Faith Like a Child
Faith Like a Child
There are some things that my children teach me that I will never forget.
Today day was one of them.
I’ve heard the phrase over and over.
“Have faith like a child.”
But what does that mean? How do I really do that?
One of my children is 5 1/2 years old.
I try and encourage my kids to pray before bed or anytime during the day they can stop and pray what is on their hearts. About a month ago she started praying for one of her teachers.
I thought it was nice. I thought it was just a sign of respect or admiration. After all, her teacher was really exceptional.
But her commitment to pray for this teacher continued on.
And, within a few weeks she started saying- “Mom, we need to go get a bunch of bright yellow flowers.”
I panicked thinking I forgot Mother’s day or something. “What?! What yellow flowers?! For what?!”
“The yellow flowers for my teacher,” she said.
“She loves the color yellow. I’ve been praying for her and I know her heart. We need to go get her some bright yellow flowers.”
Oooohhhh. Okay ~ I thought. That’s a nice idea. (but I’m not going to go buy someone I don’t really know a whole bunch of yellow flowers for no reason. She would think I’m weird. Or maybe trying to be a room parent or something. This idea is not happening. Several other random thoughts went through my mind but they all boiled down to ~ “not happening.”
It had been four weeks of my daughter praying for her teacher and begging me to buy the yellow flowers- and four weeks of me pushing the idea off.
“It’s not in my budget this week” or, “they don’t have good flowers here” were some of the random excuses that bought me more time, as I figured soon she would get over the idea of the yellow flowers.
Faith like a child.
Finally, this week, my daughter came into my office. She stood with a foot firmly planted, and said, “Mom, are you going to listen to me or not?” Her serious tone and resolute maturity was at a new level, even for this beyond-her-years 5 year old, so I stopped what I was doing and sat down to see what she wanted to talk about.
“Yes. I am listening. Go ahead ~ what did you want to talk about?” I asked.
She started right in ~ “I’m the one that’s been praying for my teacher and I’m the one that knows her heart. You’re the one that needs to buy me these flowers so I can give them to her.”
I let out an exasperated sigh.
I couldn’t believe this was seriously what she wanted to talk to me about ~ again.
Her persistence won me out.
“Okay,” I finally resigned, “I will buy your teacher a big container filled with bright yellow flowers this week.”
She looked at me with one raised eyebrow, which said – “I hear your words but I’ll be following up on you to make sure your actions match up.” It made me laugh out loud. Yes. That is my 5 1/2 year old.
I began scouring the local flower shops to see if anyone had a large amount of only yellow flowers at a reasonable price. I had an internal dialogue with myself to see how much wiggle room I had ~ I asked myself, “do they need to be only yellow? She said yellow but these pink ones are beautiful. I would pick these pink orchids.” I tottered the line between listening, really listening to my child and the temptation to just buy what I wanted to. Remembering her raised eye brow and extremely committed heart, I decided to look at another store for the bright yellow flowers.
In between doing all that, and trying to find a bucket in the garage for the flowers, I got a phone call. It went something like this ….
I wanted to let you know that your daughter’s teacher has a pretty serious medical need that is now requiring her to stop working. Her last day will be this week – Friday, two days away.
I couldn’t believe it.
I could have dropped my phone into that large 10 gallon tub filled with wet, icy cold water about to be completely filled with bright yellow flowers. I was so shocked to hear this difficult news and wanted desperately to help my daughter’s teacher. I looked down, and in my hands realized I held the answer to my daughter’s prayer. I could not believe it.
Her little heart was being prepared for this all along. For the past month or more, she was listening to Gods gift of love in her heart. She was praying daily for this teacher. She was resolute that her responsibility was to get a huge amount of yellow flowers (her teacher’s favorite color), “to put love into her teacher’s heart.”
I had no idea all these weeks why my daughter needed to do this. But, now I knew why.
I told my daughter about the news. After she cried, she said, “Mom, I know just what we will do.” After all ~ her heart knew all along what her part was.
That Friday morning we carried the big bucket of bright, yellow, long stem flowers to the school gate. One by one, I watched my daughter hand out the bright yellow flowers to dozen after dozen of school children. “Please take this up to my teacher, say Thank You, then give her a big hug and hand her a yellow flower.” She giggled and the kids giggled, as one by one the plan was understood.
I watched my daughter’s tiny hands pass out the beautiful yellow flowers that danced up the public school steps – but what she was really passing out was a reflection of God’s love flowing right out of her heart. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
It was faith like a child.
I will never forget today.
After all the flowers were given out and the cheerful children skipped into their classes, I saw a glowing heart dressed in bright yellow rush towards where we were hiding passing out the yellow flowers.
It was my daughter’s teacher, who came to school for her last day wearing a Bright Yellow Shirt now surrounded by dozens of bright yellow flowers.
I will never forget the image I saw of a teacher hugged in yellow, now overflowing with tears of love. “Thank you so much, you have no idea. My heart has never been so touched as it was today.”
I was near speechless that everything happened so fast, so perfectly, as if it were planned just to fill this teacher’s heart with love. Love that started with a 5 year old’s innocent bedtime prayers, and culminated with dozens of little hands, each doing their part by delivering bright yellow petals of faith into an unsuspecting heart.
I might be the parent, but my 5 year old just taught me the answer to one of the biggest struggles with my own faith.
Just by being herself.
She showed me what it means to have faith like a child.
Today, she was my teacher.
Faith like a child: (Matt 18:3)