“Nooooo mama, I want doooooown!”
“No honey, I can’t let you down, see those big cars? We are in the road and I don’t want you to get squished, I love you too much.”
“No mama, why you love me?”
Elijah had been struggling with behavior this weekend, I had spent two nights praying for wisdom. “Elijah, I love you because you are Elijah. If you act good or bad, I will always love you because you are Elijah.”
“No mama,” he didn’t want the words to sink in. He was eating a mango, the juice running in rivers down his arms. ‘Gracious words promote instruction,’ is what we heard this morning. And instead of a lecture, we allowed our words to flow, like the sticky, yellow rivers, coating him.
“I can’t stop loving you, you are my Elijah.
“I love you Elijah, me too,” said Finley and Maria.
“If you take off your diaper and climb out of your bed, I still love you.” Our words poured out, gracious as a sign of trust on the other end of those words, not our instincts.
He stopped saying no.
He held my hand.
“Thank you,” he said. And I think he meant it.
The next day, after what seemed like endless chances this morning for us to practice grace… to a little boy who tried his hardest to show that he didn’t deserve it, I threw my heart out–and what felt like prudence, and wasn’t sure where it would land, it felt like faith, to trust; “You are so good, you mean so much to me,” allowing truth to flow, unending. Free to give. Freedom.
When he woke up from nap after falling asleep in a mess of hot tears he told me, in a teeny voice,
Looking into my eyes, he squeaked, “I no get out of bed. I no throw toys.” A light was in his eyes as they met mine.
I touched his cheek, his good behavior, although surprising, didn’t change what I saw, I still just saw him, this boy I love. What had taken work, stood in our presence.
Tonight before dinner, he stood outside, sunlight on his chest, picking deep red flowers, so carefully, before presenting them to me–a first. Not one flower, but a careful bouquet, full and rich.
We placed them in a little vase with water, and Finley wouldn’t be outdone, so he made one, too, shoved them in a sippy cup.
One step, of many to come, but grace and trust have made their homes.
“For God’s word is solid to the core; everything he makes is sound inside and out. He loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb-line true. Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction. Psalm 33:4-5//
To trust, blindly it feels, in the words written, and reread them often, because they are the opposite of me, and I always forget. To place myself always in the vicinity of learning, to hear wisdom. To surrender the desire to protect myself, to get the final words, and instead to allow grace–what is not deserved–to be what comes out. Always. Love is free, we can, through God, give it away.
And on the other side of that leap, a promise awaits. But it’s one we each have to experience on our own. God’s goodness, His healing. Waiting for you, to be picked in it’s fullness, bringing life and light , and rich, real beauty.