Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Faith like a child

Grant and I both had the opportunity to serve a full-time mission for our church before we were married.  One of the major responsibilities of a missionary is to break down the teachings of the church into small, simple bits that can easily be absorbed and considered.  This was especially true for us as we were each assigned to do it in a new language (Spanish and Hungarian, respectively).

Now, years after our responsibilities as full-time missionaries have ended, we have new roles to fill.  As parents (beyond a full-time service!), we have responsibilities to attend to our family's temporal, emotional and spiritual needs and development.  And as our oldest child has grown, we have found ourselves teaching the exact same things in the exact same ways as we did when we were missionaries.  Kendra is a sponge for knowledge and it is no less true of Gospel knowledge than it is for any other subject she comes across.

And what really blows my mind is...she gets it.

In the scriptures, Jesus preaches that we should all be as little children in our faith.  Seeing Kendra's faith develop has really hit home to me why that is.  She knows the things that she knows and she believes the things that she believes.

When she says a prayer, she is certain that she is talking to God and that her prayer will be answered.

This happens in a couple of different contexts.  Most nights we gather for "Family Time" and Grant reads a short passage from The Book of Mormon (we started around Kendra's 2nd birthday and are currently on page 195 out of 531) and calls on someone to say a prayer (usually just a straight rotation between himself, me and Kendra).  She and I also take turns saying a quick prayer together in the car before we go inside to her preschool.

Her prayers are so sincere and so very sweet.  It is really clear to me just why we are taught to be as little children.

"...please bless to Elliot and Paxton to share the toys."  Recently there has been an elevated level of consternation and strife as the gap between the boys is rapidly closing, especially since Paxton learned to climb up to the table unassisted and to this point the default for Elliot when he is playing with something he'd rather not share is to go to the table.

"...please help me to be good in school and to play with my friends and for us to all have so much fun together."  The first part is the main reason we started saying prayers before school--she was having what one of adults very diplomatically described as "compliance issues" (which amounted to that she was throwing fits when it was time to do something she didn't want to do) so one thing we did was to start saying prayers to ask for help.  She usually includes something about her fellow students as well.

"...please bless to that I may bring my reindeer in my pocket inside with me to school."  While the Christmas decorations were out, she became quite attached to a small soft reindeer ornament that she took to carrying around with her--she usually asks to bring something in the car with her when we go somewhere and the rule is most often that whatever she brings then stays in the car when we get to where ever we're going.  She hadn't asked me about it before saying this in her prayer and I was taken by surprise when I heard it...but it was a very small item and her coat pockets have zippers so it seemed unlikely that it would fall out or that she'd cause a distraction by playing with it as coats are stashed immediately upon arrival and not retrieved until parents pickup.  And hearing that sweet, sincere plea...I told her it was okay to zip it up in the pocket in her coat.

"...please bless to that we can go to Owen's house."  Owen is the son of one of my good friends here in town whom we stop in to visit a few times a month as much for the Mommies to have a playdate as for the kids to.  She asks to go there almost every single day.

"...please bless to the new baby to come out and be with us."  She is extremely eager to have a sister.

"...please bless to that I can have a pet frog."  Her cousins whom we are able to visit several times a year have a pet frog and she thinks it's the bees knees.  We've told her that's something she absolutely can have, but not until we have a house and more space for things like that.

"...please bless to that Elliot will not wake up and play with noisy toys before the green light turns on."  There is a small green night light set to a 7am timer that means she's allowed to come out of her room to start the day and Elliot is still learning about staying in bed and going back to sleep if he wakes up in the middle of the night.

These are just a few examples, but she demonstrates a sweet and inspiring faith every single day.  I do well to have faith like hers.

I really am the luckiest Mommy in the whole wide world, and she is one of the three reasons why.

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