Sometimes I forget that my almost-6-year-old is a kid. She has a very grown-up way of speaking. She throws a lot of “actually’s” and “as a matter of fact’s” out there. She hears expressions and wants to know what they mean and then promptly incorporates them into her everyday conversations about things like Barbies and princesses and, you know, hating meals, and stuff.
Mommy, actually, this American Girl doll catalogue is just killing me. But, it’s not actually killing me. You know, it’s the expression. Like, I’m not going to die because of American Girls. But it’s just an expression, Mommy. Do you think I can get a WellieWisher for Christm—no, probably not, right?
I mean, sometimes, she says cute things like that. But, most of the time, talking to her is like talking to most any adult. So, I forget.
I forget until I’m cuddled up next to her at bedtime and she whispers, “Mommy, I know Lizzy is just my American Girl doll, and I know she’s not real, but… can her hair grow?”
And then, I remember.
I remember that she’s little and I’m big. I remember that the world is scary and she’s not sure if her doll has real hair.
It’s a very easy black hole of anxiety to get sucked into as a mom. Guarding that delicate, childish innocence. I feel like I’ve got my hands wrapped around it. I want so badly to protect it. A lot of the time, I’m terrified, not only of my babies experiencing pain, but of them finding out that there is evil out there.
Then, I remember reality.
The reality is, evil isn’t just “out there.” It’s in Ever. It’s in all of us (Romans 3). I live many days as naively as she does. Like little girls can be perfect and doll hair can grow.
When Ever asks me about her doll’s hair or if her stuffed animal’s eyes are real (since they open and close), I don’t need to climb on top of her and try to shield her from a broken world. I need to make sure I’m telling her over and over, like a broken record, that Jesus loves her and that Jesus is stronger than the broken world.
I want to say with certainty and poise, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6) I want her to say that. I want Brooklyn to say it. I want Joy to sign it.
If I raise my three daughters to be more distrusting of their own hearts, which the Bible says are deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), than they are of the broken, mean, scary people in the world they’re supposed to love, I will raise three girls who don’t doubt the truth, but rest in it.
Today, as I make a dent in the laundry pile, and make a dent on the deadlines, I pray I’ll also make a dent on these little hearts I get to shepherd for just a little while. I pray that my words are full of grace and that my spirit is marked by peace. I pray that God will keep reminding me how deeply He loves me and my children. I pray that God will keep reminding me that He has overcome the world. I pray He will show these babies, whenever it is they learn that dolls aren’t real and that the world isn’t safe, that they still have nothing to fear.
The Lord is on our side. We will not fear. What can man do to us?