It was one of those moments I wish I’d had the camera ready in order to capture the sweet perfection of, though a photo wouldn’t have done it justice. It was one of those moments I hope stays emblazed in my memory till I’m old and gray. It was one of those moments when I looked and realized that life is moving too quickly. It was one of those moments that drove me to quiet tears at the simple beauty of the heart.
After two very long days of working a tournament and not seeing the kids but a mere hour or two, my husband, Kyle, was able to work a bit in the morning and then come home for lunch and a couple of extra hours until the next game started. I heard him and Maggie, my three-going-on-fifteen-year-old, quietly whispering by the front door as he walked in.
She announced that she had a secret and couldn’t tell me. It was soon made known that after lunch, Mags and Daddy were “going out for a while.”
Oh, the scheming.
After picking like a bird at her lunch, she announced she was done and needed to go get ready. Typically, it’s like pulling teeth to get the child ready to go anywhere, but this time was special. We quickly noticed how sacred this time was in her three-year-old heart.
She pulled a dining room chair into her room in order to reach high in the closet and pick out just the right outfit for spending time with her daddy. She hollered out, “Hey daddy! I’m gonna wear jeans, just like you!” Then she proceded to also choose her new butterfly shirt and some flip-flops. We waited. She then made her grand entrance, a princess fit for a ball.
Unfortunately, her shoes were on the wrong feet, but it just wouldn’t do to sit there on the floor and correct them. She ran back to her room.
We peeked in to see what she was doing. There, in the middle of her room, she had arranged her little pink chair, just so, facing her closet and conveniently next to her much-loved Rapunzel dress, spread out across the floor. She switched her shoes — twice actually, to get it right — then made another entrance.
Her hair was a disaster, but instead of letting me fix it, she proudly stated she could do this by herself also. She then grabbed a pink headband and zipped into her room and onto the pink chair.
Kyle smiled at me and said, “I think she’s excited to be spending time with her daddy.”
As we looked in on her once again, I saw not my baby girl, but a young lady, fussing with her headband to look perfect for her daddy. The reality that she is so quickly growing up almost took my breath away as I sat and relished in the love of a little girl for her own handsome prince … her daddy.
As my tears pooled up, I had to excuse myself for fear of troubling her. But, in those few seconds, my mind flashed to what lies ahead: to seeing her stand in front the mirror getting ready for prom or for her wedding. I prayed that this first moment of pure innocence, beauty, and love would never escape my memory.
As they walked away to the car, she shot me an award-winning smile and a hearty wave, thrilled to have this special time out.
I have to wonder if God ever feels the same way about us? When He is looking down, saying, “Daughter, I’m ready to spend some special time alone with you!” do we in turn jump with excitement and anticipation of being alone with Him? Do we take care to clothe ourselves to look like Him? Do we sit alone in our special chair, the only one that will suffice, as we prepare ourselves to meet with our Heavenly Father? Do we approach Him as He calls us to in Matthew 19:14, as a child, and say, “Here I am!”
I know that I’m guilty of not having this attitude of eagerness every time He calls me to spend time with Him. All too often, there is some chore, chaotic situation, or deeply enticing novel that I apologetically (and pathetically) offer as an excuse as to why I can’t push aside everything for Him.
As a parent, I now have a small glimpse of the heartbreak He must feel when I won’t take Him up on His offer of allowing me to slow down, climb up into His loving arms, and be loved.
There is great comfort, however, in knowing that even when I continue to put my shoes on the wrong feet, or my headband is askew, I’m still beautiful in the eyes of my Daddy, my King, my Savior. He doesn’t require me to look perfect or have it all together, He simply asks for me, His daughter.
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Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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