Monday, March 09, 2009

On the Significance of Children

Last fall I had the privilege of taking Allen Hood's class The Excellencies of Christ.  One of my favorite stories he told was from before he and his wife had any children -- I don't remember the specifics of how it all came about, but I think it had something to do with him deciding he wanted to wait a long time before they started a family.  Basically, the story goes that his wife called him out on it: "I don't think you have Jesus' heart for children,"  he started studying what Jesus really thought about kids, and a year later they were holding their oldest son Samuel.

I think the church needs to be called out just like Allen did.  

We have to recognize how strategic children are, and we have to stare honestly at the fact that we have allowed our views to be shaped by the world.  

Those few years when a person is a baby being taught for the first time the ways of life (and hopefully the ways of Christ) are imperative to their heart-development.   "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  So much of what we know, how we feel, and what we think is formed while we are children.  The love our parents show us (or neglect to show us) while we are small shapes the rest of our lives.  

Jesus valued the time He spent with children.  He saw it is a priority, He decided it was a lesson He needed to teach straight-forward to His disciples.  Why is it so easy for us to de-value time with children?  

We have to recognize that our enemy is strategic...he knows children are important, so he goes full force at de-valuing them in the eyes of the adults around them.  I feel like I can tangibly see the world's hatred of children (and that's what it is) growing steadily.  Did you see this article?
Or remember this post about Speaker Pelosi's comments on reducing costs by reducing the number of children born?  The contempt for children isn't even hidden anymore!  What about abortion -- could hatred of LIFE and children be any more clear?  I think this question has proved most convicting for me: When was the last time you saw a woman with many children and felt sorry for her?

It's no secret how the enemy has gone full-force against parenthood.  Fathers abandon their children left and right, and mothers are taught by the system of the world that it is more important to fulfill themselves than pour into their children.  Have you noticed how the world looks down on a woman who gives herself fully to raising and pouring into her children?  That is NOT the way God sees it!  Did you know He says children are a reward and a blessing?  

Did you know that one of the things that are on the TOP of God's list that He calls you to do as a Christian is giving care to the children that otherwise wouldn't be cared for:

James 1:27
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Don't even get me started on the need for an adoption movement that will take in every child that needs a home, regardless of their physical condition or history.

Once you get to know me, it doesn't take long for you to find out that my greatest dream is to raise children.  Of course right now I can't do that, but I can invest time and energy into little ones all the same...  Some days (ha!  a lot of days!) it's a battle to believe that every time I love Glorie, or encourage Judah that he's a might man of God, or pray with Ariel before school for Jesus to give her overflowing JOY!, or sing with the kids on Sunday night about the River of Life flowing out of them makes a difference.

Friends, invest in children around you.  Take the time to examine exactly what your views have been about children, and then think about Jesus'.  Jesus gave you YOUR amazing design before you were born...maybe you didn't have people around you to speak it into you.  Maybe no one told you you were a mighty man of God like David or that your beautiful smile told everyone around you how joyful Jesus is.  Children can walk in the power of God, but someone has to teach them that they can!

And if you are a kids' worker in any way shape or form (nanny, sunday school teacher, kids' room attendant at the YMCA...), BLESS YOU!  You are making a difference in the world, because when you make a difference in one little one you change the world because you helped shape them into who God made them to be -- and God made them in a way that will change the world.

Oh, children are anything but insignificant.  They deserve so MUCH attention, and so MUCH love, and so MUCH devotion.  We have to get the mind of Christ about kids so that we can non-stop combat what the world tells them they are: that littleness = insignificance.  That you are worth what you can do, and kids can't do much.  That being led by someone else is demeaning, yet the truth is that children are meant to be led and kept safe by their parents.  

Next time you see a child, ask the Lord who He made them to be.  Then tell them.  If He says He made them for joy, tell them their smile lights up the room.  If He tells you they have a strength from God, encourage them that they never have to be afraid.  Tell them they will hear his voice!  Tell them they are important!  

Love them, because Jesus does.

3 comments:

Suz said...

YES, YES, YES!!!!!!!! tHIS IS POWERFUL AND TRUE...write it up, sister, and change minds and hearts!!! I am so proud of you!

Somedays are Worth Remembering said...

Annie-
We haven't met yet, however I mnow your sister Elizabeth. (everyone that I know, that knows you loves you.) My name is Kristi Cooper and I love this post. When I was younger(I am almost 30) I said I never wanted to have children. This stemmed from a troubled background but I was adimit about it. Then after I got married we wanted to wait 5 yrs. I was warming up to the idea of kids because I was then saved and my best friend had two. Then after 5 yrs. we tried and nothing happened for three years. I have a condition that prevents me(until the Lord breaks in) from having children. My heart was crushed. Now that I wanted to have children, take them to the prayer room, and teached them about Jesus I couldn't. We just adopted our first daughter, Shiloh Abigail Cooper in Sept 08. I cannot tell you how your words resonated in my soul. Amen to you. To be so young and to understand the charge and the high privilege of having children. Thanks
I hope we meet someday.

Lenae said...

This was amazing and powerful! I agree with all of it.