Existential conversations with my three-year-old

Lucy with Husky the dog, her current inseparable companion

Lucy with Husky the dog, her current inseparable companion

Lucy still spends much of her time either being an animal (favorites right now: wolf cub, tiger or puppy) or talking to her army of stuffed animals. But more and more she also takes time to ponder her own history.  Many of her sentences begin, “When I was little…” or “When I was a baby…”.

Since I will sometimes tell her a story from my own childhood, she recently was trying to grasp how she fit into that scenario: “When you were a little girl, did you know me?”  No, Lucy, when I was a little girl, you were not alive yet. Your daddy was not alive yet.

(silence for a moment)

“When you were a little girl, I was pretendin’ to be dead?!”


We borrowed the new Disney movie, Frozen, from our neighbors this week, and have watched it at least four times now.


I was trying to discern how much of the plot Lucy really understood. We had a good conversation this evening about hurting others accidentally through our actions when we are upset or angry. Lucy had, in fact, pulled my hair quite hard when she was vexed about something (she was grabbing the stuffed tiger I was holding, and had not intended to pull my hair).  We talked about self-control, not lashing out when we’re angry, and about needing to apologize when we hurt someone, even if we didn’t mean to hurt them.

This also led to some talk about everyone having sin-frozen hearts, and Jesus coming to thaw us with His sacrifice, because He loves us so much. Although we’ve had several talks about Jesus as our savior lately, I’m not sure she quite gets it yet.  I’m hoping that the story’s power lives in her imagination until such time as the application becomes clear to her. (I also wrote about this idea back in January.)

Narnia coverIn fact, I am always grateful for any plot line in a book or a movie which allows me to make the Good News feel more immediate and concrete. One of the most moving aspects of C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the death of Aslan for Edmund.  We need these illustrations which remind us that Christ in his death was suffering for each of us individually…He didn’t just die for a faceless mass of humanity.

But as I pray for these ideas to take root inside her heart and mind, I must also pray for patience and allow the Spirit to work at His own pace with her. Lucy is a literalist right now, as witness a recent bedtime conversation:

I was rocking her, and she suddenly announced, “Jesus is in my heart.”

He is, Lucy? That’s good!

“Yes, he climbed in through a little hole.”


 We all are born with gaping caverns in our hearts that Jesus needs to fill. May all who need His entry leave an opening for Him to enter those hollow and needy spaces…even if it’s just a little hole.


4 responses to “Existential conversations with my three-year-old

  1. Yeah, the “literal” thing was tough for me with my sons, especially due to my **occasional** kidding around (…as hard as that might be to believe).


    But allowing Him in is essential for us.
    Perhaps picturing God climbing into our hearts (as if He were a mechanic and we were all some kind of old, giant robots) would help a couple adults I know.

    Certainly would make an interesting visual…


    • godsbooklover

      Just got off the phone with our dad, another guy who kids around “occasionally”…you came by it honestly, for sure, bro! But you’re right–whatever picture works should be used! God presents us with so many different pictures for Himself in Scripture, I have to believe it’s because different images will speak to different people. (I like the robot-mechanic idea, btw!)

  2. livinrightinpgh

    I adore the wisdom of children. Lucy is right on the mark! Jesus enters through that hole in our heart that is created by our sin nature and fills the void of our lives.

    BTW: I’ve witnessed JTR’s “kidding around” first hand….it is CLEARLY a genetic trait, and one that he has masterfully developed over the years!!

    • godsbooklover

      Have you met our dad? JTR learned from the master…Thanks for commenting, as always, PGH! Btw, today we were talking about God knowing the number of our days, and protecting us, and Lucy burst out, “And He scares the crocodiles!” Not sure where that came from, but it must be true!

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