She was drawing flowers. Scribbling with her face down close to the poster paper, she had a look of deep concentration on her face. I stopped to drink her in, from her little marker-stained hands to her superhero t-shirt and My Little Pony socks. I reached out to move a wisp of her golden hair out of her face and she looked up at me with those big baby blues. She said the words gently, in that sweet 4 year old voice, yet so factually…”He made everything perfectly beautiful.”
We were studying Genesis and drawing pictures of the things God made. Creation through the eyes of a preschooler. She had drawn several things on the paper but hadn’t said much. When she spoke those words, my emotions blurred together. I fell a little more in love with her, like we all do when our children speak sweet and innocent truth. At the same time, my heart began to ache and shame swept over me. The ugly truth came to light…
When my children look at those around them, they see beautiful people, made in the image of their Creator (Genesis 1:27). When they see someone who is different than themselves, regardless of what that difference may be, they simply see a person. There’s no scale of value. All of us are equally valuable to them. They look at those differences as unique, God-given qualities that make that person special in their own way. They see this now because this is what my husband and I have told them to see. But, in time, our actions will speak louder than our words and our own skewed view of beauty will seep in and ruin that for them. Just as the generation before us passed down their distorted views of what makes a person beautiful and worthy of love, we will do the same.
Unless it ends now. Unless we somehow find a way to look past our current photoshopped worldview and see each other, and ourselves, as God intended us to. Unless we choose to look at each individual as an intentional work of art, crafted to resemble our stunningly complex and magnificent Father. Unless we can get real and love, not in spite of our differences, but because of them. Unless we can change this, we will change them. And I don’t want to change the hearts of my children that way.
I now understand why Jesus said, “…the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” (Matthew 19:14) Children don’t see skin color or body shape or disability as things that separate us. They see them as things that connect us. In their eyes, we’re all the same because we’re all different. To them, different is beautiful. They know God doesn’t make ugly things. It’s us who take what’s beautiful and make it ugly.