Aly, with a controlling voice: “Dax! No!”
And she swiped the toy away from him with a furrowed, indignant brow,
clutching it to her chest selfishly,
using her body language to separate him from that toy,
though it was clearly made to be shared.
Dax’s face was crestfallen. Aly is his hero and she controls him easily. He squealed back at her, defending himself. This exchange, interrupting my daily “sweep-up-under-where-the-kids-ate”, tugged at my heart.
I chose to engage Aly, my voice a little sad:
“Aly, if you cannot share that with your brother, I will take it away from you.”
Quickly making the decision between losing her toy or choosing to share, she reluctantly distributed it between them, and within moments they were imagining, heads bent together.
And my spirit vibrated.
Aly was seeing that beloved toy as an asset, a gift she was given. Something she unwrapped as a result of someone else’s love and generosity toward her. It was initially given to her.
But we are a family. We have all things in common. (Ok, most things–we are a work in progress.) We first find value in one another, and not on physical things. Toys break here routinely, markers and play dough dry up, wheels fall off of plastic cars. Pages are accidentally severed from books–often brutally but rarely intentionally. When these things happen, sometimes we fix them, sometimes (more often) we simply throw the spent item away. While we do teach our children to be careful stewards of their blessings, we do not predicate their identities upon them.
Far, far more important to us is what we do with what we have.
Perhaps Aly was concerned that Dax would mess up her efforts or take the parts she liked. Perhaps she wasn’t convinced there was enough for them both. Perhaps she simply liked having something he didn’t have. It is also likely, knowing my dear firstborn, that she relished being in control. It doesn’t really matter. Aly was seeing her life in part, with that simple toy consuming a disproportionate investment. She clutched it to herself, her immature perspective making her selfish.
But I was there, the mother of them both, equipped to see more than she. I saw that Dax was the treasure in that encounter, far more a treasure than that toy. I could see that she would have far more fun if she opened herself up to him (and yes, even his complications. But he is terribly cute and his shiny brown head bobs in the dining room sunshine as he accommodates all of her games, including countless episodes of I’m Elsa and you’re Anna–no wait, Christoph).
But even more, I could see this simple toy of Aly’s fourth year as merely the beginning point, a teeny-tiny Monday blip on the radar of all the special things I have in my heart for her whole life. I see so many tremendous encounters, adventures, and even physical blessings for her. I see far more, much deeper and greater and with tremendous hope, and it gives me vision.
I wonder how often the Lord’s heart aches like this toward me, when I am consumed toward things that are mere blips on the radar of all He is calling forth in me. I wonder how many times I conserve my pennies in the looming shadow of His thousands. I wonder how many times He has been forced to remove something from me, when my immature vision kept His abundance from stimulating my generosity.
On days like today, when my children bring me to such conviction, I am so grateful that every day is brand new. In the broad potential of the fresh today, all the fuddled guilt that might try to hinge itself to me falls away and I sit here, in this fresh Monday, craving the perspective of my beloved Abba. The one who sees my beginning for what it is: the great beginning. I can’t even express how badly I want to see what He sees; I am a daughter who knows the heart of her Father.
When I see as He does, I do not share because I have excess. I share because of who I am. My generosity will always express who I believe I am, and the clarity and maturity of my vision.
I want to know that I am about His business like Jesus was, that my open palm reflects how totally I trust Him, how much I believe Him to BE (not merely supply) everything I need. I want Him to see He can trust me with my toys, so that every great adventure that is possible to my life in Him is laid wide-open before my feet.
I have to say, I’m so thankful that He has never once asked me to be the whole package. While I always endeavor to be perfect like Jesus, He takes all the pressure off. He looks tenderly at me and reminds me that He is in search of only one quality: a pure and teachable heart. And that, I have in spades.