Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.
My youngest is seven years old.
I can only say that for two more months — then he’ll be eight, and goodness, that sounds old. But now he’s still seven, so I take advantage of the moments while they’re here, and I lean down close when he’s all tucked in with his Cars 2 duvet cover up to his chin, and his giant, stuffed German Shepherd slung under one arm. And there in the dark, in the quiet end of another day, I bend my voice around his little ear and whisper, “Psst. I have a secret to tell you.”
His sturdy little body stiffens up with piqued interest as he leans onto one elbow, “What?”
With my hand cupped by his cheek, I whisper, “I love you.”
“Mo-oommm,” he groans, throwing his head back into the shadows. “That’s not a secret!!”
“It’s not?!” I exclaim in fake astonishment.
“Nooo! I already knew that!”
“How did you know?” I ask, hands on my hips.
“You’ve told me, like, a thousand times!!”
“Ohhh, okayyy. Well, good night, then,” and I kiss his cheek because I still can, and our smiles meet in the moonlight.
Some mornings when he’s slurping cereal into his sleepy mouth, I’ll lean in and whisper, “Psst. I have a secret.”
But by now he knows the drill, so he barely blinks before the smile comes, “I already know. Everybody knows.”
If he thinks everyone knows I love him, my job here is pretty much done.
You see, my secret isn’t really a secret after all.
I want my son to know it, and I want everybody to know it.
And I think about the love of Christ, and how not everyone knows how much He loves them.
Not everyone knows that “this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).
Is it because some of us are living like it’s a secret?
Do we walk around with sealed lips, unwilling to share?
My son thinks everyone knows I love him, and I’m glad. But he doesn’t think that because I say it out loud to everyone I meet. He thinks everybody knows because of how I interact with him. Sometimes, with love, actions really do speak louder that words.
So the question is, do people look at you and me and know that Jesus loves them? Do they look at us and know that we love Jesus?
Every Monday evening, our family reads from a book called Window on the World: When We Pray God Works — a great resource for learning how to pray for countries and people groups in need of the gospel. We recently read a section on a people group called the Druzes, who live in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and Jordan. The subheading for this section reads, “Followers of a Secret Religion.” Apparently they’ve kept their religion secret for over a thousand years. The only way to become a Druze is to be born one. The book says, “They keep what they believe to themselves and never share it with anyone.”
Do we sometimes do the same with Christianity? Do we keep it boxed up and wrapped in a bow, never allowing anyone else to see the gift we’ve been given?
Over and over in the book of Psalms, we read the importance of telling of His marvelous deeds, proclaiming the work of His hands.
I don’t really want my youngest to think my love for him is a secret. I want him to think everyone knows. And I want everyone to know that I love Jesus, and He loves them, too.
So come here for a minute … I’m leaning in to cup my hand around your ear, because, “Psst. I have a secret to tell you. Jesus loves you. More than you will ever know.”