Calling for Daddy

There is a game that Matt plays with Laura every night that he’s home when she’s going to sleep. She sits on my lap and as he turns to leave her room she calls out, “Daddy!” He will come running back over and give her a kiss and say “Goodnight! Jesus loves you.” They will go back and forth about five times before he finally leaves the room. She just giggles with happiness and love for her daddy. And I’d venture to say that these few moments are some of Matt’s most precious, favorite times. No lie, almost every night I get tears in my eyes as I watch this show of pure love and affection. 

Laura has this amazing love and trust in her Daddy. Already at just 18 months old, she knows that he is her safe place, her little clown, and her protector. While I hold my breath sometimes at the games he invents with her thinking surely this will end in a broken limb, she trust him completely. Just like I have my little games and secret jokes, Matt and Laura have their own little routines and games. 

Since we are so blessed to have Matt working from home, Laura gets to see him for brief moments throughout the day. She’s just recently started to go to the bedroom doorknob and try turning it to get to Matt while he works. She goes up to the door and says, “Daddy” whenever she hears any noise coming from the office area. She just adores her time with him. Again, I’m almost 100% positive that Matt loves these times just as much, or maybe even more.

In the moments after their little goodnight game I sing to Laura and rock her for a while. I find myself reflecting on how much love Laura has for her Daddy and he for her. Many times my mind wanders and I think about how God, our heavenly Father, must love the times when we remember call to him. Through the work of His Son, Jesus, we are His sons and daughters. We get to call the Almighty Creator our Dad. Galatians 4:4-7 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

As a now redeemed child of God I know I can talk to Him whenever I want. I can have time with Him by simply seeking Him. When I am scared, hurt, or in need, I find it easy to call out to my Father in heaven. Prayer flows quickly when I an falling and need help. But when things are well and I don’t have any major hardships to endure, I don’t find myself calling out for my Father all the often. I wish I were more like Laura is with Matt when it comes to craving my heavenly Father’s love, to delight in reading His Word. I want to be filled with pure desire and joy at the thought of hearing God talk to me through His Word. 

One of the most amazing things about God’s love for me is that it never waivers, is unconditional, and doesn’t depend one ounce on my efforts towards Him. He will love me regardless of how often I remember to pray. He will love me even when I’d be considered unlovable by others. One of my favorite old hymns, “Children of the Heavenly Father,” says it so sweetly:

 Children of the heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

  God His own doth tend and nourish,
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them,
In His mighty arms He bears them.

 Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

 Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.
Lyrics: Karolina Wilhelmina Sandell-Berg

While I count the love between Matt and Laura as one of my biggest blessings, there is nothing on earth that will ever compare to the indescribable grace and overflowing love that God has for us, His children. He is our Daddy that heals all wounds, removes all sin, and greets us with patience and mercy as we seek Him. He has prepared the most amazing place for us in His heavenly home. There is nothing sweeter than the Father’s love for us.

Dear Father,
Thank you for loving me despite all my shortcomings. Thank you for being the Daddy I can always turn to, the one who never leaves or forsakes. Thank you for the small reflection of Your love for me when I see Matt and Laura together. Help me to remember You when things are good and easy as much as when I call to You in times of need.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen. 


A Look in the Mirror

At breakfast this morning I was sitting next to Laura. She was enjoying her waffles & yogurt, and I my almond-flax cereal. While eating I was reading a news article on my phone. I glanced over at Laura and saw a strange sight. She was completely hunched over her plate, rounded shoulders and all, staring at me. In that moment I realized something…she was mimicking my every move. I was so concerned with reading that I had hunched over within inches of my bowl, completely absorbed in what I was doing. We had a similar moment the other day when after I had put on my make-up for church, Laura took my mirror and pretended to be putting her own make-up on. She’s done this with hand washing, cooking, and countless other things. 

Usually I think it’s completely adorable and so observant of her to notice my little nuances & behaviors. Today was different. It made me realize that not only does she pick up on the good, but also the bad, and even the ugly. She is  a mirror reflection of those around her, especially me since her entire day is spent with Mommy. Yes, she has a free will which she utilizes constantly, but she is a product of her environment. She will learn what she sees modeled for her in every day life. My values, beliefs, attitude, way of life–all of it will become her frame of reference, her “normal” that she will use to compare to the world around her. It will become her “known.” 

There’s a huge responsibility that comes with this realization for me. What do I want her to see? What do I want her to mimic? What do I want her point of reference to be? I’ve been working hard on this idea. It’s been swirling around in my mind for months now. What kind of woman am I & what do I want Laura to see are two questions that go hand in hand. 

Rather than write a list of what I definitely don’t want to see in my little reflection (which I interestingly find much easier to come up with), I’m trying to compile the qualities of a Christian wife and mother. There’s no better place than God’s Word, especially Proverbs 31, which I’ve been pondering and trying to make practical on a daily basis:

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Verses 25 & 26 seem to strike me every single time I read this section. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” On my best days, Laura seems some of this. She seems a mother who is gentle, soft-spoken, playful, wise, and faithfully trusting in God’s plan. On my worst days, I shudder to think of what she sees: a mother self-absorbed, angry, short-tempered, demeaning of her husband, loud, cruel, burdened with worry, and foolish. And sadly what do I see in my little mirror, Laura, on those days, the same behaviors–meltdowns, tears, anger, frustrations, fear, and sadness. May God forgive me of those times and wipe them from my daughter’s eyes and mind. 

I’m thankful that lately, through reading more of God’s Word and lots of prayer, He has helped me to have many more good days that bad. However, Proverbs 31 is still a tall order, overwhelming sometimes. I fall short every day, multiple times a day. If I don’t like how I see my daughter acting, I’d better take a very close look at myself and our environment. I’m hoping that by finally writing these thoughts out I’ll remember to keep in mind that I have a little reflection and shadow following me. I want her to see Jesus’ love and grace coming from me–unconditional love, patience, and gentleness. Thankfully, I’m not working on this alone. God has placed people in my life who see the tremendous privilege that motherhood is and they strive to act in a manner worthy of being called noble. He’s blessed me with a husband who is forgiving and patient, who points me in the right direction. He has given me His Word to guide me as I make a million choices a day. Most importantly He’s given me forgiveness and grace as the most motivating blessing on earth.    

Colossians 3:15-17: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Dear Jesus,
You were all I want to be. Your perfection has granted me eternal salvation. Help me to live my life as a reflection of my thankfulness. Help me show Laura how to live a godly life in every way. Help me to become a mirror of Your goodness and love so she may show Your grace all the days of her life. Give me strength to admit when I fail and the courage to try again.
In Your name, I pray, Amen.