Last night after a meal of chicken and dumplings, there were tears at my table. Unexpected tears. She covered her face with her hands and quickly wiped them away. I honestly don’t even remember what I asked her, only that she looked back at me with widening, glistening eyes and when the tears threatened, she held both hands to her face, shielding the unexpected vulnerability.
There were just four of us at the table. Sara invited two friends over for chicken and dumplings. It’s been raining a lot, so it was a good night for chicken and dumplings. As usual, I asked questions like I always do:
What’s your God story? What’s your big God dream? What lies does the enemy whisper to you?
We talked about a lot of things while my little black cat, Madeleine, sauntered quietly in and out like it was her job to keep tabs on conversation. Sara filled the old diner mugs with coffee from the percolator in the kitchen and I scooped vanilla ice cream over the skillet cookie cake then handed plates to the girls.
We were talking about Jesus. More specifically we were talking about how Jesus talks to people. His interesting interactions and connections with people in scripture. The girl with the tears struggled earnestly for answers about Jesus and his intention toward people.
And then I said something about the fact that when I wonder about Jesus and his intention and character, I always remember he was the one to encourage the children to come to him. While people tried to shield Jesus from those dirty, messy kids ~ he invited them in and knowing that makes him much less complicated in my mind.
Sometimes as we grow in our faith, we grow more complicated. And we forget that while Jesus was a brilliant man, he invited the company of children. And besides that, he told an awful lot of stories. He spoke to people in parables so they could understand the enormous, complex nature of the Godhead. I love that about Jesus. When I can’t quite figure out the complexities of God and the universe and His will for my life, I remind myself that Jesus is more than okay with children and stories and making things as simple as possible.
So as I sat sipping coffee listening to the girls, I remembered Heidi. Thanks to my sister and her girls raving over the book, I ordered it online two weeks ago and I savored a chapter or two every night before bed. I just finished reading it two nights ago. Beautiful word pictures, lovely story, unexpected message in the pages. Sweet Heidi.
I got up from the table and headed to the bedroom to get Heidi and then walked back in the dining room. I placed Heidi on the table. Because Heidi just might help the girl with the tears see the simplicity of Jesus.
Looking back over my life I can point to so many beautiful books, most children’s literature, that helped me understand the nature of God in a more holistic way. Books by George MacDonald, Katherine Paterson, CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, and Hannah Hurnard.
I don’t know … maybe Heidi could help you, too?
Because some days I think we need more stories and fewer devotionals. More word pictures and fewer commentaries. Maybe some days, our souls need stories to help us see.
ps. and this is my story: unafraid (trusting God in an unsafe world)