Oh, How Long I Have Waited for This Moment…
This is a picture of my niece, Stella, and I this past weekend at Catfish Hole. Papa Smurf (my Father-in-law) thankfully captured this moment that was shared for the first time.
A little backstory on my relationship with Stella, I haven’t been able to hold or play with her since she was 6 months old. She literally wouldn’t acknowledge my presence. Once she began to acknowledge my presence it was always with a “no” or head turning away from me. In the midst of her resistance towards me, I continued to pursue her. I would make eye contact with her, smile, or play peek a boo from the other side of the room. If there was a toy that she wanted or a game she wanted to play, I would go get it for her. I always knew she wouldn’t include me if I did, but I wanted to serve her.
This past Friday, we were over at her Grandparents house with the family. Everyone was on the back lawn hanging out, and Stella wanted a cookie. No one else at the time was willing to take her, so I saw my opportunity. She wanted something and I was her only chance at getting it. She was hesitant and I can only assume what was going through her mind. My assumption is, “I want this cookie and he is my only route. Do I trust him enough with this? I’ve seen him smile at me from the distance, pay attention to me, go get things for me even when I didn’t acknowledge his presence and I’ve seen him playing with the other kids.” At some point as she ran through the scenario in her mind she decided to trust me and reach out her arms. She didn’t smile but I got to carry my niece inside to get her a cookie for the first time. She finally acknowledged my presence.
Fast forward to later that night. She had a plastic egg in her hand and had discovered how to put water in it. She would crack the egg open to fill it with water, close it, and then run over to me, open the egg and let the water splash beneath us. As I was cheering her on after every water drop she would turn around and say, “I go get more.” After about twelve trips and water drops, she says, “Hunter, I go get more.” It brought a big smile to my face and warmed my heart. She had finally called me by name.
The next day we went to dinner at catfish hole with my wife, Maggie, and her family. It’s a family tradition when her Grandpa makes the trip from Tennessee to come see us. We had finished eating and were gathered outfront talking and saying our goodbyes but Stella was over it. She was ready to go home and looking for the vehicle to take her there. I reached out my hand and said I’ll take you and she looked up with a smile and took my hand. I got to walk with her to the car while holding her hand, and loaded her in the car seat. We laughed and talked the whole time as I was buckling her up. It was the moment I had been waiting for.
When Maggie and I got into our car, I couldn’t help but relive the moment. As I was reliving that moment I began to see myself as Stella and Jesus reaching his hand out to me and walking me toward the vehicle that will take me home. As I traveled back over the past months, I began to see a correlation to each of our journeys.
He is always present in each of our lives. Our lack of acknowledgement to that truth doesn’t determine Him to be absent nor define His love for us. He is loving us from a distance even when we don’t see it, His heart leaps for joy when we make eye contact with him. He is doing things behind the scenes, even when He knows we won’t give Him the credit. He is deeply invested in our lives and yearns for us to receive His love and all the benefits. Many of us have had that same conversation in our heads, that Stella had before extending her arms to let me take her to get a cookie; “I’ve noticed your interest in me, those around me trust you, I’ve seen you at work in their lives and I have a need with no where else to go. I’m going to extend my arms hoping that you will provide.” In that need we finally acknowledge His presence and I know He is just as excited to reveal it as you are to witness it.
Once we have acknowledged His presence, we began to see what we have yet to see before. Just as Stella had yet to see my love until she trusted me to take her and provide that cookie she wanted. Her eyes were open to something she had yet to witness because her heart was finally willing. In this, she finally trusted me and began to play with me. The more she acknowledged my presence the more I became known to her, so much so that she called me by name. Is this not a similar picture to our walk with God? The more we acknowledge His presence (He is always there), the more of Him we see, so much so that we are finally able to call Him by Name.
I hope you are beginning to see the progression and correlation here. This is the place I believe all Fathers desire to be with their children, walking hand in hand. I was blessed enough to share this moment with my niece. God’s desire is for his children to walk with him hand in hand. His patience with us, is because of His desire for us. I believe Stella was willing to take my hand because when she finally acknowledged my presence and received the love that I had always had for her, she realized how I appeared to her was different than my presence with her. How true has this been in some of our lives? The way God appeared to us was completely different than when we first experienced His presence in our lives.
Jesus is patiently waiting for you to receive His love. He is present and has/is fighting for your behalf from the beginning unto the end.
If you have yet to begin this journey, I would encourage you to start with acknowledging that God is present in your life.
If you’re in the middle of this journey, keep seeking. Luke 11:9
If you’re hand in hand with the Father, I would encourage you to tighten that grip and extend your other hand to a brother so he can experience the Father through you.
I pray that each of you begin to acknowledge His presence, to discover His name, so you will have a heart willing to take His Hand.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”Proverbs 3:5
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”John 14:6
“You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”Psalm 145:16
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”Psalm 16:11