"Momma, can I read you a prayer I wrote?" Elizabeth asked as we drove to church.
"Dear God," she began, "I know you made me special. Thank you for loving me. Amen. That's a short one."
I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw her smiling to herself as she looked out the window at the trees going by...
I smiled, too. Because she knows. She knows that she is loved... she knows that she is loved with a love that is bigger and more important than anything I can shower upon her. God loves my little girl and has had His eye on her since the very beginning. When she was laying in an orphanage in China, He loved her and had a plan for her. Today, it makes her smile to herself as she rides in our family van.
Twenty-seven years ago, I learned this truth for the very first time. (I wrote about my experience last year and you can read about it here.) As I reflect on it all again, I am struck by a different view. One decision, one realization of truth, does not only change one life. It is so much bigger than that.
When I was sixteen years old, I found myself at a Christian camp understanding God's love and salvation for me in a way I had never understood it before. So, I stood up and fumbled my words and cried my tears and fell head-long into God's grace for me. Yes, my young life was drastically changed and the path my feet found themselves upon was unlike any I had seen prior to that day. My motivations, my habits, my language, my desires... all changed. But, there was so much more...
Twenty-seven years ago, I could not know that I would one day sit in church while my son, Noah, stood to profess his own young faith. Twenty-seven years ago, I could not imagine that my Benjamin would think so deeply and question so thoroughly the communion table and our practices there. Long ago, when I was only 16 years old, I did not know that my Josiah would learn to sing praise songs before he could speak and would spontaneously spring into a short sermon starting at age three. Way back then, I could not dream of Elizabeth's sweet face, smiling with happiness as she read a prayer she had written to her God.
My marriage to a Godly man, my service to a Christian college, my teaching Bible to first grade students in my class, none of it... not any of it... could be found on the path I was on before August 9, 1983.
It looks like just a choice. Choose to accept God's love for me, or not. Today, I see anew that what we choose today has everything to do with where we are tomorrow. That choice, however, goes far beyond ourselves and impacts deeply the lives of those we love today and those we cannot even imagine loving years from now. Our choices take on a different hue when we step back a little bit and try to see what comes from what we take into our lives. It is bigger. It is harder. It is potentially, deeply blessed.
What strikes me now as I sit here tonight is that there was a choice that happened before mine. A choice that was made out of overwhelming love for someone who was yet to come. Because God knew me and saw me long before I had ever come to be. And way back then, He showered His love on me and chose me and wrapped his eternal arms around the-me-who-would-come-to-be and around my babies, too.
I love that those arms are big and loving and open enough to find the space for you to be enfolded, too. I hope you know this... because the path that is found when you accept that Truth is beautiful and gracious and good.
The journey is a good one... and the fact that I get to walk it with my husband and children alongside is a gift that outshines anything I even knew to desire.
And, I am grateful.
Blessings on your day.
Carvel Ice Cream: Free Junior Cone on April 27, 2017! - Stop by Carvel Ice Cream on Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 3-8pm to get a free junior soft serve cone. Limit 1 per person. Thanks, Freebies 4 Mom!
14 hours ago