When Kids Know God Better than We Do
“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.
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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.