one of our girls' favorite things is stories. they love to "read". the joy is only magnified when we read with them. and then our oldest, she gets so lost in the story itself. she can't just stop short of the satisfaction that comes after finishing the last line of a new story. the girl needs to be the story. i become mama berenstain bear or doctor dan or the man with the yellow hat. she's obviously the character upon which the entire story rests...hero, princess, beauty.
and our youngest may have learned from the joy of our first. often she's disappeared...where has she been? wandered upstairs bookshelf calling her, she's plopped herself
directly under it, chubby little legs straight out in front of her, book on
lap, head down.
and after a day that's been full and hearts that are spent, moments away from the exhale of babies' doors closing behind us, comes pleeease tell me a Little Linny story? i wanna hear a Little Kenny story. and
we go on for the giggly joy that appears across her face from hearing
the "adventures" of seven-year-olds who operated backhoes in their
backyard and transformed their huffys into galloping stallions. it's
worth it every time.
and then lately, when my littlest
lady and i are snuggly and reading before bed, she's been looking more
at me telling the story than at the story itself. huh. adorable, but strange. it's strange until i remember how my life. her life, too. yours as well. it's a story.
and paul miller's words in a praying life return to me as i feel her blue eyes staring at me while i read. miller has been challenging me to see God as Storyteller. and
to pray for a heart that willingly - joyfully - revels in the unfolding
of it all. miller talks of the relationship that comes from a heart of endurance, one that remains under its circumstances. creating perseverance.
i know my little girl is looking more at
me because sometimes it's less about the story and more about who's
telling it. when she is looking at me reading to her, she's telling me that these moments we're spending together aren't so much about the book in my hands, but what i'm sowing while i'm reading. and my hope is to reap a relationship with her. true and honest. deep and unconditional. what i might be seeing is my little girl making the connection between telling her a story and loving her. she's warm and safe at that moment.
she likes what she feels and what it does for her heart, and the pages
bound into a book in front of her is just the way to get there. in fact, with her eyes fixed on my face and my arms around her, the story ends up not even mattering to her.
how my relationship with my girls would differ if every time they
wanted a story, i sat them on the couch, all cozy with a blanket and
pillows, opened before them the pages of a fabulous story right before
their eyes. then turned on an audio book. our relationship might lack
something precious and sweet. there would be less moments of bonding
between us for sure.
just like little one does, keeping my eyes on the Storyteller settles me when i'm not really happy about what's found on the next page of the book. the comfort i find in a closeness to the Father quiets the concerns of what's happening around me.
(unbelievably well, by the way) what it means to live in our Father's
story. to surrender completely, not demanding the story goes my way.
to look for the Storyteller - developing an eye for God's hand at work.
and he calls out to the reader: STAY in the story. refuse to shut down when it goes the "wrong" way. it changes a lot, when a heart remains focused on the One telling my story.
yet i know eyes fixed on the Storyteller can only mean something if i choose to trust the One delivering me my story. reading to my little one these past weeks has revealed to my heart that i cannot simply will myself to stay committed to a story whose lines read fear and struggle woven throughout its pages. the story will only fade into its rightful position when my main priority for today is to build connection with the only One who is writing my story.
like my littlest, i am most enjoying my story, experiencing life full of joy, with peace abounding when my heart's connected to a Storyteller i know will never write a bad ending. for He knows no such finish for His children.