Monday, October 29, 2012

Revisiting "Revisiting Delight"

Today the bonnie wee lass next door was leaving for school as Ebony and I returned from our walk. Not wanting to interrupt her departure routine, as she was already being buckled into her seat, we crept past unnoticed, or so we thought.

"Kissteena! Kissteena!" I heard over my shoulder, and there she was running down her driveway to give us a hug. Last week was not my favorite week ever, so that was a welcome Monday morning surprise.

(In case you were wondering, she will be dressed as a Disney princess Wednesday evening and ought to be flying her magic carpet to our house for candy as she makes her rounds.)

Her vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds since the following post from a year and a half ago, but the sentiment still holds true. Even if it didn't, she's studying martial arts now, so it behooves me to stay on her good side.

One evening last week, Allen and I returned from a brief outing at the same time as our neighbor returned from work. We exchanged greetings and let him know we'd referred a family member to his business. Then he asked if we wanted to see his toddler, "Olivia," who was in the truck, too. Of course, we did.

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?"

"'Ehs."

"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."

"Dance."

"What else...did you take a nap for grandma?"

"Nap," she nodded.

"Did you...play outside? Kind of hot for that, though."

"Pay outside."

"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 as I do? as He does my spending time with Him, in His Word, prayer, and worship, without an agenda, but just for the pleasure of each other's company? Can it be that the God of the universe even takes pleasure in my company? Can it be that the commands to learn and keep His Word and to pray are not only good for me in an eat-your-vegetables kind of way but as a means of being close to each other?

Apparently so:
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.

This week I personally need to revisit the practice of delight and celebration and reorient my practice of spiritual disciplines (which are primary means of experiencing His love and delight) around the starting principle that He loves me and wants me more than my agenda, even if it's an agenda I thought I'd received from Him.

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.

************************************************
Reviewing the last week, I'm giving thanks to our Father for
His trustworthiness no matter what ~ a lovely lunch fellowship to conclude the fall Bible study time ~
sharing a friend's sorrows ~ disappointing news that the pink spot on my scalp is basal cell carcinoma ~
caring for sick husband ~ Ebony's sleepy smell (like Frito's) ~ helping Eb with his new puzzle toy ~
beautiful sunset on rare evening walk ~ burger place that delivers ~
perfectly timed prayer words in a blog postCraftLit starting Jane Eyre ~
learning to praise and thank even when that doesn't yield peaceful feelings ~
kind, funny medical staff at dermatological surgery clinic ~ a week with no away-from-home appointments ~
getting back on track learning new Scripture by heart, Eph. 2:1-2 this week
(Joy Dare, # 7790-7804)

We're praying for y'all who are in Hurricane Sandy's path. May God protect you!

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