Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Need Answers? Just ask a four-year-old

"Is God an old man?" my little daughter—then four—asked on the way home from church one Sunday. I repeated the question, stalling for time. "The Bible says that God is a spirit," I told her. "He is not young or old."

He is to her.

"Is him six or twelve" she asked emphatically, as if He has to be one or the other.


At four, Anna Marie was packed with questions—and answers. The experts told me it had everything to do with her age. One minute she appeared to know nothing, only to know it all the next. Often, her questions came in waves: "How do you make Frosted Flakes?" "Does Sam (her goldfish) have ears?" "How far away is heaven?” "Is it right behind the sun?" "Why does the moon have eyes?"

There were times, at the end of a grueling day, when I complained. My computer was down, I told her. Off. Broke. No more questions, please.

But four was also the age of budding independence. No longer did she blindly accept my every word as truth. She had her own opinion of how things worked and was quick to make it known.

At the dinner table one evening, she suddenly remembered the Down’s syndrome girl we had seen at the library the day before. "Why that little girl not look like me?" she asked, puzzled, her round face appearing more precious—more perfect—than ever as I recalled images of the Down's syndrome child wearing a tight red shirt and short blue pants, drool spilling from her bottom lip.

"That little girl was born that way," I said. "Just because people look different doesn't make them—"

She interrupted. "Will her always look like that, Mommy?"

"Yes, baby. She will."

My answer greatly disturbed her. She finished her meal with a despondent face.

I sat quietly, thinking about this universal need for answers. From childhood, to adolescence, through the turbulent teens and into adulthood, our paths are dotted with questions. We are compelled to seek answers.

Often I listen as friends vow to carry a list of questions with them all the way to heaven's gate: Why did my mother die so young? Why did my children abandon me? Why did my husband divorce me? Why was my child born with mental challenges?

Having the answers to such questions seems to usher them onward, toward the day they can finally ask why. "God, WHY?” My philosophy has always been that some questions simply have no earthly answers. At least none that satisfy.


Later that evening, after my daughter crawled into bed, I knelt down beside her and we prayed our goodnight prayers. After she named all of the people in her circle of family and friends, she then prayed for the little girl at the library, her tone becoming suddenly urgent.

As I tucked her under the covers, she touched my face. "Mommy, that little girl …” She searched for the right words.

I nodded. Yes, I knew the one.

Propping herself up on one elbow, she said, “Her won't always look like that, Mommy." This she said firmly, as if there was no room for a single doubt.

I kissed her forehead, letting my lips linger.

"Not in heaven, Mommy. Her won’t look like that in heaven," she said, her voice certain, solid as steel.

It was no longer a question. My inquisitive four-year old had discovered the answer for herself, without any prompting from me.


“There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)



Adapted from the book, Whispers From Heaven, by Dayle Shockley. All rights reserved.


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18 comments:

  1. such wisdom from your precious daughter

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    1. My sweet daughter was the inspiration for my first book, and much of my second one, as well. I learned a lot, just being her mother.

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  2. I'm so glad you remembered or wrote down these precious thoughts and words.
    What an incredible little girl, who has grown up with a child of her own, who will someday have curious questions of her own. What a gift!

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    1. I used to write down so many of my experiences as a mother. Eventually, it turned into my first book and I'm so glad I have these memories in print. Maybe one day Arabella will enjoy reading about her mommy.

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  3. I've always loved this story about your sweet kid and my sweet niece. She was always such an intuitive little girl, wise beyond her years in spiritual things. XOXO

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    1. Thank you, Aunt Gayle, for taking these precious, heart-melting photos of my baby girl.

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  4. Beautiful! And what precious pictures, too.

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    1. Thank you, Deborah. My twin sister captured these images many years ago. I've always loved them. They seem to show the innocence of children.

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  5. Some of my favorite posts of yours are from the perspective of a child. This one is precious.

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    1. Thank you, Renee. Children are such treasures, aren't they?

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  6. I LOVED this post and it moved me to tears for some reason. How I love the sweet innocent of a little child, and the wisdom that is theirs sometimes. When we were in New Mexico recently visiting my daughter and her babies, the oldest one, four year old Sam, was showing me a LARGE jar he was busy using to save change in. He had it pretty full. Through the course of the few days we were there I occasionally gave him some change when he was being especially helpful or obedient and told him to put it into his jar. On the last day I finally thought to ask him, what he was saving for...expecting to hear of some sought after or wanted toy. He looked me right in the eye and as sincere as he could be he said I want to help people with it grandma. Some boys don't have many toys like I do. I could barely contain myself it was so sweet. I asked my daughter if she knew what he was saving for and she said no they had never discussed it. When she heard what he had said she was quickly in tears too and said how can he have such a heart and such a desire when he is as young as he is. But then she remembered they had gone to a friend from his schools house a while back and the little boy was one of 7 children and really had not much at all to play with. Sam I guess was REALLY bothered by that at the time. He had NO toys mom. Why? How is that fair? And she had told him, not every boy is as blessed as you are Sam. Sometimes little boys don't have much. She thought he had dropped it, but apparently not. I love LOVE that their little hearts are so tender and wise. Sorry for the long comment, lol. Enjoyed this post! Such sweet pics!

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    1. What a very special child, Debbie, already thinking of others. I've always believed the world would be a much better place if we listened to children more. They are fresh from heaven.

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  7. Leaving here with a bit of a sniffle and I loved reading about Sam, too.

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  8. Oh my gosh, what a precious story...and a little child shall lead them...

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  9. What an absolutely beautiful excerpt from your book, Dayle - I just love this!

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  10. Aww...how sweet! She is a beautiful little girl! God bless you and your family. ;)

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  11. Oh, this is wonderful! Such a great way to weave together a child's questions with our own. I'm going to go back and read it again.

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  12. Precious. She knew! Awesome!

    Wishing you a beautiful weekend ahead...
    Brenda


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Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle