In the days that my belly was taut and swollen and I still ate everything in sight there were few things I loved like sitting in the rocking chair in Avery’s nursery and having my quiet time with the Lord. Soaking in God’s presence, I would scan the room and think about how carefully I had chosen each dainty pink and white item that graced the walls. Sometimes I would open up the dresser drawers and run my fingers over her tiny clothes, smiling in unbridled joy and anticipation. And I would weep. How could I not? How could I do anything else? How could I sit amongst this place that I had so lovingly prepared for the daughter whose face I’d never seen even as she danced within my womb and not think about my heavenly Father lovingly preparing a place for me? How could I not think about the scripture that says he dances over me with singing and not be moved? What kind of love was this? What kind of God is he?
Not long ago my younger sister had a precious baby girl and posted an update on social media that was so familiar to my Mom heart. “Watching my squishy one sleep. Must not wake her. Must let her sleep. But I want to hold her.” Yes. How familiar were those longings to hold your little one dear, to gaze upon them lovingly even as they slept. The inability to take your eyes off of them. How easy it is, even now to be overcome by their beauty. How can something as simple as breathing be so beautiful? And yet, this is how the God of the universe feels about me? The very thought leaves me utterly undone.
When Avery was six months old she had NO FEAR. One of her favorite pastimes was attempting to jump from the couch to the coffee table on her stomach. Without hesitation, she would thrust herself into the air and cackle with delight as she soared. What she was too small to know or understand was that I was holding her tiny foot and cushioning her fall. How many times have I jumped with no understanding of who was catching me as I fell?
I will never forget the moment of realization and little baby hatred in her eyes the day that Avery looked down and saw my hand attached to her foot, cramping her mid-air style. She didn’t want my protection. She attempted to shake my hand off. And when it didn’t work she cried in frustration. How many times have I cried in protest and frustration upon finding the hand of God holding my foot, protecting me?
At three years old, Avery is right about everything. She ends most sentences with, “right?” If you contradict her even in the gentlest of ways, she’ll tell you why you’re wrong and then wrap up with, “Okay, mom?” How many times have I tried to convince God of why I am right and he is wrong and then wrapped up with, “okay God?”
I haven’t loved Avery anymore or less at any given stage.She’s my daughter. I enjoy her endlessly at all of these stages. I still love to watch her sleep. I cherish the moments when she wants to snuggle up next to me and be close. I laugh when she tries to convince me that weeds from the yard are alive. How could I be mad? She’s three. In fact, I’m so proud of her growth. I was looking at her the other day in total wonder. Her legs alone were longer than her entire body was when she was so born. “Avery, how did you get so tall and smart?” I asked her. “I just growed.” She said. It’s true. And I’m excited about the growth that I know is to come. Just like my Heavenly Father is excited about mine. Just like he loves and enjoys me at all of my various stages.
So often we are hard on ourselves and one another for not being where we think we should be or where someone else might be. What if instead we chose to celebrate the growth that has already occurred? What if we simply enjoyed all of the nuances of today? Our Heavenly Father is loving us, enjoying us just as we are. Wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could do the same?