Little Image Bearers

Today I'm honored to be a part of a beautiful series, The Meaning of Children, for the blog of a long-time friend, Mihee Kim-Kort, from my Wilderness Ranch guiding days. I'm writing about what I learn from my children as unique image-bearers. You can read the piece below or over at her blog, here

It's easy to overlook my children's uniqueness, as it is God's vastness.

It's easy to overlook my children's uniqueness, as it is God's vastness.

Not long ago, I found myself on a Mommy-Son date with my oldest child, who is all too quickly approaching his fifth birthday. I was about to tell him how much I love his curiosity when I looked into his big blue eyes and asked, “Do you know something I love about you, Ben?” And much to my surprise and delight, he threw this back at me, “that I am the only Ben like me and that there is no one else like me in the whole wide world?” I smiled a proud-mom-sized smile, “well yes, that is absolutely something I love about you. I love that you are a unique, one-of-a-kind kid.”

Amidst the many messes made, the toilets clogged by 100 times the needed amount of toilet paper, the incessant sibling bickering, the feisty little attitudes hurled my way, the all-around chaos that is my everyday life, it is altogether too easy for me to forget that I’m raising two little image-bearers. God has entrusted me with these two little people, each of whom is unlike any other human being on the planet; each of whom beautifully reflects different characteristics of their creator.  If I pause long enough, look deep enough, my knowledge and understanding of God can be expanded, blown wide open, simply by observing the unique ways that my little guys bear the image of their maker.

When my oldest recounts to me every last fact there is to know about Colossal Squid - it reflects to me a God who is concerned with the minutest of details.

When we’re at the grocery store picking out a snack and with great concern, he says, “Can we pick out one for my brother? - because he would be sad if we didn’t get one for him.” -it reflects to me a God who is thoughtful and cares deeply about each one of his creations.

When he senses that I am feeling sad and proceeds to sit down beside me, put his head on my shoulder and ask, “want a hug, Mom?” - it reflects to me a God who enters into our pain with his presence.

When I have to apologize, yet again, for yelling in frustration, and he says, “I forgive you, Mommy. Want to play hide and seek?” - it reflects to me a God who is quick to forgive and desires to continue on in relationship with me even when I repeatedly fall short.

When I witness him reach out to a friend on the playground and invite him to join in a game - it reflects to me a God who is invitational in nature, beckoning me to engage and eat with with him.

When my youngest son notices a tiny insect on the ground and bends down to count how many legs it has and marvel at its unique features - it reflects to me a God who engages with his creation and takes pride in his craftsmanship.

When he spontaneously begins to dance without inhibition and unaware that anyone is watching - it reflects to me a God who moves in power and freedom and in whom we live and move and have our being.

When he repeats something to me again and again until I acknowledge him and he feels heard - it reflects to me a God who is persistent and desires to be heard and known.

When he slobbers all over his apple slices then offers me a piece - it reflects to me a God who welcomes people to the table and generously shares of his riches.

When he tells me at least 30 times in one day, “Mom, I love you.” - it reflects to me a God who is extravagant and unconditional in his love.

When my sons, together, invent a wild game of Toodle-zoo with specific rules that any player must follow - it reflects to me a God who is both full of imagination and creativity, and who initiates order.

When my oldest screams out to me, “but that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Make it right.” - it reflects to me a God who desires to make things right, to restore and redeem his creation.

When my youngest, tender caregiver, gives great attention to the things in his care like feeding the dog and watering his plants - it reflects to me a God who provides, nurtures, and brings forth growth.

My children’s uniqueness is easy to overlook, as is God’s vastness. On the days when I struggle to see good in my kids, I long to pause and remember that I’m interacting with little image-bearers who reflect to me a unique set of God’s characteristics in a way that no one else can.