Church this morning was... challenging. Only because I was with the kiddos... the toddlers, to be specific. And normally this isn't a problem, but today we had a lot of kids in a smaller than normal space. Sigh... by the time church was over, my brain was fried, my patience tried and quite frankly I felt a little emotional about the whole thing.
In spite of the challenges, I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed connecting with one of our little girls who honestly, has a tough time connecting. I enjoyed ripping pages out of a coloring book for three little boys who seem to love The Sesame Street. One of my favorite times this morning was seeing each child lost in play. At one point, all eight of our little toddlers were content as they played together or with a toy of their own. I could see they too were happy.
There is something wonderful about toddlers... even the gnarly ones... because they're one hundred percent unafraid to be themselves. There is an honesty, a truthfulness and a rudeness I love. They don't put on aires, they don't act polite because "it's the right thing to do" and their personalities are exactly they way they're meant to be... exactly the way they were intended. I love that honesty.
And almost every toddler can swing from sass to sweet in ten seconds flat. I like that too... keeps me on my toes!
And so... today I am so very thankful for the little toddlers and babies at our church. They bring an honesty and vulnerability that we as adults often avoid. They reveal our weakness and our strengths as parents, friends and community. Toddlers don't expect us to be perfect, beautiful, smart or put together. They want to play, talk, sing and roll around on the floor... they want to connect and be seen. They want to be heard and feel validated... just like us!
In my community of faith I want to be heard, validated and seen too. I want my feelings to matter and I want folks who share my community to feel that way too! I want them to know they matter to me... they matter to the Lord. No one need to concern themselves with being attractive, popular or intellectual... having money, a nice home, and fancy clothes isn't what matters. It's the connection, the vulnerability.... the honesty that matters.
So let's take a tip from our toddlers and be gnarly, honest and authentic with one another. Let's share life together and connect on a heart level.
"Let the little children come to me (Jesus), and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."