God doesn’t just meet me in my hiding place; He is my hiding place. But, sometimes I forget that. Yesterday, when I felt overwhelmed with the noise of life, the growing ‘to-do’ list that quickly outpaces my efforts, the pressure of many good things that should be done – God gave me the most beautiful perspective on what matters most. He did it through the secret notebook scribbles of my 8 year old daughter, who perfectly captured the meaning of life. And – His timing was impeccable.
Yesterday afternoon was a disaster. I’m not saying this in some false modesty kind of way; it truly was bad.
I have really been struggling with the after-school stampede. Our four older kids explode into the house like a cluster bomb. Papers everywhere. Lunches – half eaten, squished, spilled – you name it! Fresh owies. Shoes…backpacks, sweaters…stuff. Missing stuff – sometimes, important missing stuff. But mostly it’s the barrage of noise that does me in. “Mom, Mom, MOM…” from all directions; everyone insistent on telling me every. single. detail – good, bad and ugly – all at once, and at exceptional volume.
My head just spins! In the flood of sensory overload, I can feel like I’m drowning.
I never knew how overstimulating motherhood could be.
I try to prepare ahead for that moment the kids burst off the bus. We’ve been working at re-engineering some semblance of order into the routine, but it’s very much a work in process. I dream of the day when my angelic kids come in, orderly and composed, with exemplary manners and patience. But – they’re not robots or fictional characters – they’re real children. They come with excitement. They come with frustrations. They come with wounds, both on the inside and outside. They come with volume. And God knows, I sure do love them.
God also knows how deeply flawed I am: how in the chaos of the moment my patience runs dry, my words become sharp, my heart hardens, and my perspective gets all blurred up.
When I feel this happening, I sometimes hide from my kids for a while. For just a few minutes, I’ll sneak into my room, lock the door, and try to catch my breath.
Yesterday, on the edge of myself, in the midst of one hot motherhood mess, I found myself there. And, God found me there too.
On top of our dresser, I saw a little notebook belonging to my oldest daughter, Anaiah. It had been sitting on that dresser, in the same spot, seemingly untouched for months. Yet, apparently I’m not the only one who hides out in my bedroom; from time to time Anaiah does too. I discovered that this notebook is far from neglected.
When by chance I opened her notebook yesterday, the reality of what she writes – in the secret, in her own quietness – it was a beautiful thing to behold.
I turned the pages, and one by one, so many truths about God, simply stated in the ink of a child – poured over me.
In her own words, with her own spelling and homonym switch-ups, here is the perspective I absolutely needed. As I let the words on these pages settle into my spirit, I realized, ‘these aren’t just the words I need now – for this very moment. Understanding these words is truly what life is all about.’
The reality is: if the words on these pages were all my children ever took hold of in life – they would know everything they need to know.
Allow me to share these precious truths with you:
The impact of yesterday’s living devotional still has me in awe. The Bible says of God, “you are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word” (Psalm 119:114). In my physical hiding place, I found that my daughter has a hiding place too. Like me, she closes herself in – to the quietness of my bedroom – and there, she covers herself in the words of God, and lets them pour out of her too. Yesterday, through my child, God ministered to me in a moment when I really needed it. In a moment when my mind was consumed with all the things I thought needed to be done, God refreshed my perspective towards what matters most: Him. His words to us.
In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I reflect on this verse a lot. It seems the more we grow, the more we complicate things. Somehow, children have the ability to filter through all the clutter and distractions, and cut straight to the heart of things, straight to the meaning of life:
God is God.
He is good.
He made us special.
He is for us.
God is our rock.
He takes good care of us.
He loves us very much.
He loves us so much he died on the cross for our sins.
He is amazing.
Our joy is found in Him.
He has plans for us and His plans are good.
We should love our family.
We should love our neighbors as ourselves.
We should be kind and compassionate to one another.
We should love everyone in the whole world.
Just as God loves us, we should love one another.
I hope these words of truth are a blessing to you!