and strength
Love the Lord with all your heart
With all your soul, your mind and strength

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