After the final kisses, the final prayers...after the last story book is closed and toes are tucked tightly beneath quilts- I sip my tea. Every night I drink it in, leaning with one ear bent toward the hall- hoping tonight might be just the one where bed time goes off without resistance. But the creak in the wood below my feet betrays one of my babes headed my direction.
Up. Again. Deep Breath.
Peeking from around the corner, almost whispering..."Mom? Will you pray for me again?"
I can see the look in her eyes, the questioning behind the pools of brown sugar staring through me. She's aching...wondering if my answer will be an embrace or if I'll send her back to bed in frustration.
Right there- those eyes- they startle me. I am earnestly shaken by my own eagerness to send her on her way- to speed through the sacred and deny the giving of a blessing.
I'm stung by the memory of being a wide eyed child, still awake, longing for assurance, to be held and wanted. My mind wanders further...How many times have I longed for the goodness of God himself, for all the gifts the Scriptures tell us he longs to give his children and how many times have I wondered, as my sweet girl is now, if I'd interrupted him by taking too many trips down the hall after lights out to be worthy of favor? Too many. And yet, God gives so freely. So generously. He waits for me to want him and delights in my coming.
I'm guilty of forgetting this. I have lived too many moments acting like I am still something old and not my own true self. The real me is redeemed and reconciled and made new.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." - 2 Corinthians 2:17
And this is what I want to give, this is what I want to leave to my sweet, wide eyed girl, what I want to leave to all my children: Something new: the announcement and reminder of their own true selves.
The real me lives out of a place where I know I am family. The real me knows that I am a beloved daughter, a child of God he loves to lavishly care for.
"The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs- heirs with Christ." -Romans 8 :18-17a
And right there in my hallway, walking my girl back to her bed, I can see clearly that the love I freely give, right this minute, the blessing I bestow on my child, the delight I take in holding her hand pours into who she knows she is: Beloved Daughter. My love for her is what God is using right now to reveal His love for her, to display his glory to her young heart, to generously meet her needs and comfort her soul. And the sheer pleasure I show in being with her pales in comparison to the delight over her that comes from God alone.
"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with singing." - Zephaniah 3: 17
My sweet child- right in my arms, gently asking for a blessing...what an honor to be the one to bear it unto her. I cup her chin and kiss her head and we bow and I can feel her small body relax. Restful assurance of being loved fills her soul, deep breaths overtake her, andshe falls asleep.