By Suellen Fry-Washington
When my son, Nicholas, turned the tender age of six he informed me that there was to be no more kissing. He laid down the rules loud and clear:
1. He could kiss me on the cheek at any time.
2. Under no circumstances was I allowed to kiss him AT ANY TIME!
While my heart sank and my feelings were hurt, he did inform me that he still loved me very much.
"Then why can't I kiss you?" I asked.
"It just feels weird," he replied.
'Okay,' I thought. 'I can go with that.' Yet there were times when I would simply forget rule #2 and give him a kiss anyway. After all, I had loved on this beautiful little boy of mine for six years!
As soon as he realized that I had planted one on him, he would yell "No kissing!"
I would graciously apologize and ask him for a hug. That was okay by him, so I would receive a big hug, and that seemed to make me happy.
One day I became upset with his rules. "I am your mother!" I contorted. "I gave birth to you, and if I want to kiss you, I will. The case is closed, and I do not want to hear another word about it!"
I gave him a big, wet kiss and stormed out of his room. I could hear him holler as I walked away, "NO kissing!"
Then, one day while I was deep in my thoughts, something occurred to me. My little boy was growing up. While the thought of him not needing me as much left me feeling a bit empty inside, I realized it was a part of his growing up process. Maybe it was time to let go … just a little. After all, how else do baby birds learn to fly?
It's like that with Jesus, too. He's there for us when we need him, but he also steps out of the way, just at the right time, so we can grow and mature as Christians. Jesus puts bandaids on our boo boos, comforts us when we need comforting, and wraps his loving arms around us when we are hurting.
When I was a new found Christian I needed to be fed every day! Jesus saw to it that I had my daily feeding. He sent folks my way to scoop me up and help me walk the Christian life. Then … I grew, and little by little he stepped back. He watched me as I learned to walk in my new life, and even though he stepped back, he was close by to catch me if I fell. Let me be the first to tell you that I did fall many times! Jesus always caught me when I did.
As I grew in my journey with Christ, he was still my father, but now he watched as I grew more independent. He had done his job. Somehow, I have this mental picture of Christ standing close by my side, smile on his face, knowing he has done his job, but always a step away just in case I need my daddy.
Okay, now I get it! It was time to step back, just a little! It was time to watch my little man become his own person. In the quiet of the night I would sneak up next to this little boy while he was in a deep slumber and hold on to him tightly. I would give him as many butterfly kisses as I could without waking him. Then I would listen ... for the quiet, steady thumping of his heart and the whistling whisper of his breath. Then ... I would thank God for him. I mean really thank God for him. Praise the Lord for his mighty gift; the gift of one more child to raise, one more child to love, and … one more child to laugh with and cry with.
God has blessed me with many gifts, but none as great as this, the gift of a child.
And …God also knows what we need, just at the right moment. You see, one day I walked my boy to school and, on that particular day, decided to hang around his second grade classroom for a while. He was delighted that I could be there.
After around one hour of visiting and observing all the children busily learning and soaking in bundles of knowledge, it was time to go. I turned to Nicholas and informed him I needed to return home. It was then that God decided to give me another gift-the gift of a little boy's love. For at that moment, Nicholas decided he didn't care about the rule he had set. He gave me the biggest hug and kiss in front of all his classmates!
And ...on this day I glowed. On this day, as I walked home from my classroom visit, I thanked God once again for yet another gift. For this day was the one day when my little guy let me slide and didn't blurt out, "No more kissing."
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Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly lights…. (James 1:17)
Suellen Fry-Washington was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1957. She now resides in Bradenton, Florida with her husband and 7-year-old son. As an aspiring Christian writer she hopes that her stories will touch someone's heart and perhaps change the direction of their life. If you would like to write to Suellen, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.