We stepped across to their driveway while he lifted her out and set her down. As she found her balance, he said, "Livvy, do you want to say hi to Allen and Christina?"
She sized us up and then focused on me, down on one knee, and began trotting toward us. Given the slope of the driveway, she picked up speed along the way until finally throwing herself into my arms.
"What a good hug, Livvy. Did you have a good day at school today?"
"Actually, she went to her grandma's today," her dad amended.
I relaxed my arms, but she was still holding fast, so I relaxed into the moment instead, stroking her back and memorizing the vaguely fruity scent of her tousled curls. What's that feeling tugging at the corners of my mouth? Oh, yes, I remember. It's delight.
"What did you do at grandma's? Did you dance? I know what a good dancer you are."
"What else...did you take a nap for grandma?"
"Nap," she nodded.
"Did you...play outside? Kind of hot for that, though."
"Are you really answering my questions, or are you parroting everything I say?"
"Pehting ehveeting you say." (Somebody give that girl a rim shot.)
She kept hugging my neck a few minutes longer, then sat on the drive and on my lap while her dad talked with us about the city's basketball celebration. After high fives all around, she decided to swing, and her dad decided it was time to go inside where her mother was waiting. The spell was broken.
This small person gave me the gift of a few minutes of concentrated, spontaneous affection, and with it came joy. I had no candy or presents to offer her; she was not, as far as I know, trying to escape an unpleasant chore; she wasn't even sad and seeking comfort. She simply wanted to give and receive love.
How did I respond? I didn't push her away, saying, "Livvy, this is not the time. Can't you see those weeds around the live oak? Get to work." Her affection pleased me to receive as much as it pleased her, evidently, to give.
In my mind's ear afterward, I heard the word of the Lord saying, "If you, then, being evil... how much more your Father in heaven...?"
Can it be that my heavenly Father, just like my earthly one, doesn't care as much about my lists of duties and reading and prayer requests and getting stuff done
The LORD your God is among you,
a warrior who saves.
He will rejoice over you with gladness.
He will bring [you] quietness with His love.
He will delight in you with shouts of joy (Zeph. 3:17, HCSB).
He brought me out to a wide-open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me (Ps. 18:19, HCSB).
You will be a glorious crown in the LORD's hand,and a royal diadem in the palm of your God.You will no longer be called Deserted,and your land will not be called Desolate;instead, you will be called My Delight is in Her,and your land Married;for the LORD delights in you,and your land will be married (Isaiah 62:3-5, HCSB).
Jesus answered, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23, HCSB).If you are a child of God through Christ, beloved, your Father delights in you; He delights in me. Let me say that again, in case you missed it the first time:
Your Father delights in you.
May the Lord grant us grace this week to rest, even if only for minutes stolen from pressing responsibilities, in His loving embrace. May His delight in us strengthen and sustain all our obedience by adorning it with joy.
Thank You, Father, for
~Your delight and love for this first-class sinner
~an optimistic report from the sinus doctor that a second surgery may not be needed
~one dawn making a grand entrance, complete with pink feather boa clouds
~lovely, affirming reader comments and mail
~learning from you all and the insights God gives you
~broken hearts with the courage to reach out
~the Lord's grace in blessing broken, fragmented lives offered to Him and in using that very brokenness to nourish others.
~a surprising encouragement that God is working through this blog
~a friend bringing her infant son to meet me and for us (the mom and me) to catch up
~yummy summer salads for lunch with Mom
~Mom bringing a load of groceries so I wouldn't be tempted to go myself
~two of the lowest pain days this week since this flare started
~some high pain mornings, too
~the little red rose blooming out a bit
~prayers not granted: "Did God sometimes not withhold in mercy what we ask, we should be ruined at our own request" (Hannah More, via challies.com).
~husband's working weekends (see preceding item)
~grace to thank You for things when I can't see the blessing in them yet
~freedom to stay indoors
~in air conditioning in nearly a week of consecutive 100F days
~celebrating with my dad on Father's Day
~husband to lean on in unexpectedly difficult church service
(from the gratitude list, #527-548)