Tuesday, March 22, 2016

rejoicing with gladness

I'm back after an impromptu hiatus from blogging. I can't even begin to describe the heights and depths of NOISE and CHAOS this household experiences. So much noise, so much laundry, and for me, so many sinus issues (WHY?!).

That said, I'm just here to share some sweetness for today. If you read my last blog post, you know that Clementine and I are still struggling in a few minor areas. One is the HAIR and one is OBEDIENCE (whereas she doesn't struggle with these things with Brad). While we still experience those struggles in addition to the normal struggles of a two-year-old, we have reached a new level of sweetness in our relationship.

During bedtime, our whole family gathers (or at least tries to) on the boys' and Clementine's bed (yes, they're all in one bed, and they like it like that). We often read books and we always pray together. (Clementine's first few prayers were approximately 20 minutes long, but they were the cutest things ever. A bunch of jabber with actual words dotted throughout: "Mommy".... "Daddy"... "Body (Brody"..."Button (Brecken)"... "MeMaw"... "PaPaw".... "Oakee (Oaklee)"... "Ah-men.")

I have never pushed too hard to be close to Clementine during these times. Even with everything going so well, she hasn't seemed interested in lying down near me before bed, and I haven't wanted to push too hard before she was ready. Cuddling before bedtime can make a kid feel pretty vulnerable, you know.

But last night Oaklee was already in bed, and when I came into the kids' room for prayers and bedtime hugs and kisses, Clementine wanted me to lie down beside her on her pillow, with her blanket.

I happily obliged and she snuggled closer until her forehead was touching mine. She peered at me through half-open eyelids, looking me over from the bottom of my chin to the top of my forehead. She began to trace the outline of my face with her tiny fingers, delicately running her fingertips along my eyebrows and down across my chin and then down my neck. I always wonder what she is thinking in moments like these. Did she get time like this with foster moms or was she placed in bed with a quick hand pat? Had she snuggled with anyone before? Had anyone ever delighted in her?

One of my very favorite verses, Zephaniah 3:17, popped into my head....

"The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save; 
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”


To me, this verse describes the depth of love and affection God the Father has for us as his children. It became much more meaningful to me as I began adopting and having children. I would rock my babies to sleep or hold them as they slept, rejoicing over them and their precious little lives, and understand more clearly that God has that same (even more) depth of love for me. 

When Clementine finally came home to us, she was a bit past the stage of rocking to sleep and holding in my arms. Sure, she would let me hold her after the first week or (she LOVES to be carried everywhere), and yes, she would sit with me during the day and hug me and blow kisses as she went outside, but I could not quiet her with my love. Realistically--quite frankly--I often did not rejoice over her with gladness. Please don't put words in my mouth...I rejoiced SO MUCH when she finally came to be with us, and I rejoice over her silly little self often. However, it's also true that I was often so happy that she was finally sleeping and not acting like a toddler--who often seemed to defy and deny only me--that I didn't take much time to rejoice over HER, over the sweet little lady God had created her to be. 

So when she snuggled in close and let me hold her as she rested quietly, feeling my eyelashes and rubbing my cheeks as I held her other hand, I knew that moment was as much for me as it was for her. 

What must it be like to have a Mommy who will rejoice over you with gladness? I hope this is a question Clementine never has to ask again.