Last Christmas, I was looking on Amazon for a couple of books for Josie and Moses when I came across one title “When God Made You” by Matthew Paul Turner. On the cover is a beautiful little girl who looks like she’s in the middle of a free fall. Her arms are spread wide, her eyes are closed, and she has a hint of a smile on her face. She looks like a little girls who is confident that she is safe and loved.
More than anything I want Josie to grow up knowing that she is so loved and that her dad and I do everything we can to keep her safe. (One of us would actually wrap her in bubble wrap and make her wear a helmet every day if he could.) Since Moses was born, I am very aware of the extra attention he sometimes requires, especially when it comes to his health and safety. Because I know Josie hears a lot of the conversations that center around him, I make an intentional effort to make sure she knows we care just as much about her being healthy and safe. When I saw this book, I thought it would be a great way to remind her not only of that but also what a beautiful child of God she is.
When we read this book for the first time, I wasn’t prepared to get choked up reading it. At least not for the reason I did.
The book starts out with exactly the kind of message I wanted Josie to hear:
“You, you, when God made YOU, God made you all shiny and new.
An incredible you, a you all your own, a you unlike anyone else ever known.“
The book continues to explain how perfectly and beautifully God created this little girl (and my little girl) to be exactly the way He wanted her to be.
And then a few more pages into the book, I read the words:
“You, you, when God sees you, God delights in what is and sees only what’s true.
That you – yes YOU – in all of your glory, bring color and rhythm and rhyme to God’s story.”
That’s when I felt a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Not because those words are true for Josie and Moses and every child God creates, which they absolutely are.
It was because those words are true for me, too.
Even though I’m a 40-year-old mother of two who feels tired, frustrated, and downright cranky more often than not, God sees ME.
And not only does he SEE me, He DELIGHTS in me!
I don’t know where along the road of life that I forgot that no matter how old I am or how cranky I may get sometimes, God knows the true me and loves me. And not only that, He delights in me!
There’s something about knowing that I can delight God simply by being the me He intended me to be – the same way my children delight me every day just by being themselves – that makes me feel lighter. That puts a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.
I have found that I do have to remind myself that the me He delights in is the me that He created me to be:
“…a giver who lives with all heart, soul, and mind.
A dreamer who dreams in big and small themes, one who keeps dreaming in journeys upstream.
A confident you, strong and brave, too.”
There’s something about being reminded of God’s delight, in addition to His love, that makes me want to be the best me I can be every single day. It helps me when I start to experience those all too familiar thoughts of self-doubt:
“Am I doing enough?”
“Am I too emotional?”
“Am I talking too much?”
“Is my laugh too loud?”
“Do people really like being around me?”
“Should I have kept those thoughts to myself?”
Knowing God made me with the exact personality traits He knew I would need to do His work, and that he finds it delightful when I am using them to do His work, gives me the strength and courage to push those thoughts away and keep going.
It seems like for some of us, as we get older (and possibly crankier), when we hear things like “children of God”, we think only of the chronologically young people. It does us so much good, though, to remember that no matter how old (or cranky) we get, we are always included in that phrase.
“‘Cause when God made you, somehow God knew, that the world needed someone exactly like you.”