Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hi there, folks! No time for a "real" post today, and since I've neglected you for so many days in a row, I decided to post something from my hand-written journal. This entry is dated 2/7/2008:

Thursdays are such wonderful days for me right now. Chloe and I spend every Thursday (mostly in our PJ's) together playing at home.

Her favorite activity this week is playing dress-up. The game goes something like this:

I am sitting on the couch reading/doing homework/emailing/watching TV. Chloe, who at that moment is sitting next to me reading, hops down off the couch and disappears into her room. My mommy-ears perk up as I hear her drawers (the very ones I just organized yesterday) opening and closing, opening and closing, opening and closing.

Finally, she walks out with a purple jeweled hat on her head.

She comes into the room and stands quietly - smiling with anticipation. I can feel her eyes watching me, waiting until I finally look up.

The following moments are filled with "Oh! Chloe that hat is so pretty! You look so pretty in that hat! What a good job you did picking that out!" and Chloe's delighted squeals that alternate between "AAAT! and AAAW!" (Chloe's version of "Hat" and "Aww, how pretty.")

She then promptly removes the hat to show me her hair (all three of them). At this, I act shocked and say, "Well! What pretty hair you have under that hat!"

She then proceeds to (my favorite part) tucking her chin down to touch her right shoulder, dramatically lifting her left hand into the air, wiggling her fingers, and "dancing" around the living room while saying "Awww!"

As soon as this pageantry is complete, she once again disappears into her room to find yet another hat or headband. This process is repeated about fifty ga-jillion times before she tires of the activity (or I distract her with some other activity because - lets face it - there are only so many ways to compliment a hat).

And each time we play this game, I am reminded of two statements that have completely changed my interactions with Chloe.

One of them was by, of course, Oprah. She was talking about children's sense of self-worth and self-value, and she says there is one thing that every child asks to determine their value, "Do your eyes light up when I walk in the room?"

She goes on to say that so many moms look at their children when they walk into a room, and glance them over to make sure they look OK:

Is his nose clean?

Did she wash behind her ears?

Did he brush his teeth?

Are there any stains on her shirt?

Us mothers do this, not with a critical spirit, but with a spirit of love. We want our child to feel (and look) taken care of.

But from the child's perspective, all they see is: "When I walk into the room, they will be pointing out all my flaws."

And so I think about this statement almost every time Chloe walks into a room where I am: "Do your eyes light up when I walk into the room?"

The second statement is from "Captivating" by John and Staci Eldridge. Staci says (and I'm paraphrasing): Every little girl loves to be delighted in. This is a reflection and likeness of God, who also loves when His beloved delights in Him.

It is these two statements that pound in my conscience as my little girl's tiny fingers wave through the air while she dances and shows off her pretty hair.

I want her to see that my eyes light up when she walks in the room.

I want to touch the place in her heart that is so much like God.

I want her to be delighted in.

These are the thoughts that I revel in each day as we play this dress-up game.

But today, in the midst of all this procession, another thought hit me that brought me to tears:

There is an overwhelming joy in my heart, as a mother, when I am able to delight in her beauty. Greater than any joy I have ever known is this feeling that I get when I watch her dance.

I LOVE that she feels loved enough and secure enough to show off her beauty without inhibitions.

She is confident in my love - ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENT that I will not mock her or reject her or... ignore her. As a matter of fact, I can almost guarantee that those thoughts have never crossed her mind.

I'm sure that when she walks through that bedroom door and marches down that long hallway with the hat on her head, her only thought is that I will be pleased with her and that I will delight in her beauty.

But how often do I approach my Heavenly Daddy with fear that He will mock me or reject me... or ignore me? When all He really wants is to delight in me. How much joy it must bring to His heart when I am able to come before Him with the uninhibited knowledge that He will think I am perfectly beautiful!

And how freeing for me... to know that no matter how ridiculous my hat or how uncoordinated my dance, His eyes light up when I walk in the room.

Now doesn't that just make you want to change the way you pray? The way you present yourself to Him? The way you dance before Him?

If you were completely and utterly confident in the the fact that HE WILL DELIGHT IN YOU, how would that change the way you go before Him?

I want to be just like Chloe.

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The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood