“Young children were brought to Him for Him to put His hands on them and pray; but the disciples interfered. Jesus however said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for it is to those who are childlike that the Kingdom of the Heavens belongs.’ So He laid His hands upon them and went away.” Matthew 19:13-15 (Weymouth New Testament Bible)
Although the world would sometimes see them as an inconvenience and treat them accordingly, children hold a special place in God’s heart. The King of Heaven is never busy nor too proud to stoop down and grant the request of a child. That is the kind of God we have.
Now that I am a mother, I am beginning to understand why Jesus said we must become like little children to enter God’s kingdom. My daughter just turned a year old two months ago. As young as she is, Mishca is already an “expert” in teaching me how to live a life that pleases God. Let me tell you what she’s taught me so far:
Take delight in simple joys and be grateful. Mishca is endlessly fascinated with dogs, cats, and birds. A flower never fails to put a smile on her face. Earlier tonight, she squealed when she saw the moon peeking through the clouds. “Mo-o-on!” she pointed with wide-eyed wonder. Nothing escapes her. She just seems to revel at all creation. And the Master Creator must be basking at all the attention and smiling down on this appreciative little creature.
Do not be ashamed to admit that you need help. My daughter knows she needs help and she will not stop asking until she gets it. No pride, no fear, pure vulnerability. Thus, she gets all the assistance she needs. I, on the other hand, would try to act like a tough lady on many occasions and pretend to be self-sufficient—only to stress myself out. Didn’t God say ask and it shall be given, knock and the door will be opened? In fact, He admonishes us to ask and keep on asking until we get an answer.
Believe the best in everybody. Mishca has the sunniest of dispositions. She started smiling at two days old. Her private nurse was adamant that she smiled at a group of them while they were wheeling her to the nursery on her third day. She’s been greeting everyone with that disarming smile ever since, only now she does it with a wave as she says a soft “Hi!” The first few times she did this while we were out in public, I actually asked people who initiated the pleasantries. Always I was told it was my daughter. Total strangers in the mall and on the street are pleasantly surprised that a baby is smiling and waving at them.
Once, when we were stuck in traffic, I caught her waving at an old lady—a lone passenger of a jeepney who looked like she needed some cheering up. The lady noticed and the crease on her forehead softened as she smiled back. It seems that for Mishca, there are no class, age, or racial distinctions. Everyone is a friend and everybody deserves a smile.
Show love and adoration unabashedly. As we fed her ice cream in bed the other night, Mishca surprised us with a sweet gesture. With the ice cream still in her mouth, she knelt down and kissed my knee. “Mwah!” she exclaimed as her lips landed on my lap. Then she proceeded to kiss her dad on his knee.
This is the same girl who at 10 months old taught herself how to worship God even while confined in a hospital. A viral infection had given her high fever and an upset stomach. Her pediatrician ordered for antibiotics to be administered intravenously. On her third day in the hospital, her dad and I started singing praise songs to pass the time. All of a sudden Mishca, who was then lying in bed, started shaking her head in time with the music. Then she smiled at us and raised her hand—the one with the IV—the same hand that was so bruised because of the painful injections she had received. We didn’t coach her to do this. We were not even lifting our hands as we sang. She must have learned this from watching people in church. It amazes me no end, because it took me years to have the courage to lift my hands in worship.
Nowadays Mishca’s favorite songs are from the Kids Praise album that her grandma got her. She would ask us to play it for her over and over. When we do, she would get that faraway look in her eyes and start swaying to the music as she raises her hand. For my little daughter, it is only but natural to give adoration to the One person in the universe who deserves it the most.
Forgive and bear no grudges. As a first-time mom, I don’t know how many times I have unintentionally hurt my little girl as I fumble in my new role. She has been forgiving. Although some of my actions made her cry, never once did she snub or avoid me as punishment for crossing her. This little girl has the ability to bounce back fast and act as if nothing happened. I, on the other hand, am guilty of sometimes reliving the wrong that was done to me ages ago and, to my detriment, suffer again needlessly because of my unwillingness to forgive and let go.
Yesterday, Mishca received discipline from her dad after deliberately throwing down a bowl full of food on the floor. An hour or so later, Michael approached her to explain why she was punished. “We love you, that’s why we have to discipline you,” he explained. As he carried her Mishca, she rubbed his back and rested her head on her dad’s shoulder, assuring him that it was alright.
As I grow another year older this July, I want to be more like my little Mishca. This is the prayer of my heart:
Dear Lord, teach me to value each child that you send my way. Help me never to be too busy to tell them about You, nor too proud to learn what truths You may be teaching me through them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Jennifer Caspe-Cocuaco likes to call herself a dreamer and visionary by night and a magazine writer and TV producer by day. Her work has appeared in various publications, and she also has produced and directed for The 700 Club Asia and other TV projects. All these had to take a backseat in favor of the most important roles in her life to date—being a wife and mom. Follow her domestic adventures at mommysolutions.blogspot.com.