Everybody loves them right? I mean, you will totally get the evil eye if you actually say, “Yeah, kids can be annoying, and I’d rather hang out with people who don’t need me to walk them to the bathroom or drool on my shirt.”
I’ve always said I love kids. I’m a Christian girl – it’s in our code that at some point we’ll work in the nursery because Jesus loved the little children and so do we.
When we move to a new assignment, I always pray that the Lord will lead me to a volunteer job that will stretch me as a person, such as overcoming my squeamishness to work with hospital patients in Arizona. I tried to cheat on my prayer this time by contacting a local women’s shelter to see if they needed help.
“Hi…you have some upcoming fundraisers and I have a background in PR. Can I help you with anything, i.e., special events, campaign materials, etc.?”
Their reply: “Sure! We can stick you in the childcare room three days a week!”
“Great – I love kids!”
Except, apparently, when I don’t. Or rather, I do love them, but I just don’t like it when they act like...kids.
For the past three weeks, I’ve spent a few mornings a week with four children (ages 4 months to 3 years old) while their moms attend Bible studies and self-sufficiency classes. These kids were homeless months ago and some have never known a consistent routine like they have now. My heart loves these kids. Yet my brain wants them to be quiet, to not need my constant attention, to actually listen when I ask them to do something. I never knew the difference between playing with a child for half an hour and caring for children on a longer basis.
Maybe having my own child will rewire my brain with more patience, but I’ve been shocked to find out how easily frustrated I am when the three-year-old acts like a three-year-old. I actually find myself thinking, “why is it so hard for you to listen to me and do what I say?” Today I spent thirty minutes trying to teach a little girl to draw a circle and a square. I drew them over and over for her, explaining the shapes and trying to get her to do the same. She would study the circle and then draw a straight line next to it. Or she’d trace the square then draw a curly line when I asked her to copy it. I could not understand why she couldn’t just see what I did and do the same, and it was pretty frustrating.
And then I remembered God.
In God’s eyes, I’m like a three-year-old. He’s made it so obvious what He wants me to do and how He wants me to live, and I have a tendency to just stare up at Him blankly as if I can’t hear Him at all. He patiently shows me how to live each day, and I look at His plan then totally go off and do my own thing. He even gave me a living example in Jesus of how to live on this Earth and I still don’t always follow Him.
I never thought I needed to grow in my patience with children, but apparently I do. And I am so incredibly grateful for the encouragement that God has infinite patience and love for me, even when I act like a three-year-old before Him. Yet, as much as I pray for patience with these kids now, I also love them and want to see them grow in their ability to listen, follow directions, etc. I think the same goes for God. He loves me and is patient with me when I don’t listen to Him or obey His leading, but what He really wants is for me to constantly mature by being eager to follow Him.
I remember feeling like I’d reached adulthood the day I realized my parents really knew what they were talking about my entire life and I should have been quicker to trust their leading. The same is true of our relationship with our heavenly Father!
(Note: Time will tell if this spiritual lesson changes my feelings on having bubble solution poured down my jeans.)