Usually I try to let them figure it out between the two of them. Usually they come up with some sort of compromise without too much interference from me. This fight, however, was escalating. With tempers flared, I wasn’t sure that these little ones could figure it out on their own.
After spending some time alone in each of their respective rooms in order to cool off, we sat down for breakfast together. It was a day off school, so with no schedule in sight, the girls enjoyed giggling and making fun. I was busily plugging dates into the calendar while they were finishing up their breakfasts.
One of the girls excused herself after she was finished her breakfast. Only one child remained at the island finishing up her meal when all of a sudden, this wise beyond her years voice asked, “Mommy, if God created everyone, how can he live in my heart?”
Now as a pastor, I’ve gotten some tough questions in my life, ones that I feel obligated to answer even when I don’t really know the right thing to say. So I’ve learned that I don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes listening to the question without judgment is all that is necessary.
But somehow on this day just listening didn’t seem to be enough. I felt as if this was one of those moments that define who you are as a parent.
I stopped what I was doing and without really knowing what I was going to say, took a deep breath. I told her that I didn’t really understand everything about God but I thought that God is love and that love can’t help but create things. In love, God created the processes that create us. But also, in love, God lives in our hearts.
In my mind, I was relieved to have gotten through that one with what seemed to be a pretty good answer. But as young children often do, she didn’t really seem to have heard my answer. Without comment or question, she was off to get ready for the day.
I don’t know if I got through to her that day but I know that her question got through to me. In moments like these, I am realizing, God is here creating love in the midst of our crazy family life; creating love in the midst of the fights; creating love while we are busy with full calendars.
And that love means that God lives here, in our home, in our family, in the hearts of my precious children. It just sometimes takes the right question to open our eyes to it.