Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Through the Eyes of a Child

I have been praying lately about the idea of having fun. This may seem like an unusual prayer but I am always at a loss for words whenever someone asks me, what do you do for fun? There are things that I enjoy doing on a regular basis. My husband and I have a date night every Saturday which includes going out to dinner and then watching a Netflix DVD movie. However, I can't really pinpoint many times when I have felt an overwhelming sense of freedom that accompanies really having fun. It's similar to the experience of watching children get really excited over the simplest activities. I grew up as a "parentified child" which simply means that I was overly responsible and functioned more like a little adult than a child. As a result, I did not have the opportunity to delight in the fun typically associated with childhood. On Memorial Day weekend my husband and I went to Maine to visit our granddaughters. The oldest is 3 years and the baby is 6 months old. While visiting, we made a trip to the mall to pick up a few items for the baby. One of the attractions for children at the mall is a play area with various activities of interest. One of the activities that caught the attention of the 3 year old was a carousel. She asked her parents if she could go look at it and they were willing but told her she could only watch "with her eyes" which meant she wasn't going to ride the horses. I watched her standing there somewhat forlorn, holding her daddy's hand while the other children were enjoying a fun ride. Something in my spirit was touched and I felt powerfully drawn to the ride. I offered, with her parent's permission, to take my granddaughter on the carousel. One of the few memories I have of experiencing fun as a child was going to an amusement park and riding the carousel. We bought her ticket and I helped her onto the horse of her choosing. I stood next to her for the sake of safety. As the ride was set in motion, I could sense my granddaughter's delight with the whole experience. For the first time in a long time as an adult I understood what it was like to have fun and become immersed in the joy of the moment. When adults do something extra special for children, the child perceives that adult as "god-like", in essence bigger than life. The Lord seemed to be ministering to my heart and helping me to see that as my granddaughter delighted in me being by her side so she could have fun, so God was delighting being in the midst of my experiencing fun. In that moment I was His child, perfectly free to enjoy the fullness of just being me and not the overly responsible adult. In the gospel of Mark, chapter 10 we read that people were bringing their children to Jesus to have Him touch them but His disciples weren't too happy about it and started to rebuke the people. Perhaps in their minds they were thinking, Jesus was too important and had too much to do to stop and get involved with children. After all He was a responsible adult. However, Jesus responded, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them." (Mark 10:14-16) Jesus was trying to point out that the kingdom of God needs to be received as a gift, with all the openness and receptivity of a child. It's not about how overly responsible one needs to be, but rather how helpless we are apart from the love and grace of God. My granddaughter was helpless to do anything to get a ride on that carousel. She was powerless in that she had no money and no overly responsible act on her part was going to earn her the fun experience of riding the carousel. It wasn't until I extended her the love and grace and empowered her by giving her the ticket she required to ride the horse. All she had to do was receive the gift and enjoy. Likewise, God taught me not to hinder the child within that so desperately wants to experience the Father's joy and delight over her. In that moment, standing beside my granddaughter, I felt like Jesus was taking me in His arms, putting His hands on me and blessing me. May God bless you with the joyful experience of seeing the world through the eyes of a child. I can't wait until my next carousel ride! 😄
Peace Be With You!
Pastor Sheree