I am really convicted of the importance of teaching my children from a young age about the presence of God. "He's everywhere," I tell them "in all things..." "He's in the trees?" Aidan asks in awe as he peers out the window at the pine trees bending and swaying in the breeze. "And the flowers?" chimes a hopeful and delighted Angelina who just loves all flowers. "Yes, everything. He's in everything that He has made and He is with you all the time. Even when Daddy and Mommy aren't with you, He's there. When you're all alone in your room, He's there." Angelina stares at me as if she's trying to decide whether she actually believes me. I want so badly for my children to believe me, especially her.
In the new routine I've gotten into during the day I have found my times in prayer have so much more depth to them than prayer time used to. Especially when I go through my list of others' needs. In these moments I am drawn to an emotional aspect of my connection with my heavenly Father. It often makes me cry, hearing the words I say- things I already know in my heart like how much He loves His children and how merciful He is. It just somehow seems to dig a little deeper into my heart, hearing these things said out loud in own my voice to a quiet empty room where I know He is with me.
I recently had a conversation with someone about moments in which our faith just sort of overwhelms us. Like at Mass or after confession or in quiet moments spent in prayer and reflection during the day. Thinking about it over the past few weeks when I've really had such a special time in my specific moments of prayer, I have realized that these times of being overwhelmed are not just being overwhelmed by my faith which has carried me and brought me such strength in my journey, but by God Himself. His presence is even more tangible in these moments and it only makes sense to be overwhelmed by Him because He is almighty, ever-living, omnipresent, sovereign and just. He's loving and forgiving and merciful. He is not bound by time nor space nor circumstance; and He's definitely not bound by any box we try to put Him in. He works mysteriously but for the good of our souls, our relationship with Him, His purpose for our life. How can one not be overwhelmed by all that when you're sitting in the presence of His Holy Spirit, praising Him and relinquishing control of your life to Him?
So how do you explain this to a 5 or 6 year old? How do you tell them of the power, wonder and beauty that is our heavenly Father and that He's not just in the trees and flowers but in each of them? How do you explain the connection that can occur when you're spending time with Him, thanking and praising Him and petitioning for the needs of others and your own?
I'm pretty sure it's inherent in all of us- even if we aren't aware of it- to long for Him; to know these truths already somewhere within our souls, to desire to spend time with Him and drink in His perfect and overwhelming love. Unlocking that longing and knowledge is the first step in teaching our children about Him.. Finding ways to relate everything back to God and His son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit which fills us with His love is the best route to take with the young ones. Starting out with the trees and flowers and empty rooms where He is with us speaks to the child-like innocence and wonder of any one's heart. Our children are blank slates and the position we have to teach them about the love of God and His will for our life is a very powerful one. It's not just about helping them to believe us; it's about helping them to believe Him; to let their faith take them to places of being overwhelmed by His presence and basking in the knowledge that He is indeed with us in all things, everywhere.