By: Lindsey Mitzel
A month ago I made a terrible mistake. My whole family was sick, and on the rare day of health in between illnesses, I took my kids to the library, where one of my oldest enthusiastically picked out Dora and the Super Babies. I don’t know if it was the babies (we have a new-ish baby at home), or the bananas (a favorite around our house), or the word “super” that’s used about 50,000 times in the book (I exaggerate…a little), but the book became an instant favorite, and was probably the most read book in our house for the next two weeks (I may have returned it slightly early because saying “super baby banana baby food” all day long was starting to get to me).
In any case, the book was well loved. So, in the midst of our second family illness (and I’m certain I was feverish at the time), I thought it’d be a great idea to let our two year olds watch Dora. We didn’t even get through one episode. You see, Swiper in the book may have looked a little menacing, but Swiper on TV was terrifying. Have you even seen his teeth?! That night we were beckoned to my daughter’s room three times before she actually fell asleep, and at least twice during the night with her screaming. We tried Swiper flashlight search parties. We tried magic spray that made him disappear. We tried convincing her that her plush unicorn would save the day if Swiper appeared. We tried ensuring her that he wasn’t real and “Mommy and Daddy are right here and won’t let anything happen to you” (this was the most demoralizing part, because she was so obviously skeptical).
One night, in a stroke of genius (and desperation, let’s be honest), my husband told my daughter, “If you’re scared of Swiper, you can look at the cross and say, ‘Jesus, I trust in You’.” We’ve been having conversations with our girls about talking to Jesus, and it seemed to work. One night she was even upset because she wanted to see Jesus on her cross, but her night light wasn’t bright enough.
Obviously this kind of trust is so innocent and superficial in a certain way (I mean…Swiper). But in prayer, I’ve realized that when it comes to trusting Jesus with my life, I’m really not any less skeptical of God’s ability to save me from suffering and scary situations where I feel alone and maybe a little out of control.
St. Margaret Mary describes a vision she had of Jesus:
“Jesus Christ, my kind Master, appeared to me . . . his divine breast . . . was like a furnace, [which] he opened to disclose his utterly affectionate and loveable Heart, the living source of all those flames. It was at this moment that he revealed to me the indescribable wonders of his pure love for mankind: the extravagance to which he’d been led for those who had nothing for him but ingratitude and indifference. ‘This hurts me more,’ he told me, ‘than everything I suffered in my passion. Even a little love from them in return—and I should regard all that I have done for them as next to nothing, and look for a way of doing still more.”
When I read this, I was struck by Jesus’s immense love for me, and by how much pain my lack of trust must cause Him. It made me think about a difference between my baby and my toddlers. My baby trusts me implicitly—she’s just this chunky little sweet thing full of smiles, and as long as she’s fed, she’s pretty much a happy camper. My toddlers, however, seem eternally skeptical of my intentions. It can be a little demoralizing, defeating, and sometimes painful. Why don’t you trust me? Can’t you see how much I love you? How much I’ve suffered for you and would willingly suffer for you every day?
And Jesus shows me His love for me is infinitely more than the I-would-do-anything-for-you love I have for each of my kids. To St. Faustina, Jesus said, “The flames of mercy are burning me. I desire to pour them out upon human souls. Oh, what pain they cause me when they do not want to accept them!” Can you honestly imagine? Jesus’ love for us burns him, it’s so intense. I reject His love sometimes in favor of the façade of control. But what’s amazing is He says our loving Him just a little makes Him regard everything He’s done for us as “next to nothing” and seeks ways to do even more. His love for us is so incredible. There is no darkness dark enough that can ever separate us from his love and mercy, especially when we’re looking for Him. And just like a loving father, Jesus reminds each of us that we can more than trust in Him.
Lindsey is a mostly stay at home mom to three girls and a nurse practitioner. She loves photography, decorating, painting, reading, and warm places in the middle of winter. She dreams about writing children’s books, gardening, and maybe owning a horse someday. She also cannot say enough good things about coffee.