When my grandson, Arthur, was born, and because his older brother’s name is Henry, one of my very good friends when she heard the news, exclaimed, “How precious! Now you have two kings in your family, King Arthur and King Henry.” I hadn’t thought of that, but because I love the C.S. Lewis series, The Chronicles of Narnia, my brain went immediately to the first book where the most lovely and sweet proclamation was heralded over the main characters of the story as they were crowned kings and queens. “Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.” Thinking of my two grandsons, and my granddaughter, Lucy—also the name of the youngest girl in the story who becomes royalty—I asked my friend who made vinyl imprints items for fun if she could make t-shirts and a little dress with that quote from the book written on them.
When my daughter, the mother of Lucy, and my daughter-in-law, Henry and Arthur’s mom, got together recently, they did a photoshoot with their kiddos wearing their new duds. The results, so sweet—two pictures to be hung proudly on any wall—but it’s those other twenty-three proofs, those failed attempts to get all three looking at the camera at the same time, that are most dear to me. For it’s in these shots, the personalities of my grands are truly seen. And they are hilarious!
As I sat chuckling, actually downright laughing over the antics of Lucy, Henry, and Arthur, it hit me how their craziness, goofiness, and silliness made them all the more endearing. How they were just themselves, nothing held back (as you can see from the pics). How they felt free—they didn’t know how to act any different—to be who God created them to be.
Truth be told, we all start that way. Somewhere along the line though, living in this upside-down fallen world, we become less and less our true selves, often imprisoned by the self-inflicted need to be accepted. Trying to please the world, we let go of innocence doing what we know we shouldn’t do, betraying the child within. No longer trusting we are loved for who we are, we try on different faces, hoping that one will be the one that wins approval.
I know because I was that person. Even though I became a Christian just before my sixteenth birthday, it wasn’t until a few years ago I realized I was still living in that self-made bondage. Putting on one mask or another, looking for that loving acceptance in the faces of friends and even family, I almost lost sight of my true self. I was trying to fit into the mold of who I thought others wanted me to be. But the reality is, that the love we are looking for, that one true love, only comes from God. Some people in our lives come close to feeling like they are the end all, but that pure adulation we long for comes from heaven alone.
Jesus tells us to come to Him as little children. Not because we were innocent—we actually never were; before we were born we were infected with the sin already here—but because as little ones who haven’t yet been battered and beaten up by life, we are still able to trust. Asking those around them for help to do what they cannot, looking into the faces of those who care for them trusting that will happen, is why Jesus gives us that mandate. It is the perfect picture of how all of us should be with God. Believing Him, taking Him at His Word, trusting what He says, knowing He loves us just the way we are—so much so, He doesn’t want to leave us in the muck and mire of sin. He wants to lift us up and out of it. He wants to save us.
When that happens, we begin to experience His peace which passes all understanding. We come to know He is for us, not against us. Seeing He didn’t come to judge, but to save, His love for us extinguishes fear. We can bring everything to Him, our darkest sin, our deepest anxieties, our burdens and heartaches of the day-to-day. A miraculous transformation begins and like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, our hearts are unchained as we come to know what it is to be loved and to live truly free.
Would you like to know more about coming to Christ with child-like faith? Please feel free to email me here.
In His love,
Kimberly Bryant-Palmer is the author of the children’s chapter book Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. Watch the book trailer here.