A Magnificent World

kiddie pool - image courtesy of Gretchen Crowder

My backyard is currently a mix of broken kiddie pools, pieces of random toys, lots of mud, and so very many plastic cups.

You can probably imagine me standing on my back porch, taking it all in, and shaking my head with dismay. You may even be able to feel my slight consolation as I remind myself that at least no one is coming over anytime soon to play in this mess of a backyard. As an adult, you can probably feel the internal angst rise up in me as I take in this colossal mess.

But if we had the eyes of a child, what would we see instead?

My children look at the broken kiddie pools and see two huge plastic rings that serve as rafts to hold the three of them as they fight off angry seas or as ocean containers teeming with their favorite sea creatures. They look at the pieces of random toys that I see and see instead items carefully selected and brought out into the lawn as important pieces in building forts that stand as a strong defense against rogue, angry robots. They see the plastic cups as large buckets of sand toys that help them build huge castles and dig for treasure in heaping sand dunes rising up by their kiddie-pool oceans. They see the mud as, well, mud—but they love to feel it squish on their fingers and toes and stare in wonder at how it sticks so well on both windows and slides. And when they’ve successfully covered the slide with mud, they imagine it as a piece of yet another adventure they just can’t wait to go on.

I have been thinking a lot about the difference between the mind of an adult and the mind of a child while I’ve been a guest in their world these last few months. And I have noticed one thing in particular: it is so much easier to see God in all things when I put on their lens and look at life with a little more wonder.

Try it. Next time something looks not quite the way you want it and God is seemingly hard to find, put on the lens of a child, and see what a magnificent world God has created just for you.


  1. There are so many similarities in math and ministry. First, establishing a language that all understand. Knowing the words for math and how number behave resonates with ministry and how the words help us to understand our relationship with God. I felt that I had a small miracle in my classroom when a student understood how the numbers interacted to such a point to talk to others about their realization. In ministry, the more I understand the mystery and participate in it, the more I can speak to others about the love and goodness of our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I have begun to pray with people on the way home from Church (I walk) I tell others about the prayers that have been answered and what I am still working on. We are people of love and prayer and God waits for us each day!

    • Math gave me the heebie jeebies until after I graduated high school. When I worked with cash regesters math made sense. Still check my work though.

  2. Thank you Gretchen. Nice. I am reminded of that famous prescription in Matthew 18:3,”Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

  3. Hi Gretchen, You had me at “My backyard is currently a mix of broken kiddie pools…” Thank you for this delightful reflection on a delightfully messy backyard. It was a joy reading from your loving motherly perspective. I am forwarding it to my two grown daughters who have backyards similar to yours. May we all be blessed with the eyes of children to see the beauty of God in our everyday lives and everyone/thing we encounter. In gratitude and hope, Jay

  4. Yep! Gods speaking to me so much through the eyes of my grandchild in theses precious days. So very much AMDG

  5. Thank you Gretchen. That seems like an exciting experiment to carry out – to put on the lens of a child. I have not done that for a very long time, perhaps since I was a child myself. I watch my grandchildren with wonder, but never thought of enjoying life once again through their eyes. I am looking forward to doing just that. Thank you. I also enjoyed your Holy Spirit novena prayers too. Thank you.

  6. ‘put on the lens of a child, and see what a magnificent world God has created just for you’. How easy is that?! How close is our God! Thank you Gretchen

  7. Gretchen,

    Your article is one of those “all-at-once”” moments in time: watching, observing soaking in almost everything in “children’s world ” . Thank you so much. And we can’t help but gasp in awe, rather than in dismay, (not only especially during these critical times,but daily).

    With children’s eyes we learn to live out what we pray for: “create in us clean hearts, oh God, and a right and willing spirit infuse in us.” We find God.

    God meets us in the very child-experiences of “whatsoever is true, honest, kind,precious, just, honorable and noble, beautiful…”

  8. This is quite an old story (vintage Reader’s Digest), possibly true, and most of you have probably heard it, but it bears repeating and remembering.
    A young adult woman is walking down the street with her mother. They encounter a teacher the young woman had as a child. The former student was shocked to see her former teacher’s face marred by a number of scars. After the woman and her mother went their way, the young woman told her mother that she felt so sorry for the teacher because as a child the young woman remembered her teacher as being very beautiful. The mother informed her daughter that her former teacher always had those scars on her face, even while she was her daughter’s teacher. The eyes of a child, indeed.

  9. Gretchen:

    Thank you for this…God’s perfect timing. Why just this morning I was journaling and asked that God help me to see with the eyes of a child this day. Full of wonder, excitement, creative energy.


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