I love children most of all the creatures in the world. They are fascinating to me, but none more than the ones who have been seemingly shackled with the weight of the world before they lose their training wheels. The ones born addicted to substances they never decided to take, the ones abandoned by the adults who brought them into the world, the ones that simply have to learn to fight from their very first breaths. They are the ones who challenge me most of all. They are the ones who have taught me most in this life.
The little boy who doesn't stand a chance.
The little girl who has been forgotten.
The tiny person the doctors lost hope for a long time ago.
I've been his teacher. I have been her mother. I have watched them from afar.
I am so quick to assign my tendencies to others, to expect them to react the way I would react, to carry the burdens they have been handed the way I would carry them. When adults catch curve balls I would have undoubtedly missed, I shrug it off and assume they honed that skill in some season I undoubtedly missed, too. But when children - tiny, innocent, vulnerable children - can "roll with punches" I cannot fathom as a woman in my thirties, I lean in. I look deep in their eyes and listen long to their words. I want to know their secret.
And I believe I've found it.
It's all about their ears.
Those ears are never turned toward their peers. They're not turned toward their teachers or physicians either. No. Those ears are tuned into something greater. The ones who have fire in their eyes and hustle in their feet aren't listening to the world. They have no idea what the folks around them think of them, nor do they care. Pleasing people never crossed their little minds. As far as I have ever been able to tell, these little people seem blissfully unaware of the world spinning around them altogether. They are survivors with tunnel vision and tenacity that is unrivaled. They are the world changers, heart changers, absolute game changers.
I love my daddy, but I haven't been a little girl in a long time.
I honestly can't remember how well I listened to him as a kid.
But my Heavenly Father is using these babies that have impacted my life to ask me about my own ears. If I think I don't stand a chance, when I feel forgotten, even if the whole wide world lost hope for me a long time ago - would I even be aware of it if my ear were turned toward the ONE it should be turned to? Who am I giving my ear to? Why? Who could possibly know more about what is best for me than the One who made me? How foolish to focus on noise over Truth.
Each one of us came into the world in circumstances that were beyond our control - some good, some unspeakably bad, none ever intended to define us or hide us. I've yet to meet a person who makes it to the end of life without losing a treasured relationship. People we love, trust, perhaps even build our lives around for a time walk away and leave us with a choice. Will we be defined by their absence or allow ourselves to be overcome by His Presence? For some of us, life has been a series of battles. If it's not the money, it's the people; if it's not the people, it's the world. We who have been called to be still and know fight and doubt instead. We get it all wrong and then fight like hell to turn it all around when the King of Heaven waits patiently for us to just ask Him to bring order to it all.
And it all comes down to where we are turning our ears.
When they're forever turned toward our peers and strangers, too, desperately listening for someone to give us direction, approval, affirmation of any kind at any cost, we lose our way. We sell ourselves short, listening to those who never belonged on a pedestal, who hardly know us and never actually asked to guide or define us. We have sad eyes and feet that won't move because the flames in our soul have all but flickered out when our ears are turned toward the wrong things. Years of living like a puppet on strings held by hands all over the place can leave us tattered and in a heap on the ground. When we try to please everyone else, we will surely become repulsed by ourselves. Before we know it, life can spin out of control like a carousel we soon believe we may never be able to jump on. We become distracted and defeated.
And it all starts with our ears.
God has called us to be world changers, heart changers, absolute game changers. The question is - can we even hear Him?
When I turn down the noise in my life and turn to the Word, I hear I am forgiven. I am reminded that I can cease my striving and rest in Him. Jesus made a way for me to rest today, washed, sanctified, justified, in every way. I could have never earned, but I'll never trade it. I could never have afforded it and I won't let it go. When I feel worn out, He tells me I'm a new creation. When death tries to interrupt and swallow my hope whole, I am reminded I am crucified in Christ and He LIVES in me.
When I fall short, when I mess things up beyond repair, He never condemns me. He says I am holy and blameless before Him even now. He draws me near as a Father does His dearly loved child. When things looked shaky all around, I remember again that my security is in Christ alone, I am sealed in Him. When I can't find my place among men, I exhale knowing my true citizenship is in Heaven. When I feel abandoned, He reminds me that we as believers have been adopted as sons. When I wake in the morning and see that old self in the mirror, He tells me all I have to do is lay aside that old self and let Him renew my mind.
Father, you alone give us faith like little children. Let us turn our ears toward you. Make us survivors with tunnel vision and tenacity that is unrivaled in this place. May we go in Your Holy Name and be called world changers, heart changers, absolute game changers for your glory.