Monday, November 3, 2014

Toddling in Truth

3 John 3-11 (NIV)

"It gave me (John) great joy when some believers came and testified about your (Gaius') faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you.  They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.  I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will not welcome us... Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God."

Recently a friend asked if I was loving being a mom, what I liked most, and what I didn't. Well, I'm not loving being exhausted and having my attention called to every minute detail of a toddler's life. I'm not loving the diapers and how long it takes to go to the grocery store, the inability to be efficient or the fact that I have no cognitive abilities anymore. (Some would question whether I had any such abilities to begin with. Regardless, I have none now.)

But what am I loving? I had to think, and didn't have a good answer for her.  I love my children, I love my family, and I love knowing that this is absolutely what God has for my life right now.  I couldn't, however, put a finger on what I love most about mama-ing (ha, a new word).  After about a week of thought, I have a tentative answer: I am loving watching Jayce and Anya develop and show some characteristics of 3 John.  

At the beginning of this post I quoted from 3 John where we see the author finds the greatest joy in seeing his children (other believers) walk in truth.  John is the only New Testament author that uses that phrase "walk in truth".  In fact, he uses it repeatedly in 1, 2, and 3 John, so that it's a reoccurring theme throughout his letters.  In each passage, the idea of walking in truth is surrounded by ideas of loving God and reciprocating His love towards those around us.  

How does a 2-year-old, though, walk in truth?  What does that mean, anyway?

Here are my thoughts-without-cognitive-ability on this passage, simply based on the passage alone:

John writes about faithfulness.  His children are consistent in what is right.
These people have integrity towards other believers that they do no know.
They are loving.
They act on their faith.
They show hospitality.
They are unified.
They do not put themselves forward but consider others first.
They imitate what is good rather than evil.

Each of these things are concepts that my children (age 19 months and 25 months) can successfully do. And, honestly, I see the beginnings of each of these in both Jayce and Anya.  

I love seeing them obey happily.  We are working on the "consistent" thing, but it's a work in progress.

I love seeing their affection for each other and for Philip and I.  Sometimes the affection takes the shape of a wet, slobbery, heartfelt kiss or convulsions of excitement to see us in the morning (Anya).  Sometimes it is an unsolicited kiss on my kneecap, or randomly playing with my hair and using a brush to innocently create a rats-nest on my head (Jayce).  Jayce and Anya will give each other arbitrary hugs and kisses throughout the day, and watch out for each other's needs.  Jayce keeps track of Anya in great detail, alerting me to any potential need she may have.

I love seeing them do things for us, pick up something we dropped or help mop up a mess, just because it seems to them like the nice thing to do.  They both truly have kind hearts.  I have to remind myself to accept their kindness, but that's a post for another day.

I love how much they enjoy our friends and family in our home and are happy to share their books and toys and demand a story.  Both of them are content and comfortable with people in our home.

I love how much they are attached to each other.  When they are separated, they ask about the other one and are unsatisfied until they are back together again.  They are happy to be together, and I have often thanked God for His wisdom in allowing them to be placed in our home together.  God knew what He was doing.

Anya is learning to give Jayce his vitamin before she eats one herself.  We have practiced this a few times and now she anticipates me and takes Jayce his "treat" before she comes back for her own, rather than shoving Jayce's treat in her mouth first.  She is actively learning to put Jayce ahead of her own impulses and wants.

They watch and imitate Philip and I, our friends and family in the way we speak and act: not raising our voices, interacting kindly, being snugly and loving.  Jayce and Anya use their hands to explore their world gently, not intentionally being destructive (unless Anya gets a hold of a book....).  They are gentle with God's creatures and are considerate when exploring our faces with their fingers. They take joy in doing things correctly and in obeying well.  They seem happy that we find joy in them.  

It's ironic that I'm writing about this today, since today was not a "walking faithfully" day for the small folk.  I'm not sure I can reasonably equate "walking in truth" with "being nice" but based on the passage and the context, there has to be some link.  I'm not even sure how these concepts can be taught, other than modeling them and praying hard that God would use His Spirit to transform our kiddos into His image.  

I am reminded daily that these are His kiddos that He has entrusted to us.  He is the One ultimately responsible for them, and He is even more desirous that they walk in truth than we are.  Prayerfully, both Jayce and Anya will soon understand and believe the truth of God's Son, Jesus, and His sacrifice for them.  When that happens, they will be indwelt by God's Spirit and  be further equipped to follow in God's truth.  Yeah, looking forward to that.  Until then, by the grace of God, my two toddlers are toddling in truth, learning how to imitate what is good.  Watching them act on this good is definitely my favorite part of mama-ing.   

No comments:

Post a Comment