I found a valuable treasure in our linen closet the other day. Old bed sheets. We don’t use them on our bed anymore, but my three-year-old daughter repurposed them (we’re a green, recycling family) for a new cause.
You know the old saying, “one man’s garbage is another toddler’s treasure.”
Turns out old bed sheets are the perfect building material for a kid’s bedroom fort. They are large enough (if they are queen size or larger) to span long distances. And they are light enough (not like grandma’s quilt which is big too but heavy) that they don’t sag too much in the middle, a crucial concern for good fort creation.
Three bedsheets, 15 minutes, two dresser drawers closed on corners, one stereo placed on top to hold an edge, and three pillows for stability later and my daughter no longer had a bedroom but a wild west trading post. Although, she preferred to think of it as a “princess fort”.
It was the perfect place to hide in, play with dolls and pretend to be in a castle.
Turns out, it was also the perfect place for a three-year-old to want to spend the night.
“Daddy, can we have a sleep over in the fort tonight?”
And so, long after Paytyn had been tucked into her sleeping bag and fallen asleep, I crept in to my sleeping bag under the fort to “sleep over” as well.
It was not a comfortable night. Sleeping on the floor when I was three was easy. Now it just makes my whole body hurt. But, I could have dealt with that if it wasn’t for the constant karate kicks that my sleeping daughter hurled my way all night long. Have you ever slept next to a toddler? They literally never stop moving. Even when they sleep.
Sore and exhausted, I woke up the next morning to a bright-eyed girl, her face right up in mine, staring at me from three-inches away.
“Good morning, daddy! We did a sleep over!” she beamed with joy.
That we did. It was just one night. We took the fort down later that morning. But the joy my daughter experienced lasted for weeks.
And in the effort to win my daughter’s heart I hope to have a few more sleepless nights on the floor.
God’s that way, you know.
Sometimes we think of Him as inaccessible or standoffish or too good for the likes of us. In fact, there are many of us who have grown up not liking this God that sits up in His comfortable digs in heaven judging us down here doing our best in this mess of a world.
We’ve assumed the only terms He’s willing to meet us on involve stuffy religious ceremonies and boring church services. Which for many of us has made him seem un-relatable and elitist at best.
But, no matter what you’ve assumed about God or maybe how churches or Christians have portrayed Him to you, Jesus shows us that God is more like a fort-building dad than a cold and distant tyrant.
So the Word (God) became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One (Jesus), who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
(John 1:14,18 NLT)
He made is home among us. The words there literally mean, “he pitched his tent with us.” Or maybe a three-year-old might translate it: “he built a fort and lay down on the hard ground in his sleeping bag too.”
And maybe that’s the best picture of God.
Maybe we’ve had some assumptions about God that don’t match up to how God has defined himself in the way he actually chooses to act toward us.
The God that Jesus puts on display isn’t too good to experience a sleepless night. He isn’t too holy to break out the old bedsheets and slum it up on the floor.
This God will go to any length to win the hearts of the people he has made. It’s the foundational belief of Jesus’ followers: that God is in fact good, relatable, willing to live with us and do whatever it takes bring us ultimate joy and fulfillment.
In that case, it could be that something other than some old bedsheets need repurposed. Maybe our view of God could use a little retooling too.