I have had so many thoughts and stories I wanted to share with you guys lately. But I'm preempting all of them to bring you this interesting exchange I had with Pokemon Boy last night.
Last night, both boys stayed up late since it was Saturday night. They would have stayed up later but Lil' Bro had a slight fever and was paler than pale. Pokemon Boy was bummed because the plan had been to pull out the fold out couch and all fall asleep watching TV. Another time, kiddo.
Lil' Bro was in bed. As Pokemon Boy's consolation prize, I allowed him to sleep in the bed in my office. Somehow, that was thrilling to him. Good. Saved me some trouble of pulling out and setting up his tent in the reading room. As we were getting him settled, he asked me a very interesting question. "Mom, do you love God more or me more?" Good grief. How does a completely imperfect human mom answer that?
I mean, if I say I love God more, will he understand that? If I say I love him more, will that diminish God in his mind? And it was a scary question because I sat there thinking...hmm...I'm supposed to love God above all else. But do I? I mean, it's so hard to say - for me, anyway.
With Pokemon Boy's anxieties and worries, I went the safest route in my mind. I would give him the answer to make him feel secure in his mother's love. "Well," I started, "I know I should love God more than anything. But the truth is, I probably love you and Lil' Bro more than anything." I thought that would make him happy. I thought that would be the end of it. I couldn't have been more wrong.
"Oh..." he hesitated. He started talking about my answer. I honestly can't recall what he was saying. But I noticed his face looked like he was going to cry. I said, "Hey, what's upsetting you? You look really upset." The floodgates opened. He started crying. And I mean big gulping sobs. Wow. This is not at ALL what I was expecting. What in the world had I done?
"Honey! What's going on? Why are you so upset? Was it something I said?" He shook his head but kept crying. "Then what's making you cry so much?" Finally, through gulping sobs, he got it across to me that he was worried I didn't love God enough. Oh good GRIEF! Me and my big stupid good intentions! I immediately regretted my answer and having attempted to give him an answer I thought he wanted to hear. I should have taken the risk and told him the truth - that God is the center of my world now. That I love him more than I ever thought I could. That he's the first one I turn to when I'm scared, anxious, happy, sad, worried, whatever. I just thought he'd be so hurt that I would have chosen some invisible God over my physically present son! GAH!
So I had to back pedal and eat crow all at the same time. All the while, silently apologizing to God for sticking my big stupid foot in my mouth. I explained everything I've pretty much written above. I told Pokemon Boy how God was the center of my world. How I put him first (or tried to) in all things. I even went so far as to tell him how God totally saved me and carried me through 2007.
After doing a lot of talking, he was a bit more mellow but still very upset. After another session of 20 questions, Pokemon Boy finally told me that this subject upset him so much because he was worried I might not go to heaven. Wow. Talk about a way deeper Saturday night than I ever thought possible! He was worried that, if I didn't love God enough, God might not love me. I was flabbergasted by the depth of his concerns. But this I had answers for. Or maybe that's when God said, "Move over L.y.n.e.t.t.e. I'm taking over now!" I started explaining that I knew for a fact that God loved me. He loves me tons. And here's why... I started telling him a Readers' Digest version of my whole life. Pretty much all the God-orchestrated milestones in my life. And only the biggies. I would have been there all night giving him the life-time testimony.
I told him how I was put up for adoption by a loving mom who wished she could keep me. And God made sure to put me with my adoptive family, the E's. I told him, "And you know who God already had in that family? Your aunt [Big Sis]!" He seemed intrigued. "And she turned out to be my best friend for the rest of my life." I went on to tell him how I started having major life threatening medical issues at the age of 7 months. And God made sure the E's had the resources (both parental and financial) to cover my hospitalizations. God pulled me through multiple surgeries. I almost died after at least one - from pneumonia. I told Pokemon Boy that lots of people prayed for me and God pulled me through that, too. I told him how God always surrounded me with tons of loving family, church family, friends, neighborhoods, school mates. I told him how I prayed almost every night for YEARS as a kid to find my "real" parents. I told him that God, in his timing, worked that out. How two days after my 20th birthday, my birth-mom called me! God brought HER to ME! And how that reunion was awesome and my birth mom and her family has been so special to me ever since then. I told him that God brought me the most love I'd ever experienced when he brought Pokemon Boy into my life. And then Lil' Bro.
Then I switched over to showing Pokemon Boy how I knew God loved HIM. I told him that all the doctors had told me I probably wouldn't be able to conceive. And for many years, that appeared true. After one miscarriage, I was told I couldn't carry full term. Then along came my pregnancy with Pokemon Boy. And God provided the most amazing doctors that monitored his development. And he was born - full term. Then he had kidney problems. And God sent us to one of the top pediatric urologists in the country - just "happened" to be on our HMO plan. I told Pokemon Boy how he had many tests and treatment and finally corrective surgery. And God brought him through all that as if it were nothing. I told him how God has surrounded him with a huge praying family, wonderful friends, a great neighborhood, a loving church family. I said, "Look, God has a reason for you being here. He went through a lot of trouble to get you here and make you healthy. I don't know what he has planned for you but it's GOT to be good!"
I have to tell you, this whole exchange probably lasted well over an hour. It was the most intense and amazing thing. I mean, about 3 weeks ago, Pokemon Boy had asked me how I knew God was real. And then had told me he wasn't sure if he believed. He told me, "I kind of like 80% think he's not real and 20% think he is." Now here he was terrified I didn't love God enough and might not make it to heaven.
During the exchange, I told him that I wasn't perfect. But I had read enough of the bible to know that God loved me. And as long as I kept trying to live my life with my eyes on God, I knew I had a spot in heaven. I assured Pokemon Boy that I'd be in heaven waiting for him once he got there.
Whew. We finally laid down together with the lights off. I put my arms around him and just prayed. I don't even remember what I prayed. But it lasted a good 15-20 minutes. I fell asleep with my arms around him. I'm pretty sure he fell asleep while I prayed.
So my advice to you is - when your kid asks you questions that might reveal your true spiritual beliefs? Don't try to color it any other way than truthfully. Because it will backfire on you. Maybe I'm just preaching to myself here. I'm just sayin'...