Is there ever a child who does not hear it with the growing of her body? The voice that says her heart is out of place. For do we ever lose the heart we were born with, the one that wants to hold and be held, the one that yearns to love and be loved, the one who gives herself to the world without a thought for how it all comes out.
For all of us living this life, perhaps the child we used to be still lives inside us enabling us to feel this life.
My own life took me from being a high school student one year, to being an adult, a wife and a mother the next. I don’t regret it and I wouldn’t change it, but my soul still feels the sharp turn life took and stands in great need of moments when I can curl up into my child self and say it honestly that I just don’t know exactly what I’m doing and this new road I’m on is still so unfamiliar and just a little daunting sometimes. There is something beautifully comforting in those moments felt in the presence of Jesus.
There was a moment I spent today sitting at the coffee shop when a lady came up to ask for the chair next to me and I began a delighted “How do you do? What’s your name?” conversation only to realize her intention was to take that chair to another table to sit with someone else. And suddenly the child inside me is more alive than it was before, and my heart turns to find comfort in Jesus in a way it hasn’t yet that morning.
Perhaps the secret of growing up is not in being more adult-like but in staying awake to the child inside you that enables you to feel the whole process. Because there is something about feeling this life before Jesus that can bring his presence into a place.
A child’s heart is beautiful.
My Amayah, she gives herself honest and beautiful. She is cautious with her stare that observes and does not try to impress. She will not fake a smile or a kind word. No, she will watch until she’s ready, but when that smile does break through, when those words of love come out her mouth they are pure gold, for there is no question that they were meant from the bottom of the little heart inside her.
My Liesel, she meets the world so open-hearted. When she gives her love, she gives it so freely. She hurts deeply for the moment Mommy is not there to hug her just when she needs it. She has no ounce of hesitation to run into our arms when the broken world has hurt her. Embarrassment plays no part in the times she cries out in need of comfort. And the open desire she comes with makes her little life so beautiful.
And my Gideon, he is still in my womb being nourished inside me, and no doubt he has no shame in the constant dependence he lives with. And yet his little life is being used in the world even as an unborn child, because God is always using the child’s heart no matter how small it is.
The world will make us think we must lose our child’s heart that hurts and cries and feels the imperfections of this world so deeply. But, the opposite is true. For the greatest secret of this life we’re given is to never lose our one child’s heart. Never is the tender pain inside us not worth it, for this is where we love, this is where we are loved.
One child’s heart is what we have with which to know and give love. One child’s heart is all we have to know the sweetness of the relationships we find here on this earth. One child’s heart is the gift we are given to receive the love and grace of Jesus that fills every hurt and flaw inside us. May we not despise the child inside us, for this heart we are given is beautiful and every hurting moment is a gift, an empty vessel we are given with which to receive more of Jesus and bring more of him into the hurting world.