Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Searching for the Moon

Jake wants to be Jake for Halloween- Jake, the pirate, that is.  The costume is less than a month old and it’s been worn so much I’m pretty sure we could retire it on November 1. 

This is my child who does not dress up.  Let me rephrase that.  He loves to pick out his own outfits and create hilarious un-fashion statements and up until 2013 couldn’t care less that everybody else wears costumes on Halloween.  When he was a wee three months old, we dressed him in a fluffy green dinosaur costume and took way too many pictures than were necessary to capture the memory and now I’m wondering if that had something to do with his refusal to wear a costume of any kind for the past two years. 

But this year, he is the brave, the adventurous, the conquering… Pirate Boy. And the bonus- pirates wear boots!

I love my son for so many different reasons.  But my favorite thing about Jake is that I can never, ever figure him out. When he wanted a telescope to go along with his pirate costume, I thought I knew why.  I reasoned that it must be for searching for treasure or scoping out the next adventure.  Nope. The reason he sleeps with the thing and tucks it under his arm on the way out the back door at 6:30 am is so that he can get a real good look at the moon. 

Another question I’ve pondered is whether or not we read Goodnight Moon one too many times.  Jake loves the moon!  He is constantly searching for it and celebrates wildly when he finds it.  He will make you believe that the single greatest thing about any given day is finding the moon.  He will make sure you know he has found it. 

Jake knows it can’t always be seen up in the sky, but that does not erase his determination.  He doesn’t pout or cry when it’s hidden.  He just folds up his telescope, tucks it back underneath his arm and waits.  But he never truly stops looking for the moon.  And because he never stops looking for it, Jake can find the moon on a sunny day.

I don’t search for the moon just because I might find it.  It’s just the moon, after all.  And this grieves me.  How many other things do I miss because my sense of wonder has gone missing?  What if, like Jake, I woke up every day with determination and belief strapped to my hip and looked and looked and searched and searched for something, anything? Could I be an adventure-seeker who never gives up until I find that one treasured thing?

Psalm 25:3 says, No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame.  Hope is translated “to wait, look eagerly for, expect.”  

What if instead of the moon, it was Hope that I scoured each day for?  Would I find it in the most unlikely places?  At unexpected times?  Would I keep looking even if I couldn’t see it for days?  Would I celebrate in awe and wonder when eventually it was found?  Would I smile and go about my day, keeping it to myself or would I grab those around me, and shout at the top of my lungs, “There it is! There it is!”?

Looking in the Mirror

My sweet Lilly Grace has entered the fabulous and frilly, enchanted world of make-believe.  “Twirl me, Daddy,” comes from an honest place and melts hearts instantly.  Lilly wants to be a Princess.  It started back in the summer when every outfit had to be a dress.  The only princess she even knew of was Cinderella and her brother, Jake, seemed to enjoy watching it more than she did!  But she insisted on a dress… every day.

Her favorite kind of dress is a long one, one that spins and sways, and hovers just above the floor.  Her plastic pink slippers are the finishing touches to her dreamy apparel.  Once completely dressed, she will do two things. 

First, she will always, always, always ask to look in the mirror.  She loves the mirror in her Daddy’s closet because it is a great big, long mirror that shows every inch of her.

Lilly only smiles in the mirror.  She never, ever changes her dress afterwards, because the looking is only part of the thrill.  She only expects to find beauty.  She knows she is elegant.  She believes she is special, important, unique.  Looking at herself in the mirror is like opening a gift.

The next thing Lilly will do after looking in the mirror is quite simple.  She gets out her tea cups and her cookies and throws a party. She is not the guest of honor.  No one serves her.  She serves them- all twenty-six of them sometimes.  She is happy serving her stuffed animal friends, and she knows she is beautiful.

When I watch my daughter, I wonder if it will always be that way.  Will she always see what she sees now when she peers at herself in the mirror?  It terrifies me because when I watch her, it seems foreign.  It seems distant.  I struggle to see beauty in the mirror.  I look hard and always find imperfection.  I usually change the dress- a few times.  And I know that when I finally feel semi-confident, I usually want it to be all about me. 

What if I looked at myself and expected to see beauty, not physical beauty but the inside-kind that counts? The kind that comes from Jesus moving in and taking up space in my heart.  The kind of beauty that I have nothing to do with.  What if I believed I was a gift, a precious jewel?  If I was secure in who I am, would it change the way I loved others? Would I see them first, serve them first?  Would it start to be less and less about me?

The other night I was reading in Isaiah.  I was reading a chapter that has become so precious and familiar to me- a place I go when my soul needs to hear I am loved and I have purpose.  I will never know for sure what made me linger on this word, but I have a feeling it was my Creator pouring His love right into my heart.  The word was jewels.  I stopped.  I parked.  I prayed.  Then I looked up this word, because when you are obsessed with words and their meanings that is just what you do.

The Hebrew word for jewels is kÄ•liy.  My fingers trembled as I clicked the button that allowed me to hear this word spoken out loud.  Kelly.  My name.  Personal, and spoken straight to my forgetful heart.  I am a jewel.  I am beauty.  I am wanted.  I have purpose.  It frightens me and thrills me all at once to say these words as I look into the mirror of my soul.  But when I walk away, I know that I am not the only one who is unique and cherished and beautiful.  You are, too.

You are a vessel, made with a purpose.
You are an instrument in God’s hand.
You are a jewel, reflecting beauty and wonder. 
You are precious and loved and created to bear the image of God. 

And you are a princess, too.  Not the make-believe, fairy tale kind- you are a daughter of the One True King, and He is wildly in love with you.

Now repeat these words in front of your mirror until you believe them completely. 
Then, throw a party and tell your girlfriends that they are beautiful, too!