Out of the Mouths of Babes

Life is undoubtedly a gift. But lately, it has felt more like a task--a climbing uphill, an every step is a victory, an "I'm not sure I want to do this" kind of task. I've been in this state of constant pain for less than two months. I may have decades to go, and I already want out. I only have to think for a moment of all the people I know who have suffered patiently for years to realize what a pansy I am. Maybe over time, I will learn some of their strength, but for now I am thankful for any encouragement or inspiration I can get, especially when it comes to me in the sage wisdom of three-year-old speak.

I have been in a flare for over a week while caring for a sick infant, and it's been getting to me mentally and emotionally. Yesterday, I wanted to lock myself in my bedroom, and have a pity party for one. That, of course, was not possible. The Lord knew I needed some extra "umph" to make it through the day, so Micah became His very effective mouthpiece and my personal cheerleader.

Micah quietly walked along beside me as I pushed Sara in the stroller up and down the driveway. When he is quiet, he is thoughtful. I can almost hear the little guy think. He finally said, "You know what, Momma? God made the trees. And God made the sky. And God made the grass and the spiders and the wasps and the ants and the flowers, and God made you, too, Momma."

To most, this little outburst may sound like the cute ramblings of a toddler. As his Momma, I'm here to tell you that it's quite profound. You see, Micah likes trees, grass, flowers, the sky and me, but the little dude could completely do without the spiders, wasps and ants. He has very little love for bugs of any kind. They freak him out. Yet, he acknowledges that God made it all--the things he likes as well as the things he doesn't like. What Micah knows that he didn't say here is that God is in control, and has a purpose for everything. I have taught him that wasps, ants and spiders have jobs--important jobs--to accomplish even if we don't always like how they accomplish them . . . even if they hurt us. In a precious way, God reminded me that nothing concerning me was outside the reach of His control even though I am hurting. He created me just as I am, and has a plan for all that concerns me . . . even my pain.

Lest I forget that His plan is for my good, Micah also reminded me of not only how much God loves me, but also how much He likes me. At the lunch table, he looked at me, smiling with those big, brown eyes. "Momma, I like you. I like your hair and your eyes and your mouf and your face." God loves me far too much to allow any harm come my way that is not for my benefit. He loves me. He likes me. He is rooting for me. When you have the most powerful Being in the universe rooting for you, you don't have to worry about how things will turn out or about how you will make it in the meantime.

I apparently needed one more little kick in the pants because Micah had one more nugget for me as I folded laundry that afternoon.

 "Momma?" he began.

I looked at him questioningly.

 "Momma, you need be happy."

"I am happy, Micah," I assured him.

"No, Momma. You need be happy on your face."

Without realizing it, I had been frowning. I think I've probably been frowning a lot. It's unintentional, but when I'm in pain, my brow furrows as I unsuccessfully attempt to focus on something besides my discomfort. And Micah was taking it personally. I shifted my countenance for the sake of my son. I smiled at him, feeling an inexplicable rush of love and pride.

His final message of the day was this--while it is good to accept my pain and press on, I am called to take a more active position. I am called to joy. The call to joy is complicated because it isn't something I can contrive by my own effort, and it isn't something that magically happens. Rather, it is a byproduct of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The key to joy is moment by moment friendship with God. Micah's simplistic call to joy was actually a call to God Himself. (I named him after a prophet for a reason.) I can be happy when I have no reason to be if I will only center on Jesus.

"Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise"
(Matthew 21:16)

That little boy . . . Oh, how I love him! He is himself a precious reminder that life is indeed a gift.