You may have noticed how I come across as a bit of a child through much of my story. And I do feel like a child in many ways.

You might be seeing it in how enthusiastic I am about Jesus. You might be seeing it in how vulnerable I am in my writings to you. I try to express my feelings and thoughts as clearly as possible. I try to openly show what’s inside my heart. I guess I like having the spirit of a child in me because I’ve always liked children, even becoming a child photographer.

You might have seen the child in me come out in the eager way I told the people at Sacred Space about what it had meant to me to come to Jesus when I needed him so badly. I didn’t hold anything back when I talked about what Jesus meant to me and how he helped me with my mental health issues. It was natural for me to do so. I can’t help being a witness for Jesus. I can’t help being true to my heart.

This is the way it was in all my speaking and writing when I raised mental health awareness in the Church as I tried to help Christians learn what God can do in a life with mental illness. It shows in how freely I spoke as I was trying to explain how one can be a good Christian and still have a mental illness.

I’m not able to speak anything but the truth as I see it, feeling that injustice must be addressed. And in many cases I expose what I see to be unjust, no matter the harm that might come to me as a result. The world might call that courage . . . but I suppose some might think it a lack of wisdom. (typical of a child?)

I trust people too easily, perhaps putting them on a pedestal before I thoroughly know them. There have been times that I’ve become too attached to those who give the insecure child in me the attention I craved. This has caused problems for those who were trying to be kind to me.

I’ve had to be told by caring people that it’s only God who can be trusted. And that God can always be trusted.

Many think that being like a child means that one is immature, a person to be looked down on, lacking in wisdom. Many feel it’s cause for shame. And yes, that’s the world’s point of view and often justifiably so. But Jesus thought differently. He told his disciples,

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15)

He must have said that because children’s hearts are wide open. Many have a natural intimacy with God. The trouble for many grownups is that they know God in their heads, but are not open enough to experience him in their hearts. Many try to find faith and gather wisdom from the books they read.

When they try to learn it all from books, there’s a danger of losing their child-like heart of simplicity. Not that reading is bad, but it’s not good to read books and use them to find a formula for developing faith. The simple faith of a child pleases God more than knowledge and wisdom learned in books.

Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25)

Do you remember what it was like to be a child?

Looking back at my own childhood, I recall feelings that were much more intense today than those I have today as an adult. I loved my friends and family more deeply. The excitement that built as a birthday or Christmas approached knew no bounds. Joy made me bubble over. I remember the wonder and the innocence. I also remember times of vulnerability, acute pain, and fear. Occasionally all this resurfaces as I experience the ups and downs of life.

We are God’s children, dearly loved by him. He wants to connect with us. This is what I hear him saying:

“Open your hearts wide to receive the love I give you. Joyfully share that love with others. Wonder at the world I’ve made. Be amazed. Be wholehearted in what you do. Take your Bible—my Word—and receive what it says as my message to you, eagerly accepting it as truth. This is the child-like spirit I want to see in you.”