I remember having preschool age kids. I consider this to be between ages three and five. There are a few hallmarks of the preschool age. One of them is busyness. Oh my! These guys were busy little bees! They loved, and needed, to run, jump, skip, touch, push, pull, hide, seek, crawl, and any other action verb one could think of. We made forts out of blankets draped over a table or a couch to crawl in and out of. We had tunnels to crawl through. Toys that could be pushed, pulled, or pedaled. We had pretend hammers to bang with and Playdough to roll and sculpt. Living in the northern parts of the country during these years meant I had to get creative during the months that it was too cold to take them outside to burn off some energy. And I didn’t have the luxury of a resource like Pinterest to give me great ideas. More than once I would fall into a chair, exhausted, hoping an episode of Barney or Tom and Jerry would give me a little break. My little ones, though, would often watch for a short time and would then jump on the couch like it was a rectangular trampoline. In fact, we never bought a new couch until this year when, as empty nesters, we moved into a townhouse.
A second thing that marks the preschool years is the fact that they never stop talking. Most of their words are usually spent telling silly stories or asking questions. Questions about everything. Some of the questions I could answer. Some, though, I had no idea what to say. Questions like,
Why is the sky blue?
Why is the grass green?
How does sand get on the beach but not on the sidewalk?
How does the salt get into the ocean?
These days, I suppose, preschoolers know how to use mommy’s phone and ask Cortana or Siri these questions. Perhaps they know the answers. I haven’t tried it. Regardless, there were days that my preschoolers talked so much and wanted to know so much that I felt their little heads would grow too big if I told them all the answers! Good thing my husband is the quiet type who would come home from work and maybe say ten words to me all night. Yeah, that eventually came back to haunt us, but during those years, the silence when the kids went to bed was seriously golden.
Why all this about preschoolers from a mom who no longer even has teenagers?
Later this month, I will officially mark three years as a follower of Jesus. Oh, I knew who Jesus was a very long time ago. I knew Bible verses, won the Bible drill finals year after year in Vacation Bible School, answered the questions correctly in Sunday School…I even knew the right words to say to pretend I prayed a prayer “asking Jesus into my heart”. And I believed I was saved because, on more than one occasion, I had prayed that prayer and said those words. The problem was, I never had a relationship with Jesus. I knew a lot about Him, but I never really got to know Him. On more than one occasion I would give upon being a Christian. I wanted Jesus and the pleasures of the world too. For a while I tried to make the two coexist. After a while, I gave up on God. The world was much more fun. Drinking and other sins I won’t mention here became normal for me. I remember one time driving home from a Halloween party a friend of mine had planned. She lived “off the Island” (a phrase we Grand Islanders used for anything that didn’t take place on Grand Island). The thing is, I don’t remember driving home. The next day, I vaguely remembered almost hitting the guard rails coming up to the toll booths at the bridge. I didn’t even know how to get to her house in Kenmore. My husband had driven there but he said he was too drunk to drive home. So was I, but I wasn’t going to admit it. We shouldn’t have made it home that night. Somehow, at the time, I thought that was fun…
The stories could go on but, three years ago, God in His mercy decided enough was enough. I needed to choose once and for all who I was going to follow–Him or the world. Through an orchestration of events that could only come from an almighty God, I was brought to a place of wrestling with God like never before. God placed some people in my life who spoke the truth to me. I admit, at the time, they made me quite angry, yet I know now they were speaking that truth in love. After a few days and nights of intense wrestling and emails with these people, I realized that although I knew God, I didn’t know God. I made my choice and gave my LIFE to Jesus–I didn’t ask Him into my heart; I made Him Lord of my life. So in Christ, I am almost three years old. That makes me a preschooler in the eyes of God.
And lately, I’ve been feeling like a preschooler.
It seems in the last few months, there has been one crisis, one problem, one sad situation after another. A family in our church lost a son unexpectedly. A pastor in a neighboring Harvest church also lost a son unexpectedly. Health issues have continued to pound my body and mind. Even the weather has been a source of dismay for me as we have been in the 70’s. That just isn’t supposed to be the case in November in Minnesota. In a broader sense, the world seems to have gone completely crazy. Police officers have been gunned down for doing nothing except wearing the uniform. Others have been fired for doing their job. The world continues to gang up on Israel. Plane crashes possibly acts of terror as well as earthquakes and hurricanes have filled news headlines. Of course there have been good times mixed in there as well. A long awaited vacation to Disney World and the ocean topped my September. Spending as much time as I can with my grandson and seeing his beautiful smile when he sees Grammy is enough to make my heart melt. Still, the tough times have been, well, pretty tough. Similar to the waves that I watched roll and crash onto Cocoa Beach in September have seemed the storms in life around me. I find myself asking God “Why?” many times.
God, why didn’t you stop a young man, only fifteen and one of your children, from taking his own life?
God, why do the bad guys seem to get away with evil while the good guys get punished for doing good?
God, what is going to happen to those I love who have not made the decision to follow you wholeheartedly?
God, when are you coming back to save us from this world where evil has become good and good has become evil?
God, why won’t you heal me from the debilitating effects of depression and MS?
Unlike me as a parent, God knows all the answers to my questions, but if He gave me all the answers, I wouldn’t need to trust Him. As it is, I have very few answers and even less control over what may come in the future. I think that’s exactly the spot God wants me to be in–a spot of dependence on Him because I don’t know from day to day what is going to happen.
Being a preschooler is hard…to see the big world and want to know everything about it yet unable to be all knowing. My preschoolers thought I knew all the answers. I did not.
This preschooler, though, is thankful she follows the One who does, even though my path has taken twists and turns that have delayed my growing up. I hope, just as my preschoolers trusted me to give them the right answers to their questions, that my trust in my Father will grow…regardless of whether He gives me the answers I want to hear.