I found a raccoon in my car.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have lived way too much of my life disconnected from the truth of how God delights in me. Not that he’s delighted in everything that I say and do, but he loves me so dearly that he delights in me, in spite of my imperfections. I know the people probably say it so much that it’s really just a cliché anymore, but becoming a parent has taught me so many things about my relationship with God–things that I just either barely had a vague concept of before, or simply didn’t know at all.
In this season of life my husband and I—though we’re lucky to have two vehicles—only have one vehicle that we can use to transport our kids. Occasionally, this means that we actually have to trade cars during the day. One of us will need to drop off the kids in the morning, but the other one has to be the one to pick them up in the evening. This can make for interesting scenarios that we call “car rodeos”. Today was one of those days, and my husband did something super thoughtful. I work downtown, and as you may know, working in any downtown situation means that parking can be hard to come by. I happen to be very lucky to work for an employer who built their own parking garage and provides spaces to employees free of charge. There also happens to be a few surface level parking spots next to the garage that are near the building that I work in. These spaces are prime real estate (to me), and today I snagged one. But today was also one of those days where my husband and I had to switch vehicles. He started his day at another location, and had to come park in the big garage just before lunch. (Did I mention we work for the same employer? At least for a few more weeks. Some days we do actually get to straight-up carpool). But, instead of parking in the garage and just texting me where I could find the car, my sweet sweet husband actually went to the trouble of pulling out the truck and parking our family car in that space so I wouldn’t have to go hunting for the family car in the parking garage. It was a very thoughtful thing to do and I felt so loved when I found out he done it.
I mention all of this to say that I wasn’t the one who dropped off the kids this morning and when I climbed in the car this evening, I happened to glance in the backseat and notice that my four-year-old had buckled her stuffed animal in her car seat. I’m sure a lot of other mamas out there have seen the exact same thing in their cars— it’s surely not unique to my child. However it was so sweet and precious to me that I happened to glance in the backseat of the car and the story that that little stuffed raccoon told me. It told me that my darling little girl has a sweet and tender heart and cares about her friends; even her little stuffed animals.
It also told me that my husband had patience with her this morning: when he was probably trying to rush to work, and she was probably dawdling in the car buckling up her little stuffed raccoon, he didn’t rush her out. That little raccoon was tucked in safe in her car seat, and that only could’ve happened if he had been patient with her.
I got into the car this afternoon to see this little scene, and all that it told me, and my heart filled with joy. It filled me with joy because I have a precious daughter I love. (Two!) It filled me with joy to imagine the story of my husbands patience. It was a tiny little thing that reminded me to be so deeply grateful. My family is made up 100% of fallible, imperfect, fleshy human beings (myself included). And they are each precious to me.
I climbed into the car tonight and I saw that stuffed animal and it made my heart delight in my daughter, and delight in my family. To be honest, I don’t think I even really understood what that word meant before I had kids. Now that I have these two little people in my life, I begin to understand how God might love me, despite my unworthiness. How I can love these little girls even though they’re so incapable of providing for my needs, or healing me, or counseling me. These two little people are, in a way, a pretty one-sided relationship with my husband and me. I can’t expect them to put the same kind of effort into our relationship that I do. I can’t expect them to split the rent or take care of me when I’m sick, or put food on the table. Yet, despite that I love them so wholeheartedly. I get so much love and joy from them simply because they exist. And, to top it off, the freely love me, without reservation or qualification. It feels like some kind of weird Stockholm syndrome. Then along comes Holy Spirit reminding me that God loves me that way. And while I love my kids imperfectly, God love us perfectly.
I looked at that little raccoon, felt delight for my daughters, and felt God’s delight for us rush in so swiftly that I thought I might just burst.
It is my prayer that God will put something in your path today that will remind you personally how deeply he loves you. Not in a he-loves-everybody-in-general-let’s-go-hug-the-world kind of way but in a specific he-knows-every-hair-on-your head kind of way.
Accepting the truth of God’s Love and his Delight plays a big role in our Victory in Christ.
He delights in you. Are you able to receive that?