Light pouring in from the window this morning provided a great example to attempt answering some questions Ava had.
Occasionally (probably more than that) we give quick answers that fall way short in explaining something on a level kids can understand.
Ava might smile and nod but then she wakes up with more questions, like she did this morning.
So here’s the plot: Last night after a long awesome day at Six Flags, we were talking about the friend we brought with us, Anna Grace, and how our friends will influence us in good and bad ways, and how we need to choose those friends wisely. Some friends might be more like role models for us to look up to with our ultimate (most important) desire to be like Jesus!
So we used her friend Anna Grace (who at 13 yrs old modeled incredible behavior at Six Flags yesterday) as a strong example of someone to look up to and how to behave, which we learned this morning can be confusing for an 8yr old.
She translated this to mean she should be like Anna Grace and maybe not be herself. As if she wasn’t enough and we wanted her to be different or we didn’t like who she was, which she revealed to me with eyes full of tears.
Broke my heart to smithereens.
I quickly said, “Oh Ava, no way sweetheart, there is only one you and we LOVE who you are. We wouldn’t change you for the world.”
I continued, “Acting like someone and looking up to someone, as a way to behave, are 2 different things. When you see Jesus reflected in someone, that’s a good person to be friends with and look up to, because they will influence you and ultimately you want to be like Jesus!”
Understanding this at an early age is HUGE but difficult to communicate. How the people or things we let influence us will be reflected in our lives one way or another etc.
So while I was fumbling through explaining this, the light was dancing off our feet… and the idea came to me… Or God just knew I was needing help!
I began moving my feet in and out of the light.
When my foot is in the light, it is reflecting light and when it’s in the shadows, it is covered in darkness.
God desires us to be children of light and have relationships that encourage us to be in the light as well.
As this started sinking in she asked who I looked up to, so I listed several people like our pastor Andy Stanley, my dad, Steven Curtis Chapman and a few others, also giving her examples of friends I have chosen to be good influences on me even as an adult.
“Mommy doesn’t want me to ‘Be’ these people, but loves when I have good men in my life influencing me, to help me grow as a husband and father and follower of Jesus.”
“That’s what we meant when we were using Anna Grace as an example and as someone we were very impressed with… We clearly see Jesus in her, and that’s a great thing! She is a great friend to have and to look up to!”
her facial expressions revealed she was understanding and growing in that very moment.
We told her to expect us to be pointing out people like this for many years to come, because the people we are friends with WILL influence you and as a result WILL leave something with you… And we want it to be as light-filled as possible.
So we took that picture above, smiled and went on with our day.
And now as I reflect, at the end of the day, this was an unplanned moment, but so grateful we had it, 1 talk out of 10,000 I’m sure I’ll get to have. And I’m pretty sure I learned more in explaining it than she did.
Here’s some scripture I used to unpack it with, as truth from God’s word not just her dad’s opinion 🙂
“Do everything without complaining and arguing… shining like bright lights in a world of darkness”
“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all…. And if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other”
(1 John 1:5-7)
“If we walk with the wise, we will grow wise; but a companion of fools will suffer harm”
To wrap up, I quoted the once popular DC Talk song, which says it best I think:
I wanna be in the light,
as you are in the light.
I wanna shine like the stars in the Heavens.
Oh, Lord be my light
and be my Salvation
’cause all I want is to be in the light.