Grace and Golden Flowers

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Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." - Luke 18:16, 17 

Once, while waiting in my car at a nearby elementary school, I was challenged by something I witnessed. Two little girls meandered by. One of them exclaimed to the other, “Come here! Let me show you something!” The girls ran ahead to a vacant lot that was covered in yellow flowers.  Breaking free of their shoes, they began dancing and playing amidst the flowers, smiling and giggling with glee. 

 I watched as they played, pretending they were fashion models with flowers between their teeth, in their hair, and wrapped like jewelry around their necks and arms.  The little girls’ ecstasy was enchanting and exhilarating. 

Soon, the twosome was skipping through the flowers and scooping up large handfuls of the blooms and throwing them in the air!  At first, my heart broke at the thought of the flowers being yanked up by the roots...I wondered how other little girls could enjoy them? But the field was rich and healthy and I was soothed by the thought that other flowers would grow there. There will be more flowers and more girls and more dances.

Just then, one of the girls plunged headlong onto the ground, as though she couldn’t get close enough to the objects of her joy and delight.  She lay there encircled by yellow flowers as her friend threw handfuls of the blossoms over her, showering her with what seemed to be small bursts of sunlight.

As I watched, I wondered…when did I change?  When did I stop taking off my shoes?  When did I stop skipping?  When did I become more afraid of briars and stickers than of boredom?  When did picking flowers become sacrilegious? I realized how much I want to recapture that sense of wonder, that joy, that adventure…the child-like heart that plunges into beauty and wallows in the joy it brings.

In Luke 18:16, 17 Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

I believe, in some mysterious way, that those little girls showed me how to receive the kingdom of God…I’m to receive it with reckless abandon, joy, and enthusiasm, putting aside my high and rigorous regard for “rules and regulations” and my desire for the “practical” or “sensible”.

Jesus calls me to go barefoot more often, to worry less about stickers, to skip more, to pick more flowers, to smile and giggle more, and share it all with a friend. He wants me to desire to be so close to the object of my joy and delight that I plunge myself headlong into His ever open arms. 

In His sight, I am a “princess on parade” and His Kingdom has come! I will receive it with joy, gladness and wonderful, godly recklessness!

Heidi Bylsma-Epperson