What I learned about Faith from my 3-year-old

At 30 weeks pregnant, my aching body had long given up on reaching my feet. About this time, I also took to showering with my three-year-old son because I wasn’t able to lean over the bathtub comfortably.

One day, he gingerly reached for a washcloth and soap and bent to the shower floor. With a small lather and all the love he could muster, he began to wash my toes. “Since your back hurts, Mommy, let me wash your feet.” He was gleeful in his duty.

His gentle touch that showed nurturing beyond his years and the joy on his face in doing something so simple for another had me crack into tears.

Perhaps I had been aching for this tender care more than I knew? With long days of solo parenting while my husband was away on travel, I was feeling fatigued. I don’t suppose that my son knew that his action would fill my heart to the brim, but it was precisely that lack of pretence that made his gesture so powerful. He did it from the purest place of his heart.

The physical and symbolic significance of my son’s beautiful act has been stitched in my heart as a reminder that children are windows to heaven. It was a lesson in love and grace being placed literally at my feet.

I was sure to tell my son just how much he filled my heart, and in turn, it filled his. He proudly told his Father about what he did for me and how it made me happy. And there is was again, the goodness and grace of God. The joy that is woven into the mundane.

I’ve seen God so many times through my son. Wonderfully, as he grows older, the opportunities to interact have become richer and so too have the lessons he’s taught me. In spite of his age, or perhaps because of it, his actions of loving care were innate and powerful. To wash another’s feet was such a beautiful, Christ-like gesture to provide a moment of grateful pause.

This feet-washing experience had been brewing in my head and heart for weeks when I arrived to church a few weeks later. My attempts to attach words to the experience had been erased every time I sat across from a blinking cursor.

But as a not so gentle reminder, the sermon was entitled “Fancy Footwork” and detailed the significance of feet in the bible. As my minister recalled the feet washing stories of the bible, I sat in tears again. Emotional as a pregnant woman, but also powerfully effected by a moment of transcendence in which I felt the presence of God showing up at just the right moment.

One of the greatest gifts my son gives me is the opportunity to learn about faith through being a mother. I will always remember peering over my pregnant belly to see his little hands wash my feet. He may not have known it to be an act of faith, but my hope is that I can provide footprints that will lead him on that journey too.

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One thought on “What I learned about Faith from my 3-year-old

  • September 22, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    My children have so often become teachers of faith in my life.

    Your shower story reminded me of bathing my young son. I was beside the tub, and he ‘baptized’ me, after having seen a child baptized in church that morning. A simple and gentle act that brought me to tears.


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