I believe its important to write these things down. To remember them. To celebrate them. To remind our children of them so they are aware of all the Lord has done and will continue to do. So I share this because I want to share it with our family & friends that read this. Also, Im beaming with excitement and Im in awe of the Lord .. but mainly because I want to remember and I want to write it down so that River remembers!
River is at an age where he 'needs' 800 things while he is going to bed. Sometimes its in the form of praying for just ONE more person, or its brushing his teeth again, going to the bathroom, begging for another book or sometimes its just one last kiss & hug. Sometimes its cute. Most the time its annoying. All the time its a constant opportunity for me to have mommy guilt.
How do you say no to a child who wants to pray for his friends one more time or give you just one more kiss and hug or who is begging to cuddle? But also, how do you spend an hour putting your child to bed? Id be in there all night if I said yes to all his requests.
And thats where mommy guilt comes in.
One day I will miss those hugs and cuddles. But currently, I am not going to spend all night putting him to bed.
We find a balance. It works. And we are fully aware he is just stalling and abusing the system ;) There are times we just put him to bed and viola thats it no matter the request he may have and other times we feel led to stay in there longer and enjoy a little boy who is eager to cuddle and read.
So, last Saturday night when he was yelling "moooooooommmmmmmmmmy" for the umpteenth time and it was already 9:00 at night I was hesitant to go in. Finally I decided I wanted to go to sleep more than I wanted to hear him yelling for me so I was going to go ask him to stop.
I go in and what does he need? Just to know what Im doing. Of course.
I tell him its time to go to sleep and to please stop calling for me. At night is when River decides he wants to talk the most. Its when I find out the most about his school day, his friends, what he thinks about things or how his day was. (or when things like this happen)
So, per usual, he started talking and praise the Lord I felt content listening (rather than my normal.. annoyed.. stop talking.. go to bed.. shhhhhhhush it.)
I all the sudden felt pressed in my heart to ask River if he could still see the picture of baby Jesus in the manger on his ceiling. (there is NOT a picture of that on his ceiling but he used to always wake up saying he saw it there so we went with it) He immediately remembered and sat there in awe.. and then like any 3 year old immediately said:
"when is Santa going to bring me gifts for Jesus' birthday?"
of course. Its what we've been hearing for a while. gifts. gifts. gifts. even though we have never focused on santa or gifts.. thats all we hear.
I told him, once again, Christmas isnt about gifts its about Jesus. And then he asked what Jesus was getting for his birthday. And praise the Lord .. He just started speaking through me.
I told River that Jesus didnt want any gifts for his birthday. The only thing Jesus desires is to know River and for River to love him. Really it seems like such an obvious answer.. and an answer that I know.. and probably should have been saying to him for the last month. Its one that if I had thought about I would have given. (maybe I did tell him that before?) But I have to be honest, in this moment, the answer just kind of bubbled out of me. I truly dont feel like I thought of it or thought through the answer and said it on my own. It just came out.
River immediately said: "I want to know Jesus. I want to love Jesus. I want Jesus in my heart..."
I paused. Was this happening? What was happening? I didnt know. But I felt the Lord and I know the Lord stirs children's hearts so I jumped up to tell Freeland and then came back in the room. River said again "I want Jesus in my heart!!!!!!!!!!" (in a somewhat demanding little 3 year old eager voice) over and over he said "I want him" so I explained what that meant.. Its an open invitation and Jesus is eager to know him and all we have to do is ask and his promises are YES & AMEN! So River sat on his bed at 9:30 at night (yes it was ridiculously late) and asked Jesus to live in his heart (and his tummy)
Right after that he said "Can Jesus talk to me now?"
Yes, River, he can and he will!
He said "I dont hear him." ha. I explained that it takes practice to hear him. (does a 3 year old get that? because Im 30 and Im still learning that it takes practice. ha) I told River the Lord will speak to him. He speaks in his dreams, in his thoughts, in his heart, .. and all the other ways I believe the Lord speaks - especially to children. River sat amazed. And then told me he still didnt hear him speaking in his tummy again. ha.
So we sat talking for a while longer about Jesus. How he loves River, he created him for a purpose, he is living and real, we can have relationship with him, and how its all so amazing.. it will bring so much adventure and joy to his life. River was beaming. (this isnt the first time he has heard any of that .. we tell our kids those things often. Jesus is in our home. He is in all of our conversations. They hear about relationship with the Lord all the time. The idea of Jesus isnt something River isnt familiar with. So he knows who he is.. we affirm all our kids with what the Lord says about them all the time. They pray daily.. you get what I mean.) But tonight this conversation and affirmation brought a whole new excitement to his sweet little eyes when he heard it all again. It was surreal and I loved watching his reaction.
It was amazing. For real. amazing. I was all amped up and definitely couldnt go to sleep after that.
Seriously. I went back to our room and woke Freeland up. (he was on call) Unsure of what just happened. We've had conversations with the kids about the Lord, like I said, but they've never so clearly asked (begged) Jesus in their lives and understood. Its easy for me to bring my own issues into the mix.. and allow doubt and all the other junk to downplay what happened. Im very aware of the lies the world feeds me about this.. or that my own experiences, hurt, or confusion bring to the table. Break it off Lord! Praise God there was someone there to affirm what the Lord had done.
And I want to look at things through the Kingdom .. with a kingdom perspective. With a kingdom perspective I can see the Lord moving. We pray all our children know the Lord at a young age.. and not just follow some religion but follow their Father and experience him early and understand relationship with him. And here is God.. stirring our son's heart at an early age. AMEN.
Here is what I also know: Jesus does love River. He did create him in His image... He created River to know Him! (as he created all of us for that same reason!) He desires relationship with him. He calls us to have childlike faith. He is good. I believe he stirred in Rivers heart to ask that question. River could have easily went on to all the gifts he wanted for Christmas (which is normally what he did) instead he asked what Jesus wanted for Christmas .. and then he responded. I believe thats the Lord stirring in his heart.
Will there come a day when River understands more of his NEED for Jesus? yes. Does he fully grasp what all this means? No. But he doesnt have to. Thats not what the Lord requires or asks of us.
Praise the Lord.
We woke up the next morning.. and celebrated! We ran and told daddy. We called everyone who was available on skype to share the news too! He saw over and over people celebrate the good news and celebrate his life! I look forward to always reminding him that the Lord has a plan for his life and at age of 3.5 he was already eager for the Lord to be in his life.. and the Lord has always been eager to know River.
and now, a shrine of River. Just kidding - but goodness I love these pictures. I think they all show perfectly created personality:
The coolest part, we will get to celebrate all of our children's hearts being stirred for the Lord during their lives. The Lord promised it .. and Im clinging to his promises! His voice and his words do not return void! Amen!