Stress

Stress

My mind

mumbles, mutt’ring and moaning

about mult’ple matters; I must

summon up my memory, or bungle my exams

and my moola will be awash, meand’ring toward, almost confirm’d,

Flume of Doom; my meager, small mind

clouds up, impotent to muse

upon my imm’nent demise; it

 came like a mighty tempest,

o’erwhelming me in an academic tsunami; my mission has become scarr’d and marr’d

once my mind mashes itself into a little more than simple and very useless mush.

Egad!

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The Rose

The Rose

I’ve always loved roses, ever since I was a kid. Maybe it’s because they’re so elegant, so exquisite. Maybe it’s because “Rose” is my middle name. Or maybe it’s because they belie a secret strength.

I’ve never actually possessed a real, live rose before in my entire life, so after I recently inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta (the International English Honors Society), I was honored to receive a rose. It was so beautifully stunning in every way.

The problem was, as I soon realized upon the return to my dorm, I had no idea where I was going to put my little beauty. No vase, nothing for a beautiful, long-stemmed, thornless crimson rose. Disappointed, I propped it up inside the cardboard tube of my paper towel roll, just so I’d have SOME place to display it. By morning, it started to droop considerably. Now, I’m no flower expert (that award would go to my mother, who runs our Church’s Perennial Sale), but I knew all flowers needed at least water and natural light. So I did the desperado thing.

I took a water bottle out from my mini fridge, uncapped it, and basically used it as a vase.

I set the “vased” rose on my windowsill behind my desk, where it would receive the most natural light; however, it was a very gloomy day out, and I wondered if my poor, sweet little rose would ever look as beautiful or as perky as it originally did.

By halfway through the day, the leaves were less droopy. The flower’s head was no longer drooped, but cocked at a right degree angle. It looked odd, but it was perking up. (as those who are following my Instagram can attest. LOL)

By the end of the day, I was astounded. The leaves were all perked up completed, as if they’d never wilted, and the rose head was almost completely straight.

Just a little miracle… all thanks to water and natural light.

All this made me think of my own spiritual walk with God, and how spiritually dry, spiritually depleted I’d felt lately. And then I realized part of my problem.

If you deplete a flower of water, of nutrients, naturally, it’s going to to wilt and eventually die off. It’s the same with faith; you need to feed it Spiritual Water (i.e., God’s Word, spending time with Him) to help nourish your faith… because without it, it’ll wilt. I noticed the less time I spent with God and His Word, the more my faith suffered. The more unhealthy doubts started to creep in.

That’s where the sunlight, the natural light, comes in.

See, even though it was a very gloomy, very dreary, VERY rainy day out, the sun’s natural light still shown through the gray clouds, regenerating the flower. The flower head literally lifted itself up to gaze upon the sun, its benefactor.  Now THAT’S something.

That makes me think of life in general. Sometimes, it seems so gloomy, so despairing, so depressing and stressful, that it seems like God’s not even there. But He is. He and his literal SON are shining brightly through the gray, clouded skies, ready, willing and able to help you lift up your faith and take it to newer, better heights. All we need to do is look upwards.

So learn from the rose. Lift your head up to the skies. And let God nourish and replenish your faith.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills– From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2, NKJV

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1, NIV

 

College– Round Two, a Review

Hey guys! I know, I know, it’s been quite a while since I last hit ya up with anything, and I apologize– been stressful, putting up with studying for finals, presentations, Humanities outlines, papers, and so on… Many of you high schoolers have it easy! (LOL– take my word for it!)

Anyways, for those not in the know, I’m wrapping up my sophomore year at a small Christian college, but previously completed my freshman year at my local secular community college, to get most of my gen eds knocked off faster and cheaper (though, in hindsight, I wish I’d take MORE classes there, for credit reasons…). I transferred because I wanted a better education in a Christ-centered environment– not that I didn’t get the occasional possible Christian professor at the community college, but in all honesty, it felt too much like a public school, and I really wanted to build both my education AND my faith. I visited a good many Christian colleges, before settling on two, which for privacy purposes I won’t name. One offered just about everything: lots of activities, multiple majors, an on-campus movie theater, great educators, great facilities and study abroad programs, BUT… it lacked one thing. I felt, despite its older reputation, that it was seriously faltering in the faith department. And above ALL else, my two top criteria for picking a GOOD Christian school were:

  1. To grow academically, and
  2. To grow spiritually.

Number 1 certainly promised the first, but I felt, in all sincerity, it didn’t live up to the second, something that sorely disappointed me. I ended up going with the second school, only to discover that they too had an alright study abroad program system called CrossRoads. So, satisfied, I signed up.

The first semester as a sophomore at my selected college was a little rough, namely because, well, as I’ve said, one of my goals was to GROW academically. But the teachers not only helped me reach greater potentials, they also supported and encouraged me, not by babying, but by helpful constructive criticism. They integrated their faith into their curriculum pretty thoroughly, which I loved. I actually found myself calling out to God more my first semester, because I needed help in getting through all the business and stress (was doing 16 creds, plus three work shifts on the weekends at our school cafeteria as a dishwasher/pots washer… not a fun job, but hey, it’s a job.), this helped a good bit in my faith’s growth. And the job also forced me to be better at time-budgeting.

Since coming here, along with one of my kids brothers (who is one year my junior– a freshman), we did some Church shopping until we found a sister Church we really liked. What made it seem more at home was that the Pastor, Pastor Dennis, knew my home Pastor, and was incredibly warm and welcoming to us. I love how passionately and wonderfully he preaches, he even often starts out with a joke or two (not to mention props!); he is NOT the type of Pastor to make you fall asleep on a Sunday morning service! I genuinely love how the service incorporates both the older styles of worship (i.e., hand-shaking, hymns) with newer styles (contemporary Christian music, praise band); being used to only hymns at my home Church (but loving K-LOVE and Air1 radio stations), this was a dream come true for me. Literally, after the first time coming, Pastor Dennis was kind enough to give us the grand tour, and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day. It’s that great.

Second semester’s (spring semester) been a little rougher, namely due to personal probs, emotional and spiritual struggles, combined with lots of homework and prepping for finals (although, I will say, it could be much, much worse.). I still work at the cafeteria, but only one shift (got smart and realized that way I’d still be making a bit of money BUT could hang out with friends more and do more homework.). I’ve continued going to counseling to help sort some emotional and spiritual things out and help me to leave some things in my freshman year, things I’m not necessarily proud of, in the past. The counseling has even helped with me in body image and self-esteem.

Throughout my adventures at my “quaint” little Christian colleges, I’ve met and befriended several very wonderful people (who, also for privacy purposes, I will leave their last names out), most who I will list here but there are also quite a few good acquaintances of mine (the ones I don’t see as often), you know who you are ( 😉 ). I thank God for each and every one of them; they’re all blessings in my life. One thing I love about this college is, no matter what your denomination, at the end of the day we’re all just good Christian friends (I’m friends with people who’re RP, Lutheran, Calvinist, Catholic…..):

Hannah: I freaking love this girl; she’s a pure gem. Upbeat, sassy, and extroverted, Hannah even has her own table at our cafeteria (or it seems that way, at least); everyone seems to flock to her, and it gets crowded pretty quick. Has a “mild” obsession with “Pride and Prejudice”. Is an English Education Major.

Chelsea: The happy-go-lucky sweetheart hugger of our little group. Feeling down and need platonic cuddles and a rom com? Chelsea’s game! (with friends, at least.)She is a fellow Writing Major friend of mine, and is seriously such a dear girl. She and Hannah are partners in crime. 😉

Mary: (I almost put her last name, since I’ve a best friend by the same name back home, but anywhooooo) Small but mighty, this young woman is not to be underestimated. Armed with powers and mad skills of quirkiness,some sweetness, lovability, and writing, she is not to be trifled with. She often mishears things said in our group convos, usually with funny outcomes (we love you, Mary), and is going to Scotland in a specialty study abroad program with a mutual friend, Louisa, next semester.

Louisa: Louisa hails from a homeschooling farm family (YES– another former homeschooler), and is a Communications Major, with a concentration in Writing (she writes. Like me. A lot.). If I could list one special skill of hears, it would be that she is the Queen of Accents. She can expertly imitate any accent after hearing it for a long period of time (I can’t WAIT to hear what she’ll sound like after coming back from Scotland!). Like Abbey, she is very good at Spanish, although I think that having a sister in Columbia and being the Queen of Accents also helped with that. 😉 She is a lovely young woman and is usually one of the mediators when things get a bit heated between friends.

Macy: One of my good commuter friends, who is a straight-A student and an English Education Major. She is a sophomore, just like me; we met in ENG 112, but actually became good friends through occasional walks for our Aerobics class. She is a MAJOR bookworm (has two bedrooms in her house for her, one’s basically her library– I’ll put it that way), and we’d often fangirl together. Recently, I got her re-addicted to Pokemon, as well. 🙂 I would describe her as being studious but fun-loving, sweet and generous, usually hardworking, and very bright.

Abbey: If I could sum up this girl in a few words, it’d be “the optimistic go-getter”. No joke, usually she’s very cheerful; it’s fairly uncommon to see her without a sunny smile on her face. She is literally one of those people that if you ask her how she is, instead of getting the stereotypical, “fine,” you’d get a, “I’m fantastic! How are you?!” Whenever I’d get down on myself about something, no matter what it was, Abbey would help me to put it all in perspective. Her hobby is photography, and she has her own little logo and everything. She is also super good at Spanish (you should see all the Spanish notes she brought here with her, along from high school!), and is currently an Elementary Education Major with a double Minor in both Spanish and Hebrew. Gotta love this girl.

Rebecca: She may not seem like much at first glance, but don’t let that quiet, pretty, unassuming face fool you– she’s actually quite adventurous. She is always up for new risks and fun challenges, and often encourages others to do the same. She is an English Literature Major.

Jarrett: Jarrett is a fellow transfer student… from Malaysia (seriously, how cool is that?!). Foreign cultures have always fascinated me, so naturally I asked all about it. He is normally pretty introverted, but get him onto a topic he knows well, and he’s on a roll! (although, I’ll admit I’m the same) He fit in pretty easily here, and if you didn’t know any better you’d say he was American by birth. 🙂 He’s a wonderful brother in Christ, a good-humored History Major, with either a Minor or double Major in Teaching English as a Second Language. He plans to go back as a History teacher and teach in Malaysia, which I think is awesome.

Hunter: Hunter is another good guy friend of mine; our friendship is living proof that those in the liberal arts departments and those in the Engineering departments can get along great. He’s also quite good natured, caring, quick-witted, a bit on the mischievous side, and is also a Pokemon fan and fellow gamer.

Some awesome teachers that have made it into the Friend Area:

Dr. Mrs. Shidemantle: My awesome Espanol Profesora. She always prays in Spanish before class, and often gives additional aid to those who’re struggling. Lovely woman, muy inteligente.

Dr. Watt: Great Bible professor, generous, kind, and smart as a whip. Love his quick-witted sense of humor, his outlook on life, his caring attitude towards all his students (especially during/before finals, when we’re about to go home for break, etc…. he always tells us to be careful, drive safely, get plenty of rest, etc.). He has given me spiritual guidance and reassurance several times throughout the semester, took my friend Mary and I to see “Risen” this past February (and insisted on paying for all our tickets…!), AND he ALSO KNEW MY HOME PASTOR BACK IN PRE-SEMINARY!!! 😀

Dr. Szabo: Love her as a teacher, friend, and fellow believer. Lovely lady, also, very bright, knows her stuff. Very generous too; invited us over for a feast at her place after the semester was over (even the science majors in her class came..!!).She teaches English, her specialty being Women’s Literature and American Lit, and even though she’s a tough grader, I wouldn’t have traded her for the world. She pushes you just enough, so that if you’re smart you’ll go and seek out help (which was a humbling experience in and of itself for me), and is the type of teacher who gets really genuinely excited about what she’s teaching– in such a way that it rubs off on you (hey, excitement’s contagious!). Let me put it this way– I’ve never been much into poetry until I took ENG 112 with her!

Dr. Williams: Love, love, love this guy. When you first meet him, his appearance alone almost tells all: Star Wars/ English nerd tee (he’s a Writing Professor. And my adviser.), black pants, brown professor’s jacket, crocs, and a floppy black hat, accompanied sometimes by a black backpack, as opposed to a briefcase. He is DEFINITELY an unorthodox professor, and we all love him DEARLY for it!! 🙂 He is the rare type of professor who scans through the syllabus, half the time doesn’t give a crap what it says and goes at his own pace when it comes to assignments and readings, which is often quite nice. But I really like his teaching style– laid back, funny, attention-grabbing, but still pushes you to do your best and gets you to think. On another note, he is also responsible for our special Reading Series (called the GRS– YouTube it to see him in action). He is like a big kid, a wonderful big kid, playful, sharp, and witty. And a fellow Star Wars nut. (“Lightsabers are always welcome in class!”– Dr. Dan Williams, as I showed off my purple lightsaber to him fall semester. He handles it gently, with elated expression.)

Another note before I close out: It was Dr. Williams who encouraged me to start on my blogging adventure. I’ve always wanted to, but as said in my very first post, never knew how.

Thank you, professors, for all making a powerful impact on my life.

Thank you, dear friends, for being there for me. I love you all dearly.

Thank You, most of all, Lord, for being there for me. So many times I’ve wanted to throw in that towel, wave that white flag, but You… You gave me strength and comfort. Thank You so much for the promise of Hebrews 11:1, which is my current faith-builder.

(And, as always, a big shout-out to my readers. You guys are awesome, too!! 🙂 )

 

Failure Does Not Equate a Failure

Failure Does Not Equate a Failure

Don’t you love it when everything in life runs smoother than a nut? When you’re feeling accomplished, on top of your game, have everything in your life just about sorted out, and are ready to finally to kick back and relax from all the stress life can also offer?

Well, what about the times you’re down on yourself– so much that some days you want to scream and cry in frustration, throw in the towel? The days you might even feel like a, well, failure?

Lately, I’ve been right at the latter. I felt like a failure in so many areas: academically (I missed passing my Math placement test by only 2 points, both times; I fell short of an “A” in my old ENG 102 class because of an online mistake that put my grade off an A by literally .6%; the amount of credits I had to register as a Junior in college were 3 short to actually consider me a legit Junior, etc.), socially (confession time: I’m an Aspie. And while I’ve had TONS of social and physical therapy as a kid, I’m still pretty socially awkward at times, and am down on myself about that. A lot.), and even genetically (I’ve always wanted to help others by donating my blood, my blood type being the universal donor type, but tragically I was born with a serious cortisol deficiency, which means essentially I need to be on meds, no matter what. Cruel irony.). I just exploded in tears the other evening when realizing I’d have to take more credits the next several years to help compensate some for my lack of academic awareness I displayed during my ditzy Freshman year at community college. But through it all, I sensed something. A little sermon the Spirit of God had subtly slipped inside my life, once again:

Failure does NOT make you a failure.

It happens to make you human. We ALL fall short sometimes. We ALL have those extreme off days where you just wanna face-desk yourself repeatedly until your skull cracks open like a coconut or something. We are not defined by our deeds; only the world judges like that. God judges by our hearts, by our faith. By who we are in Jesus Christ.

God did not create you to let you show off how great you are to the world. No, just the opposite.

He created you to show His glory, grace, love, and majesty THROUGH YOU, and, if you ask me, that’s probably the coolest assignment I’ve ever heard. Think about it– God, the Supreme Creator, Ultimate Authority, Author of the Universe considers YOU both worth of dying for AND worthy of being His Image-Bearer (His Representative, in a sense 🙂 ) on this feeble little dustball that isn’t even our official home. As my one good friend would say…. not gonna lie, that’s REMARKABLE.

So you see, a few trip-ups now and then do NOT define you. Not if it’s sin, not if it’s just a general slip-up. You let God do the defining. All He asks in return is that you give your all for Him.

“… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” Romans 3:23-24, NKJV

“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation.” Col. 1:15, NKJV

 

Divergent

Divergent

Bravery. Kindness. Intelligence. Honesty. Selflessness.

These are the elements that make up the factions, or sections, of post-Chicago in now-famous Veronica Roth’s Divergent series. Everyone is supposed to fit into a neat little category; they can only be one of the listed above traits. Any more than that, and, in the first book, you’re considered abnormal. A fish swimming against the current of “normalcy”. A threat, even.

You’re considered Divergent.

While I think the series in some senses is a bit over-hyped (especially Dauntless, with only a little attention given to the other, “lesser” factions), I think Ms. Roth was right about some things. She was right about, for instance, “normal” people being terrified of what they don’t understand, the extraordinary. As a Christian, I find this both comforting and disturbing, simultaneously. People don’t like what they don’t get, so they try to cover it up, or worse, eliminate it, as we see the ever-cunning yet ever twisted Jeanine Matthews doing in the first book. It makes her squirm that she has no control whatsoever over the Divergents, so after trying to dissect the main character, Tris the Divergent (to figure out how she ticks), she promptly attempts to dispose of her. It reminds me of how this world has very little, if any, control over us as believers in Christ. As Christians, though we are indeed called to at least peacefully live with others while IN the world, we are certainly not called to be OF the world, or LIKE the world, and guess what? It utterly terrifies people. It terrifies them that they can’t control what God’s doing through us, through circumstance, through EVERYTHING. They may not say it. They may rather confess to being more puzzled or even annoyed/angry with us, rather than terrified. But deep, deep down there’s that part that’s scared. That wonders if God’s right, if Jesus is right.

What might be scarier still is that Jesus is pure, 100% Divergent. They couldn’t control Him back then (The authorities tried and failed. Miserably. Trust me on that.), and they certainly can’t control Him and His Spirit now. And, if you really, truly think on it, His personality flawlessly fits all the faction’s silly little categories (whereas Tris only fits into three):

Jesus is remarkably intelligent and wise– Erudite. This is confirmed from even as a child, asking the teachers of the law hard questions and testing their knowledge. He was able to answer the most important questions in the most meaningful fashion, and evaded the Pharisees’ political and religious trap questions numerous times.

Jesus is deeply, deeply compassionate. He didn’t say a peep when  He felt an argument was unnecessary, didn’t fight back when He was near whipped to death. He saw the faces of God’s people, of the people He made, and LOVED them. He genuinely felt sorry they were stuck in their miserable rut of sin, and extended an invitation of help, love, and support (not supporting the sin, mind, supporting them in resisting sin, recanting sin and in turning to Him.). He loved them enough to DIE for them. That’s what I call ultimate Love– and kindness and love is what Amity is all about.

Jesus is incredibly brave. It takes serious, SERIOUS guts to go against the crowd, to get the governor and all the leading religious leaders in a knot, to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and Himself at the Head of the said Kingdom, to go before the kangaroo court and take beatings without caving. In His day, many would have thought Him a “radical” (quote on quote); in fact, His own family was initially embarrassed of His actions. Guess what? He didn’t care. He knew the end result would be worth it, no matter the cost. (note: Dauntless are also considered “reckless” and “radical” by other factions, just sayin.)

Jesus IS The Truth. When it comes to Candor the Honest Faction, Jesus would be considered top-notch.

Jesus is perfectly selfless in every single way. He came to serve, not to be served, as illustrated at the Last Supper, performing a servant’s job of washing the disciples stinky, sweaty, smelly feet. He’s all about God and all about others, helping others, and helping others reconnect with God, which is a beautiful, wonderful thing. Lastly, He VERY selflessly sacrificed Himself for us on that cross, when it was really us that should have been up there, dying that death. Jesus is the Ultimate Abnegation.

So what does all this mean for us as believers and devoted followers of Christ?

It means He’s called us to be very, very different from this world. Set apart. In, but not of. Brave, intelligent, honest, and most of all, loving selflessly. Divergent.

Holy. Just as God is holy.

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him,  and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God.” John 1:10-13

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine so before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

 

 

Inner Kid

Inner Kid

I love my little second cousin. For more than just the obvious reasons: being adorable, blood-related, etc.

I love her also because she brings out the kid in me. She’s at the rare stage, especially in this technology-obsessed world, where for the most part she hasn’t really caught up on tech, which is great. It means she can truly fulfill her duty of being a true kid– to learn, play, and explore without any technological inference. We laugh and have a great time together, play hide-and-go-seek, explore, run around, pick flowers, play tag in my grandma’s backyard. All without technology. Back in my day (yes, that cliche expression was going to pop up sooner or later in this article), kids didn’t sit on tablets. They weren’t pecking away at their dumbphones (sorry to all smartphone owners out there– myself included) like the way a glassy-eyed chicken pecks at a small granule of corn. Heck, half the time they weren’t even glued to the tube. The most tech I had growing up was my Gameboy, my DS, and my old-fashioned MP3 player; that was it. Other than that, I explored. I played, in my own, strange little sense. I read, wrote, daydreamed up terrific stories in my little kid brain that I never, ever shared with anyone but God (because seriously… who else is a natural at mind-reading in the real world??); in fact, when walking around the playground cooking up fabulous stories and concoctions in my noggin, kids would sometimes call out to me, asking what I was doing, or what I daydreamed about, I always responded, “It’s a secret.” (Although, granted, someday… those secrets may or may not yet be unleashed… at least, a little bit. 😉 ) I also crafted when bored, a habit long instilled into me as a child thanks to two certain, highly creative babysitters; this formed within me the desire to MAKE things. I loved Woodshop, love cooking, love sewing (although I don’t get the chance to do it often) because of that. And that is why childhood should be so important to us, even as adults.

For one thing, when you interact with kids, whether you actually have kids, teach kids, or are just around them from time to time, DON’T– I repeat, DON’T– force them to grow up fast, ESPECIALLY the little ones. They already sprout like young trees, life is short as it ’tis, and it’s 100% true what they say– you’re only a kid once. So why try to cruelly snatch that away from them? They can still learn some important things, sure, but remember, they obviously don’t get EVERYTHING. And playtime, crafttime, and zone-out (daydreaming) time is really, really important, too. Treat them as important, but don’t treat them as adults. It breaks my heart to see school systems starting to do this already (treating them as though they’re older children, at the least) to kids (another reason that I will be homeschooling my future kids), not to mention the fact of kindergartners, 1st graders, and so on talking about who-likes-who already, when they should really be at the stage of learning, playing, growing, and developing friendships with their peers. Childhood is something that ought to be deeply cherished, not tossed out the window in such a rash manner.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should all be like Peter Pan and literally never grow up. I know that some fully grown adults still live in their parents’ basement, and whine and fuss and act like they’re never gonna get any older emotionally or mentally (which is definitely not a good thing.). There are perks to being mature (well, sometimes.). BUT kids could all teach us a thing or two about life.

We adults sometimes have that whiny, bratty impatient little side of us that never grows up, that often comes out when we’re having a bad day, or if one’s in NYC and experiencing road rage (definitely then.). But not all kids are like that, and at times I think they’re even more patient than we are. During my Easter break, my little second cousin was watching me anxiously from the mouth of my grandmother’s garage, where I and my relatives were ooing and ahhing over a in-great-condition older car that grandma and dad had hung onto for a while and were heavily considering selling, dancing around antsily. I could tell she really wanted me to play with her, but to my surprise, when I came over to her, she asked if, when I was done looking, could I play with her? I responded with a gentle yes, and her reaction astounded me. Not only did she have the politeness and patience to wait until we were done looking (antsy as she was), she patiently waited until I also got my jacket on and finished talking to my fellow adults– not at all an easy feat for a four-year-old, but her politeness and patience would’ve definitely put all those whiny, impatient road-ragers to pure shame. We spent the rest of the evening just playing, running about and even exploring a little– just having a grand old time together. I even told her about about how my grandma’s yard used to look back when was her age, to her interest (yes, you can get kids that little interested in that sort of thing, as long as you keep it all in fairly simplified terms.).

My little second cousin’s personality and behavior, especially then, reminds me oh-so-clearly of the behavior and humility that Jesus Himself calls us to possess: to be like a little child. Trusting, but not too naive. Ever faithful. Sweet-tempered, joyful in all we do. Just loving others, without all the little, but many, complicated bits thrown in. Kids don’t care about complicated stuff, they just want to enjoy life, live it to the fullest, and, if they were raised to know Him, love Jesus. I think we all could learn this deeply valuable lesson from them.

One thing I recall quite clearly about my childhood, no matter which family member may tell you otherwise, was that the first thing I wanted to do upon meeting Jesus in person was to run up to Him and give Him a huge bear hug. Just because.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” Matthew 18:1-5