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Recently Levi has taken to asking me often if his eyes are blue. They are just like my other kids’ eyes – definitely blue. I love them and they are beautiful. However, he has become slightly concerned because his favorite color is green, everything should be green, and his eyes are not. This has been a reminder of how soon and for what trivial reasons we begin to deal with the issues we have with our design. How, if we are not proactive, those seemingly insignificant issues turn into larger struggles with the way we have been created.

And instantly, “One, I am one of a kind” begins playing in my head. Anyone from back in my old teaching days now has a little ditty stuck on repeat over and over, running through his or her brain. You’re welcome. 😉 I used to travel and teach kids Biblical principles during my teen years while their parents were learning similar principles in a seminar. I loved those years and those opportunities to meet, love, and introduce those kids to some of the pieces of God’s heart for them. There were kids who knew very little and kids who had heard these truths all of their lives. I taught sons of a well-known, Christian singer and children in families who had to sacrifice to find the funds to be there for that week. But underneath all of the differences, whether they were the kids at these seminars, the ones in the inner city schools, the ones at church, or my own, kids have a basic, deep need. If this one is missed, then they will struggle with who they are in this world and who they are in Christ.

That was the reason we began our weeks with the kids on this principle of Design. And we sang this catchy little song with ten things about the way God had created them that were unchangeable. Sadly, today it seems that we can change just about anything we don’t like for a fee, but that doesn’t change the underlying reality we are dealing with, that we were created that way. It is heartbreaking to watch a world of celebrities, teenagers, soccer moms, businessmen, and yes, small children fighting to understand who they are because they have never acknowledged the One who made them. We will never make progress in teaching little ones how valuable and precious they are unless they know TO WHOM they are valuable and precious! Value by definition means “relative worth, merit, or importance.” There must be someone to whom that thing is valuable just like there must be an unchanging God who holds in His heart the great wealth of our worth. It doesn’t matter that it’s a fact, that’s not how we were created. We were created to be precious TO SOMEONE and we certainly are.

So maybe I will tell Levi the story of Amy Carmichael and how she had always prayed for her brown eyes to turn blue but when she became a missionary in India she realized what a hindrance blue eyes would have been to her disappearing and fitting into their society. And I tell him how his grandfather has the most beautiful blue eyes on the planet and maybe Levi got his eyes from his Da, but mostly that God beautifully and creatively designed him just right. And now that Kailey notices the difference in her hair and the hair of other girls and has started to wonder, “Why is my hair curly?” I have begun to sing the most ridiculously silly song I completely made up every morning when I comb through her curls. I sing some version of “Beautiful, shiny, so soft and shiny! Beautiful, shiny curls! I love your curls, God made your curls. Your beautiful, shiny curls!” Yeah, I won’t be winning any songwriting contests, but you should see her face light up. It’s the little things here and there that sink into our hearts and just as quickly it is the little slights and negative comments about the way they were made that also sink like knives deep into tiny hearts. And those unchangeables go much further than physical features – the siblings God gave them, their birth order, their gender, and many more are all a part of that amazing piece of art and there is blessed peace in seeing that as a master PLAN!

But I think bigger than our challenge to show them love and acceptance for their design is our call to MODEL this for them. It is hard to convince a child that God creates with a perfect purpose when they hear us constantly belittling our own bodies and features. And if you think it never crosses a child’s mind that he or she is the reason we can’t stand our post-baby bodies, think again. Little hearts, little minds soaking and sponging not only our words but the attitudes of our hearts. I pray to God that He will give me the grace and wisdom to see myself as He sees me so that my daughter will trust Him to be her perfect Designer as well. If there’s something my choices have contributed to and I need to change then I want to show her the discipline and courage to work on it, and if that priority is just not there, then I want her to see that there are things just simply more important than the abs that existed before nine pregnancies. At least I think they did; I can’t really remember. 😉 And I can’t remember because honestly it’s just not that important to me. What is important are the four amazing, created, designed, purpose-filled lives of the children in my home and the five precious souls waiting with their Creator and fulfilling a design of a completely different nature with Him. Precious, beautiful plans of a perfect, vast Creator.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.

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