Have you ever been alone in the car with your 5-year-old when they’re asking really tough questions and you’re looking anywhere for a lifeline, but the reality is there’s no one else in that moment… just you and your “why isn’t your dad here right now” thoughts. This happens to me at least two to three times a month. Our son, who is a very curious kid, often asks questions that make me literally stumble over words and pray that he doesn’t see right through me. There are the silly ones like “So do fish just pee in the ocean? Right where we swim?” Naturally, there are the fun ones like “So… how do we put babies in bellies? Does God just touch your belly button while you sleep?” But then there are the tricky ones like the most recent one: “Mommy, why is it so hard to hear God’s voice when we are trying to talk to Him?”
It doesn’t matter the topic of the question, when a tricky one comes up, I find myself awestruck by the fact that he is FIVE-YEARS-OLD and how a child’s innocence is one of the best things in the world. When he asked me about hearing God’s voice, I literally stuttered trying to come up with a fast response. It felt like the pressure was on, and I simply couldn’t get it wrong. While I’m happy he is wondering about hearing God’s voice, I’d be down for an easier question. How do you even begin to explain the answer to a question that you yourself would love to know? Miraculously, our conversation ended with him saying “Oh! Well that makes sense!”
Somehow, with each tricky question, I’ve gotten out of the car filled with joy. We’ve had up to 10 minute conversations (a feat for a five-year-old) about topics I’d be scared to have with some of my closest friends. My sweet son always trusts what I’m saying. He takes my word, even if it took 20 more questions before he got there. I know that’s not all me. The Holy Spirit must have a home in our Nissan Altima because each time, I’ve walked away amazed at not only our son, but myself as well. Sitting here right now, I feel in no way, shape or form equipped to answer some of the questions he’s asked. But each time, I’ve been able to navigate through them. It’s always tempting to say “hm well that’s hard to explain” or “I’ll tell you when you’re older”, but in the moment, that’s not my gut reaction.
As mothers, it’s really easy to feel like we have to have all the answers. Lots of people are asking us lots of questions every day – our kids, other moms, the doctor, the teachers… our husbands… and many others. They’re obviously not all hard questions. But tricky ones, often asked by our kids, make us feel like we have to have the right answer. At least, that’s how I feel. It doesn’t matter if it’s about fish peeing in the ocean or why God isn’t verbally speaking back to us, I feel like I have to KNOW the answer. Most of the time, I do know the answer, but putting that answer in a way that is appropriate plus understandable for a five-year-old, that’s the true tricky part.
As mothers, it’s also really easy to feel like we have to do it all ourselves – or have all the answers ourselves. I can confidently say that each time I’ve felt the pressure to do it all or have all the answers, someone helps me. Maybe that’s my husband, or a friend, or my parents, or (in true desperate times) Google… but more often than not, it’s a combination of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Those tricky questions, when I have no idea what to say but yet find myself answering them in a way that actually makes sense, it’s often not “myself” at all.
The only reason I have to be “proud” of myself, is because somewhere along the way, I’ve allowed myself to be a vehicle for God to work through. Sometimes I think our son asks those tricky questions when I’m the only adult around because God wants me to trust Him. I don’t have to have all the answers to the tricky questions. If I can’t answer it, God will step in and provide the answer in some way, shape or form. Sometimes it’s a question I’ve been wondering myself lately, and suddenly, there’s the answer coming out of my own mouth (usually about God, rarely about fish peeing right where I swim).
I think as mothers, we can learn a lot from the idea of letting God use us as vehicles. We aren’t meant to know everything. Half of the time, I feel like I’m winging motherhood by the hour. The other half of the time, I’m praying whatever good thing going on doesn’t implode on itself. But we should all take comfort in knowing that if we sit back and allow God to work, there’s no pressure to be perfect or have all the answers. There’s beauty in the daily duties of being a mom, but there’s also beauty in the moments where we sit back and wait for God to take over the little moments like the car ride home from school. God has the answers for us – even if we can’t audibly hear Him while we pray. He will always find a way to let His voice be heard.