"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV)
She turned four this past weekend. My first born already seems suddenly wiser and more mature. I can remember that first moment I held her and the nurse wheeled me through the hall with my hour old baby. It was surreal then and she still feels surreal to me now. I laid awake the entire night just staring at her...marveled at this creation. In awe, I kept touching her little fingers and toes in disbelief that she was really mine. And when she awoke for the first time that night to nurse, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that God had given me. I realized what a complete treasure she was and how big my job was at that moment.
Four years later and I still marvel at this gift. Little children shower her with gifts, but I know that she is really the gift. At the end of the party, we release four balloons into the sky. It is our family tradition and our way of telling God thank you for the years He has given us this gift (each balloon represents a year). I am a very visual person, so it is a special moment for me as her mother. We watch them until they disappear and I close my eyes and imagine God catching them and adding them to His collection that we have sent Him.
As I tucked her into bed, she asked me when she would get to see Jesus so she could have her balloons back. I laughed of course.
"Will He be at my window tonight when I sleep? Will He bring them back then? Will He come to my door?"
"No baby. You will not see Jesus until you go to Heaven."
"When am I going to Heaven? When I'm ten?"
"I hope not. I hope you live a really long life...and that you get married and have babies and grow old. Then, when it is time, God will come take you to Heaven."
"Will I fly?"
"I don't think so. I think He will carry you. But, don't worry, He will help you get there."
"Where is He right now? Is He in this room?"
"He is everywhere."
"But, how come I can't see Him? Is He in my heart?"
I pause. I am unprepared for this talk. I really thought we were a few more years away from deep religious discussions. How does one answer a question like this when it is hard even as an adult to understand? How do we see Jesus?
"Well, one day when you want Him, you will ask Him into your heart. And when you do that, He will open your eyes and heart so that you can experience His love while you are living on Earth. It's like the wind: you can feel it, but you can't see it. And He will never leave you. When you die, then you will see what He looks like in Heaven."
"Will He have my balloons?
"If that is what would make you happy, then He will meet you with them. He has many treasures in Heaven for us."
And with this reply, she lays down with a smile on her face. She is indeed one of His greatest works in the eyes of her mother. And just like that night at the hospital, I do not sleep much. I lay awake thinking about her. But instead of counting her fingers and toes, I am thinking about her heart: and praying that she will indeed see and want His love. I don't just want her to know Him...I want her to experience that overwhelming joy that comes in a relationship with Him. And that from experiencing that joy, she will see Him dwelling in her heart.