When Kids Know God Better than We Do


helping children know God @lizzylit
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“God paint trees, Mommy.”

My two-year-old beams up at me, pointing a chubby finger at the thick trees shading our front lawn.

Her word choice surprises a laugh out of me. “You know what? You’re right! God did paint those trees.”

I swirl the word paint around inside, exploring the delightful image of God the great Artist, paintbrush in hand, painting trees—a touch of green, a knot in wood, a crooked limb.

But my daughter is not done expounding. Her finger sweeps the yard. “God paint wow-ee.”

“Yes, and the flowers too.” A fragment of scripture flits across my mind: Lift up your eyes . . . who created all these?

Again the little finger searches, points. “God paint grass. Pink grass.”

I laugh, not bothering to correct her colors when she’s in the middle of a theological epiphany. “Oh yes, God painted the grass!”

She tips her honey-and-sunshine curls back, squinting up. “God paint sky. Clouds. Sun. Moon.” She casts me a smug grin as if to say, Aren’t you impressed that I know so many “sky” words?

“Oh, yes, you’re right. God painted all of those things,” I say. “Aren’t they beautiful?” I glance up at puffy clouds drifting on a sea of blue. The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Hazel eyes dancing, my daughter flings her hands out wide, the grand finale: “God paint me!”

I am struck speechless. I catch her up in my arms and bury my face in her sweet baby-soap smell.

She pushes me back and insists: “God paint me! Mommy tummy!” Pudgy fists pressed against my chest, round eyes locked on mine, she awaits my response.

At last I find my voice. “Oh, yes, darling, God painted you in Mommy’s tummy.”

She snuggles in and squeezes tight.

Even now her words echo inside me, a gorgeous refrain: God painted me. Such profound insight, from one so young, so fresh from heaven. God made us, yes, but more than that: he painted us.

I can just picture it: The great Artist takes up his paintbrush, selects his canvas, lays out his paints—a thousand hues of possibility—and ponders: What to create today? Oh, I know! Humming happily to himself, he dips his brush in paint and begins with just a single stroke: conception. Another stroke, a pause for inspiration—she’s taking shape now. A dab here, a curve there. He stops, debating: What color eyes to give? He mixes shades—a hint of green, a streak of caramel, a few golden flecks—there. Just right. He chuckles to himself, picturing those perfect eyes lit with wonder the first time they see a rainbow, a dandelion, a puppy. Now for the hair. He thinks for a moment, tapping his brush against his lip. I’ll borrow a little curl from her grandfather, a touch of auburn from her great-great-grandmother, a cowlick from her mother . . . oh, yes. Beautiful. On and on he paints—fingers, toes, crooked nose (because as any great artist knows, it’s the imperfections that make it perfect)—and when he is finished, he steps back, eyes shining. Even more beautiful than I imagined, he thinks. Oh, yes. This is good. She is very, very good. In the corner, he signs his name.

 

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

(Psalm 139:13–16)

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helping kids know God @lizzylit


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Author: Elizabeth Laing Thompson VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.

13 comments

Comments
  • Betty Jo Wallace August 3, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Absolutely beautiful…When God “painted you” he gave you a massive stroke of talent!!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson August 3, 2015 at 8:52 am

      Oh, what a kind thing to say, Betty Jo! Thank you! 🙂

  • Geri Laing August 3, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Absolutely beautiful. “Out of the mouth of babes…”

  • Ally Carter August 3, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I love this! it put a great big smile on my face!

  • andi August 3, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    when a kid knows about God and His creation better than we do…

  • Jeanie Shaw August 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I love the way you capture these magical moments and share them with us via your beautiful and poetic writing.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson August 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Thanks, Jeanie! It was such a magical moment, one I’ll always remember.

  • Faith J. August 28, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Hi there, just found your site from Disciples Today. I have a 3 year old who, while driving last Sunday, told us “God made the mall” as we were going by it. It is delightful to hear kids speak of God, un prompted.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson August 28, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Hi, Faith! Oh, that is so adorable! As a girl who likes to shop myself, I definitely agree: God made the mall! Ha! 😉

  • Jonathan October 1, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Your daughter’s story reminds me of the wonder children get to experience each day. It reminds me to look at the world–at them, at myself, at all of us–with the same wonder and joy that our great Painter wielded when He lovingly and fearfully painted us into existence!

    A few weeks ago, we waited on the front porch, knowing the recipe for a rainbow was stirring: sunshine and rain showers. When the rainbow didn’t come, I stepped inside, pudgy youngest in my arms, 4 year-old trailing behind. For some reason I turned around and stepped out the door for one last check before dinner–what did we see but a rainbow! My 15 month-old daughter was delighted, pointing and smiling, gasping and gibbering. My 4 year-old daughter was delighted too. It wasn’t her first rainbow, but she is now old enough to have forgotten the rainbows she was too young to remember…To her, it was her first.

    A few moments later, I looked further down our street…A second rainbow! A chance to tell my oldest again about Noah and the ark, how God made the rainbow to remind him–and us–of the covenant He had made with all life.

    I tried to soak up the moment as the rainbows faded into growing sunlight, even as the day, having finally shed its rain clouds, began to fade into evening.

    As twilight rainbows are fleeting, I sometimes feel a tinge of sadness that my oldest can’t recall so many precious memories from when she was even younger (like her very first rainbow), and that my toddler won’t remember moments like the one I just described. But seeing my oldest see a rainbow for the first time a second time–and sharing that experience with her little sister–taught me that we get to experience God’s wonderful paintings for the first time multiple times…when we are toddlers too young to remember, again when we grew a little older, again through the wonder in our first baby’s eyes the first time they see a rainbow, or snowfall, or sunrise, or firefly…yet again when that baby becomes a little kid, newly aware of the world…And this beautiful, magical cycle repeats for each new child…and grandchild…that comes along!

    Ours is a god of magic and wonder…Thank you for reminding me!

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson October 2, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      I love this so much, Jonathan. Thanks for sharing it so eloquently. I love the thought that we get to experience God’s glory for the first time multiple times. I’m so thankful that, through my kids, I get to have a “first time” all over again. This is one of the many reasons I think we are called to become like little children, who see the world with such wonder and joy.

  • Morrison Owade October 8, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    This is an awesome insight. Very encouraging.

    • Elizabeth Laing Thompson October 8, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      I never expected such insight from such a young one! 🙂

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