Never-ending requests for snacks. Endless potty runs. And a million and a half questions. No wonder most preschool moms struggle with how to see God in their everyday lives.
But it’s possible.
And the key to how to see God rests with how you see yourself.
How to See God in Your Preschooler’s Childlike Faith
My youngest granddaughter sat on the floor and eyed a tiny pair of Minnie Mouse shoes. They were red and no bigger than a half-inch long. They were made to fit perfectly on the feet of her tiny doll. As my granddaughter reached for the shoes I picked up the doll. I knew she’d need help placing the little shoes on the doll’s feet.
But my granddaughter surprised me.
First she took off her own shoes.
Then she picked up a tiny doll shoe and, like Cinderella’s step-sisters, tried to wiggle a toe inside.
She thought they would fit.
And then I felt tears fill my eyes.
Walking By Faith
I desperately wanted that kind of child-like faith. The kind of faith that says “I don’t see the impossibility. I’m not afraid to try. In spite of how silly it looks, I simply choose to believe this can happen.”
In the life of a Christian that kind of faith is more than wishful thinking. It’s believing that God is all-powerful and that nothing can stop Him from fulfilling His will in my life. No matter how impossible the odds look to me.
That’s how the Bible calls us to live.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7, CSB
Sometimes the innocent faith of a young child can teach us not only how to see God but also how to see ourselves. From God’s perspective we are His children. And He wants us to fully and completely trust Him.
How to See God in Your Preschooler’s Bent Toward Rebellion
My middle daughter loved her dolls. No matter how big her collection grew, she knew each doll by name and carefully rocked, dressed and caressed each one.
One day I watched her tuck several dolls under the covers as she settled into her bed for an afternoon nap. As I gently closed her bedroom door my heart sang “Hallelujah!” I had a much-needed two-hour break to pay some pressing bills and make a few phone calls.
Twenty minutes later my phone rang.
It was my closest neighbor. She lived at the end of our quarter-mile-long gravel driveway deep in the woods.
“Hey! I need to let you know your daughter is on my front porch.”
My daughter was in her bed. She was taking a nap while I balanced my checkbook.
I ran to her room.
And sure enough. She was gone. Her tall bedroom window that stood a foot from the floor had been opened.
My sweet little daughter had jumped out of bed, opened her bedroom window, crawled out, and run away from home. Or at least to the neighbor’s house.
I gathered my daughter, thanked my neighbor and then got to work. First, I placed every single baby doll she owned in a huge trash bag. Then I fastened the top of the bag, climbed the attic stairs and left the dolls in their new temporary home.
I’m not sure who was hurting the most. My young daughter had to say goodbye to her beloved baby dolls for a whole week and she was devastated. But I had to teach her a lesson she would remember, even though it broke my heart to separate her from her dolls.
And no doubt that’s how God feels when He disciplines us.
Learning as a Daughter of God
There we are, safe and sound with everything we need. Yet time and again we choose to run off, outside the perimeters of God’s loving design. And because He loves us He often makes sure we suffer some consequences.
Young man, do not resent it when God chastens and corrects you, for His punishment is proof of his love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you.Proverbs 3:11, The Living Bible
God never punishes us out of anger. He disciplines us out of love.
Just as a child left without correction becomes unruly, so would we. So God gives us His Word to teach us and His Spirit to guide us. Then He does whatever it takes to keep us on the right path.
If we pay close attention, we can learn how to see God’s mercy and grace in our lives as we guide our own children.
How to See God in Your Child’s Tender Moments
As children grow from babies into little people, most moms wrestle with letting go. It happens so fast.
One moment you’re rocking an infant who refuses to sleep, dreaming of the day she learns to soothe herself. Then in the blink of any eye you’re reaching down to pull a toddler onto your lap for a bedtime story. And it’s hard not to wince when she pulls away and insists on having a seat right next to you.
How did your arms grow from barely ever empty to the last place on earth your child wants to be?
Even as a teenager my youngest daughter sometimes climbed awkwardly onto my husband’s lap and nestled her head on his shoulder. And he never ever complained.
A parent’s lap is a place of safety. In the arms of a good parent a child can always find refuge and comfort.
That’s why one of my favorite verses of scripture is found in Psalm 131.
“Lord, I am not proud and haughty. I don’t think myself better than others. I don’t pretend to ‘know it all.’ I am quiet now before the Lord, just as a child who is weaned from the breast. Yes, my begging has been stilled.”Psalm 131:1-2, The Living Bible
A weaned child is content. He no longer cries for his mother’s arms simply because he wants to be fed.
Instead he crawls into her lap because he wants to be held by her
That’s a beautiful picture of a Christian in the arms of Jesus. And it’s where I find myself far too seldom.
Enjoying God’s Fatherhood
Seeking the presence of Jesus simply to find rest and find contentment in Him. With nothing in it for myself.
God wants us to yield to His provision and plan for our lives. To rest in His gift of mercy and grace in Christ. And to trust and obey Him because we know His ways are best.
To be God’s child is the most incredible calling of our lives. But in our adult-ness we sometimes lose our way.
That’s why it’s so important to learn how to see God in the lives of young children. In their struggle for independence we often see ourselves. But if we look more closely we’ll find the heart of our Heavenly Father as He delights in welcoming us into His open arms of love.
How to See God in Everyday Life with a Preschooler
In many ways preschoolers are a picture of who we are in relation to Christ. We yearn for independence yet wrestle with fears. We impulsively choose what we think we want, mindless of the consequences. And we climb out of our Father’s lap when that’s the safest and most practical place to be.
But we also have the capacity to trust. To learn. And to believe that God can do absolutely anything and everything in our lives to make us a reflection of Himself.
Looking to Christ
And perhaps that’s the most startling truth about raising preschoolers.
In the end, they’re going to look like us. They’ll take on our ways, catch our attitudes and mimic our mannerisms. Because they’re watching everything we see and do.
Out of everything we can learn about how to see God in the life of a preschooler, that’s the most important. We need to be looking at Christ. Studying the scriptures, talking to Him and mimicking His love and grace. Because if we’re careful to look to Jesus, in the end we’ll end up looking a lot more like Him.