Have I mentioned that my son is brilliant?
Well, not really. I mean he is really smart if I do say so myself, but I'm not talking about his academic prowess at the moment. But the things he says teach me and astound me on a regular basis.
One of the things I did through my pregnancy and since Matthew was born was pray over him. I really enjoy praying over his whole body. I pray for ears to hear God's Word and Spirit, feet to bring the Good News to people, hands to work hard and to serve, eyes to see people as Jesus sees them, knees to bow in humility, lips to speak the truth in love, a heart of compassion and tenderness, a sound mind to discern the will of God. When he was little and would fall asleep in my arms, I would move my hands around his body, praying those things for him.
God is answering my prayers beyond my imagination. He is crafting in my little boy a heart for the Lord that could only come from God. It moves me to tears and humility because I have so much to learn. I want to be the kind of mom who models those things too. I admit I'm farther away in that department. Much farther.
Matthew is teaching me so much.
At Christmastime, we did Advent activities with him each night. He was always so excited. He would come to me many times throughout the day and ask for Advent. He'd bring the Advent Bible and ask me to read it. He would ask me to play the story from his Advent ornament. His reminded me to remember Christ's birth and anticipate His return with enthusiasm and joy.
Before Easter, we were teaching him about Palm Sunday. I cut a palm frond from our tree and brought it inside, and we practiced shouting "Hosanna!" We read from the adult Bible, we read from his Bible with pictures and we even watched some youtube video clips from various movies that have reenacted it. It didn't seem to be penetrating and I figured that was ok since he was just barely two. Then one day many weeks later, we were out on a walk when he stopped suddenly. He pointed to a palm tree and yelled with a huge smile, "Hosanna!" He reminded me to see God in the every day.
He LOVES animals. LOVES them. So we do lots of things WITH animals...trips to the zoo, books with animals, apps on the tablet with animals, games and songs with animals, etc, etc, etc. One day we were looking at some pictures on an app, and a donkey came up. He's seen a donkey in a zillion different contexts. He excitedly pointed to it and yelled, "Jesus ride donkey!!" The next picture was a hippo. He said "no Jesus hippo." He reminds me to filter EVERYTHING through God's Word and God's history, not just the big stuff, and even zoo animals.
Even though it's now almost June, he still asks to read his Easter books. He has 3 that he loves and we read them multiple times a week. When we arrive to the page with 3 crosses in one of the books, he tells
me "Jesus died 3 days." When we turn the page to the empty tomb, he
yells, "All gone Jesus!" which is 2 year old for "He is risen!" He reminds me that Easter is true every day, and not just "on the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox."
He will sit with his Bible and "read" it for prolonged periods of time, all by himself. He knows it's different from his other books. He'll bring it to me and ask ME to read it and then he'll sit for as long as I'll read. When I read aloud from my Bible, even though he couldn't see the book, He knew it was God's word. He reminds me to feast on God's Word.
He loves to go to church. He is excited to go when I tell him that's where we're going. He is always thrilled to see his friends and greets them with hugs and kisses. When his teacher arrives in the nursery to pick them up and take them to class, he runs with enthusiasm to the door and waits for her to lead them so class can start. He loves to give a "fist bump" to the Pastor and last week, he asked if Pastor could come to Mother's Day lunch with us. He reminds me to not forsake meeting together, to greet others enthusiastically with the love of Christ, and to seek instruction in my faith, from those wiser than me.
He recently prayed his first prayer that he initiated completely by himself. He said "Dear Jesus. Thank you Mommy. Thank you Daddy. Thank you Mommy. Thank you Feena [Fiona]. Thank you Daddy. Amen." His prayers since then have all been similar. He always says thank you for the people we are with. And then in his way that is both pure of heart and a little mischievous because he likes having "the floor" so to speak, he looks around the room and starts thanking God for things he sees. Sometimes, they're silly. Tonight, he thanked God for the table. Last night, he thanked Him for the wall. He thanks Him for toys and phones and french fries and milk and all sorts of things. He prays this way whether he is happy or sad. The other night, he prayed "Thank you bed. Thank you blanket. Thank you water." Wow. 3 things that much of the world doesn't have and which I don't regularly thank God for. He reminds me that even when I am tempted to feel forsaken, God cares for us. He meets our needs and has given us so much. A he reminds me to be thankful in all circumstances.
Matthew has this heart because of God's work in him and in spite of me. I believe God is answering our prayers for him. I'm such a poor example for him, and yet God is growing him and I am so thankful. I'm thankful that I get to see the faith of a child lived out before me each day so that I can learn to have that same full faith. I want very much to be the kind of parent who can shepherd such a heart as his.
My heart is still broken, but every day I thank God for this amazing little boy. He is such a joy to my heart and having him here eases some of my pain and through him the Holy Spirit tunes my heart toward God when pain deters me away.