My sweet Little,

You were sitting like such a big boy in the shopping cart, sporting the teething necklace I normally wear like a pro, and taking in all of the action at our local Publix. Kiki had come to visit and was hanging out with you while I placed an order at the deli. I turned to see you had made a very enthusiastic new friend.

She was a middle-aged woman whose youngest child had just turned thirteen, she shared as she cooed over your chubby thighs. She explained that it was good for babies to be fat for their brain development. You looked at me as if to say, “Is it a compliment that she is calling me fat?” You babbled, smiled, and showed off an array of your most adorable expressions as she continued to shower you with compliments of how cute you were. I began to wonder if your head would be able to fit through the door on our way out as you basked in the limelight. We eventually said our goodbyes, only to run into her and her husband one more time in front of the frozen vegetables. She again proclaimed her love for you, to which you smiled and then looked at me as if to say, “Mom, do we know her?”

It didn’t stop with this sweet woman; we drew a crowd at the checkout counter as well. While your introverted mother was somewhat uncomfortable with all of the attention, you were not. Once again I was struck by one of your sweetest gifts: joy.

You are a carrier of joy, my love. No one has ever told you that who you are is insufficient. No one has pressured you to change or adapt in order to be a worthy recipient of their love and affection. As you are fully yourself, you radiate joy to others. It goes beyond making someone else happy, or even being happy yourself; there is something inherently beautiful about seeing someone be completely their self.

It amazes me on a daily basis that you are so full of delight. You have the gentlest and most flexible of spirits that redefines “go with the flow” type clichés. Loved ones melt over Facetime and drive hours just to see you; I have never seen you meet a stranger. Even when your world is upside down, your schedule tossed to the wayside, and your day devoid of active exploration, you remain full of joy. I cannot tell you the good that does to my worried mama heart when our days feel so chaotic and unstable, as many have during this transition.

You possess a treasurable trait that I hope continues to grow with you; an awareness that your joy and your circumstances are not inextricably connected. As I observe you, I am so challenged to remember and cling to that same awareness and to choose joy regardless of circumstance. At some point I started to believe the lies that come against my identity and self-worth, I exchanged the truth and the joy that it carries for falsity. Bit by bit I lost myself. Without even knowing it, you have introduced me to the beauty, restoration, hope and joy that truth carries by just existing as you are. Perhaps it comes from the security of knowing you are loved, wanted, and cared for; which I hope you experience every day of your life. Perhaps, and I am more confident of this, it comes because every aspect of your personality, every tailored trait and bestowed gift is divinely inspired and intentionally purposed by God Himself. Perhaps both are true.

As I grow in motherhood, the Lord continues to impress one thing on my heart: I am loved, wanted, cared for, divinely inspired and intentionally purposed by God Himself, too. We all are. It cannot be true for you but not applicable to me. I cannot pick and choose which words of God apply to me based on my feelings or perceptions; and so if I am to believe God’s word is true for you, I must believe it is true for me as well.

There is an inherent beauty displayed to the world when we walk in our God-given identity that ushers joy into every moment. Joy: not because things are great and we feel happy, but because we are loved, wanted and cared for by Holy God. Joy: not because our circumstances call for it, but because Christ has set us free.

May you never outgrow the joy you carry. May you always walk in the truth of who you are in Christ.

Love,

Mom

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