I don’t know why, but I’m feeling extra melancholy about my little girl lately. Maybe it’s because she’s in first grade now; or maybe because she’s having her first group sleepover; or perhaps it’s because she has suddenly turned into a Girl with a capital G and I wonder what happened to my baby. At any rate, I’m all sorts of sappy about her and decided I wanted to share some things about her because it’s my blog and I can brag if I want to.
Jaana is a wonderful mixed bag of qualities that only God could distribute. And when you study her and listen to her, it’s amazingly apparent that God truly is the Giver of Life and Creator of All...because she mysteriously has these charming characteristics that do not come from Greg or me. They have to be God-given.
She loves to play. Yes, this is indicative of any six-year-old, but to me it’s more than that. She finds the fun in everything -- grocery shopping, errands, post office, bank -- she wants and expects for any activity to have a level of fun involved. Any experience is an adventure, and sometimes Party Pooper Mommy forgets that the boring things can be fun if I would just change my outlook on them.
She’s caring. She hates it if someone feels left out or has their feelings hurt. She always wants to include everyone. Any time we see the flashing lights of an “am-blee-ance” she is overly concerned for whoever they are going to and wants to pray for them.
She’s creative. Her imagination and creativity are enviable. She can literally sit in front of a pile of dirt with a shovel and be entertained for hours by making up stories as she plays. She’s a great story-teller and a wonderful writer and artist.
She lives in the moment. She holds hands with her best friend at school events. She grasps on to my leg and won’t let go while walking at the park. She’ll gaze at the sky and take a deep breath and say, “Isn’t it so beautiful outside today, Mommy?” Where ever she is, she’s 100% present.
She’s really come out of her shy shell since we moved here and is really letting others see her multi-faceted personality. She’s a quiet but strong leader. She tries her best in just about everything, and is now loving the things that used to be difficult. When she wants to give up, I love watching her try “just one more time” and then seeing that look of confidence wash over her face that she was, indeed, able to do it.
As a parent, there’s something that swells inside your heart for your child that’s unlike anything else. Yes, you have moments of frustration and exhaustion. But then there are those times when you just watch them as they sleep, and you can’t stop running your hand over their head, tears brimming over your love for them. When those times happen, I try so hard to remember that God feels that way about me, too. That I frustrate him, I exhaust him, but his heart is always swelling at the thought of me.
God is so much more like a child than an adult:
He loves to play. Nothing is ever boring for him. He parts seas and makes donkeys talk. He is the joy in all things. (John 10:10)
He’s caring. He’s always concerned for the ones that are lost. The prodigals, the lonely, the outcasts, the rejected all touch his heart. (Luke 15:4)
He’s creative. He does things with wild imagination and reckless abandon, in ways we could never conceive or imagine. (Isaiah 55:9)
He lives in the moment. He’s always present right where he is. Not looking ahead and all there is to do, or what didn’t get done. (John 11)
As I observe and study my girl, I pray that I can more and more receive God through her. That when I see her twirling in the grass or remarking on how beautiful a flower is, I can in that moment see God speaking to me through her...telling me to slow down and play. To stop looking at my own needs and focus on others. To think outside the box and be open to wherever that takes me. And to accept where I am, instead of thinking about where I’m not.
“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them.
The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it:
‘Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me.
These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.’
Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.”
(Mark 10:13-15, MSG)