Sometimes it blindsides you. The slightest movement or the quickest glance. You are propelled back to a specific time and a specific place. A memory that brings back floods of memories and you nearly drown in the magnitude of it.
Something as simple as a red binder with a yellow paper sticking out of the top, tucked under a lady’s arm at Barnes and Noble. The exact color of your daughter’s ISFP binder. And the yellow paper sticking out the top…so familiar. A lady’s laughter in the coffee shop, and you see in a glance that her life is anything but typical. A man (presumably her husband since she has two kids with her) follows haltingly behind, his hand on her shoulder. The children talk and do the little childish skips and quick, carefree movements only children can do, and they are perfectly comfortable and at ease with the strange sight of their mother leading their father and the mother laughs freely. Happiness and ease exude from them. And they look like a wonderful family in a complex world and you realize that was you…happy and accustomed to the strange grunts and unperceived noises issuing from the one you loved.
Maybe I noticed these things today because my heart was tender. This morning in church, a lovely couple found seats a few rows in front of us. Their daughter was beautiful and her hand was turned at a strange angle as they walked in. No one else (except maybe a therapist 🙂 would have noticed that the hand and forearm were turned outward slightly. My heart started pounding and the music around me just faded into the background as I stared at that sweet girl. When I looked closer, she actually wasn’t so remarkable. Just another cute little girl. To her mommy she was everything though. Just a daughter should be. As her mother turned her around to adjust her in her lap, her arm turned also and the backward looking twist disappeared.
But that one glance was all I could see. My eyes were glued to her, although I politely tried hard not to stare. I can nearly guarantee that girl is perfectly healthy, but that one strange position took me back to another girl and another day that seemed a life time ago. My little Kierra.
I wanted my daughter with her underarm showing. I wanted to have to sit in the back of the sanctuary because she didn’t enjoy crowds. I wanted her wiggles in my arms and her beautiful hair falling around her face and smooth and soft under my fingers. I stood in silence through the song, tears welling up from the bottom of my heart. My eyes filled slowly. And finally, the tears leaked out and ran down my face.
I looked at the little girl in front of us again and knew in my heart she didn’t resemble my daughter at all but some strange longing and attraction drew me. Her mommy held her close and loved her so sweetly and the little girl snuggled close and relaxed. And while I missed my own little girl so so much, a strange thing happened. I had never felt like this ever before. Not in this context. Not this strongly. Not in this way.
My heart was bursting with thankfulness. Thankfulness to the beautiful Loving Heavenly Father who had given me Kierra to love. To call my daughter. To hold and cherish. To laugh and cry with. She taught me to be a mother. She taught me what a daughter is. She taught me the joy of color and pretty things and soft music. She taught me to love to stay at home and the wonderful gift of family. She taught me so much. She taught me what love means. Unconditional love. Love that lets go and still keeps loving and never dies. My heart was so thankful to God. So thankful for the gift He gave me when He gave Kierra. There are no words to explain the depths of how her short three years have changed me. Unraveled me. Elated me. Healed me. And loved me. And it was and still is all a gift from God.
As I sat, with all these emotions of aching for her, and thanking God for her, and tears running down my face, the music gently changed and the beautiful words washed over me and around me as people throughout the church sang ….
Lord, your beautiful!
Your face Is all I seek
And when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me…”
And somehow, the words rolled into a lovely picture in my mind, the beauty of the Lord, the joy on His face as He gazes at beautiful Kierra in Heaven….
the joy and the beauty
th joy and the beauty
And the grace.
As the song ended, one of the pastors got up to speak and spoke of the loving heart of God to us…His children. How He delights in us and keeps His eye on us. How He LOVES us. I can’t remember the words, but I remember the meaning deep in my heart. He is our Father. He loves us tenderly. Gently. Completely. He would never ever allow us to be hurt without something good in mind. He weeps through our pain with us. And He holds me. Just as He holds my daughter.