Bethany was looking at her Bible, when an illustration of a woman with jewelry on caught her eye, she asked me to read the story to her. Seems just yesterday, my sister gave her that Bible, and I really did think it would be forever before she'd have interest in reading such a big kid Bible.
I sat down and started reading 1 Peter 3:3 to her, "Braiding your hair doesn't make you beautiful. Wearing gold jewelry or fine clothes doesn't make you beautiful." She let out this long GASP!!!! "THAT'S NOT VERY NICE!!", she exclaimed. "Mommy, that not TRUE!", she reasoned.
I went on to read, "Instead, your beauty comes from inside you. It is the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. Beauty like that doesn't fade away. God places value on it." Trying to explain to Bethany the difference between outer and inner beauty I said, "God looks at what is inside, He doesn't care about how pretty you look on the outside. What's inside you?" "Blood." she said affirmatively. "What else?", I asked. "My heart.", she said.
I tried to explain to her the difference between her flesh and her spirit, which I referred to as her heart and then she was confused because, she said,"Yeah, but...I can feel my heart, I can hear it." She interrupted me quickly saying, "But we can still wear jewelry and braid our hair!" Isn't that just like our fleshly selves? Worried that God will ask us to give something up, in order to be more spiritually whole. When I explained, that this is what Peter wrote, she even questioned it and said, "Well, did GOD say that?"
So then I was trying to explain again that her spirit is where she feels love and anger. Good feeling and bad feelings, which again could be her flesh, but it was the best I could come up with at the moment. I reminded her of her behaviour the other day at the play land, and tried to use that as an illustration of her not appearing very pretty to everyone around her, especially God.
I told her, "The Bible says, 'Out of the heart the mouth speaks.' so when you say mean things you have bad things in your heart. Or when you are nice to others or obedient to your parents you have good things in your heart."
Bethany tends to keep things in, more than not. Her mind is always turning and trying to figure everything out. It seemed everything just started to pour out after we had that discussion.
She told me, that she likes to sing but she doesn't like it when other people hear her. It makes her really nervous, especially if she is singing a song she made up. I asked her if she gets nervous because she is afraid people might laugh at her and she said, "Nooo...I don't think they would laugh at me, I just get real nervous. I always wanted to sing on a stage...you know, the ones in big rooms, that people sing on?...I always, always wanted to do that, but I think I'd be too nervous." I told her she can do whatever she wants. If she wants to sing on a stage, she can and if not she doesn't have to do that.
Later on, we were cleaning up her room and loading up a bin to tote, excessive amounts of, toys back to the basement where they belong. She was really good about working with the limits I gave her, like picking 1 doll, and 3 stuffed animals to keep in her room. The deeper I dug into her personal stashes of grouped together toys, in Pringles cans and baby wipe boxes. I didn't even know she'd carried them up to her room...won't complain since she is an organizer already...the more she cringed in fear I'd take away her treasures. She finally said, "I just feel really nervous right now, because I am afraid you are gonna take away my stuff."
The mind of a 4 year old, it never gets boring. I just wish she wasn't such a worrier. Joe, being such a great daddy, often tells her, "Bethany, you let Daddy worry about that stuff. That's what my job is, to worry about all the grown up stuff."