“ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 NIV
A couple of years after our family moved to Camp JIM, our oldest 4 children and I were rear ended in the only major intersection in the cities of Brainerd/Baxter. I’ve witnessed so many identical accidents in that intersection in the following years, I have learned to watch my rear view mirror when preparing to make a right hand turn at that light.
The accident didn’t seem terrible at the time, but for the following couple of years I required chiropractic and myofascial release therapy to address pain and reverse the tingling numbness that crept up my face and down my neck. The kids also saw the chiropractor for a time.
Our barely 3 year old harbored an intense dislike for chiropractic care. When we walked in the door to the exam room, she would reach out and dig her little fingers around the door frame, hold on with all her might, and scream at the top of her lungs. It was not fun.
One day, while preparing to leave for an appointment, I began the ritual of buckling my 36 month old doll into her car seat. At her tender age, she had a very firm grasp on the English language! “Mommy, I DON’T WANT to go to the chiropractor!” she protested.
Weary, I sighed. “I don’t want to go to the chiropractor either, Lilly,” I explained, slowly, “but, God wants us to take care of our bodies, and right now going to the chiropractor is what we need to do in order to take care of ourselves. “
I shut the sliding van door and walked around to the drivers side. Inside, the van was very quiet. As I put my own seat belt on, a small voice in the back seat posed this question: “You mean, God WANTS me to go to the chiropractor?”
Looking back in the rear view mirror, I took a deep breath, choosing my words with care. “Yes, Lilly. Going to the chiropractor is what we need to do to take care of our bodies right now, so God wants us to go to the chiropractor.”
She was silent all the way across town. I didn’t hear another protest; God was working in my daughter’s heart. When it was our turn to enter the examination room, I didn’t carry Lilly in. Instead, she walked into the room herself, and marching past the rest of us, she took her turn first. She climbed up on the table herself. The chiropractor stood agape, looking at me in astonishment.
That day I had the honor of explaining to our chiropractor that the change we witnessed was the proof that a small child loved God. It mattered a great deal to my strong-willed daughter that she please Him, even when she didn’t care about pleasing anyone else. She wouldn’t do it for her own good, and she wouldn’t do it for me, but she would do it for God.
It was less than a year later that was I traversing traffic to get to urgent care for an x-ray of what I thought may be a broken foot, and Lilly’s small voice called to me from the back of the mini-van once again. She had been asking questions, and mulling over what it meant to be a Christian for several weeks. “Mommy, I need your help to pray right now,” she insisted. “I want to be a Christian. I need you to pull over and help me, now.”
We compromised. She agreed to wait for me to get to the clinic parking lot, and then she came forward to sit on my lap and we prayed. She has never looked back.
The fruit of her commitment to a relationship with God was strikingly evident. Almost overnight, the child who used to bolt and run in stores, tantrum wherever, and was full of sass turned into an easy, conscientious child who exhibited an uncanny measure of self-control and is a hard worker. Choices that had previously been driven by self-will were replaced by choices directed by God’s will. That is what happens when God removes our hard hearts and gives us His heart.
That is the heart I want: one that is transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit.
I want a heart that loves God above all else, and isn’t swayed by the opinions of men, but is always responsive to the desires of my heavenly Father.
I want a mind that conforms to the mind of Christ, and bases all decisions upon His leading.
I want a strength of will that abandons all else to serve the Savior, unrelentingly.
God, give me faith like a child. Yes, I want a heart like that.
“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-5 NIV
What are your goals for the new year? How are you asking God to work in your life?