The stars shine down in the black blue sky tonight, whispering reminders of my Father whose presence is faithful and with us even in the valley, even in the darkness. I never knew that in a single day one's heart could be filled, broken, overflowed again and blessed so freely before it begins to sting with heartache and burst with laughter and rest at the end of the day knowing that it has learned and been taught by His mighty hand on the six small girls we had in preschool church today. A paragraph for each so you can get a taste of the blessing too.
The youngest of the bunch is new to all of us and known to some as the little chipmunk that waddles into church, sleepy eyed and smiling, ready to give hugs and secretly knowing that after church we will play. She doesn't know which color crayon connects to her name. The girl smiles as she calls her brother by his traditional name, seeking him out in the crowd, unaware that the language of her people is slipping away quickly and that she's one of just a handful of children I know who uses that Sahaptin word for brother. Love flows out of this little one, and He, out of His perfect love, is showing it to me from the color queen one Sunday at a time.
Her cheeks scrunch up when she smiles and make her eyes tiny, and her voice is much softer than that of the other girls. She comes with her hair done and is eager to help pass out snacks. Her love for those around her feels unconditional when we're in that preschool classroom, and I can't help but wonder where all of us will be in ten years; she'll be thirteen, I'll be twenty-seven. Watching her love others gives me hope: hope for her generation, and hope for the Lord to work miracles in His earth.
"Now you're an Indian! I'm an Indian too, but I don't always wear feathers," is what I heard as a five-year-old stuck a peacock feather in my hair tonight while we watched four baby peacocks follow their mama across the yard. After the feather was in place, she grabbed her cousin's hand and pulled her close, their hands held, to watch the babies and mama duck under the fence and out of sight. They turned back to face me, giggling, squinty eyed as the sun set. My heart couldn't help but swell and ache all at once.
I've written about the girl whose name is music before, and I've written about the Lord's plan and purpose that is so far beyond my own, a concept my heart battles daily, moment by moment, when it comes to resting in it. He is still teaching me through the music girl. Today the lesson was one of praying for hope and joy in the life of this dear one, as well as for the thoughts of my own heart to be ones of contentment and peace in His will. In Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, John Piper writes in regard to our human questionings of God's will: "Moreover, we will not always, right now, have these answers for ourselves. But in glory the answers will be clear, when we will see Jesus face to face. Then we will see that God has indeed done all that He pleased and has done it perfectly, both for His glory and our good." Be still, my heart.
Hope and a future stick out in my
mind from Jeremiah when I think of the sand box princess. Each night this week she's asked to play in the sand. After we run fast to reach the edge of the grass, our sandals come off and we jump into the dusty ground that is warm in between our toes. She offers to build me something, all the while eager to share the buckets and shovels with me, because "Sharing is nice," as she tells me herself. Her mind is wild with imaginings and as her Elsa braids blow in the wind, I'm reminded of His miraculous grace. Lord is using her in my life to teach me even more about the ever-present balance between brokenness and beauty.
She comes, hair crazy in a mad pigtail attempt but too short to fit into the ponytails, ready to sit in a lap and be loved. She talks more now than I've ever known her to before, and her words hold a lovely trio of care, laughter, and sass. Her face is lit up in every single picture I've seen of her, and she's who I picture when I hear the truth that joy comes in the morning.
I can't think back far enough to when I didn't know these six girls and more like them. There are at least fifteen names on our role sheet, and we get to taste His love in a new way each Sunday with a different handful of them there with us. I am truly prone to wander, but He has taken my heart and sealed it, and it's so full of preschool love.