I have the beautiful privilege of witnessing my beautiful granddaughter grow – physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
That tiny brown-eyed girl who will call me “Minnie” when she is good and ready was sitting at her table in the playroom at our house about a week ago. To her left was the toy telephone with which her daddy and aunt Emmy had once played. To her right, a sheet of paper and a pen.
Her Grumps was sitting on the edge of the bed watching her work.
“A pack o,” she would say as she picked up the receiver of the phone.
She then proceeded to jabber a series of “words” we could not comprehend while nodding and shaking her head and gesturing with her free hand.
She hung up the phone, picked up her pen, and scribbled a note about the call on her paper.
Langley is probably mimicking her mommy and daddy, who both work from home. (Does this mean they’re getting an alpaca?)
She is a sponge, soaking up every tiny detail in the world around her. Learning the language of her parents, as well as others who have been placed in her life to guide her, repeating everything she learns. The good. The bad. The ugly.
Her parents, Grumps, and I were quiet observers of her playtime,
Jumping for Joy
And just two nights ago, at a party celebrating the engagement of our nephew to his future bride, I was allowed the incredible blessing of observing Langley as she hung out with her older cousins, Dylan and Reese, both three.
Langley studied every move Dylan and Reese made as they jumped around the room until she decided to attempt this big kid feat.
Once it seemed she had an understanding of how they were performing that magnificent trick, Langley stopped, dead center of the group. Carefully calculating her every move, she planted both feet firmly on the ground, spread her arms behind her back like angel wings, bent her knees, and leapt!
Actually, her little feet hardly left the ground, but I think in her little mind, she had jumped just like the big kids!
Over and over, she practiced her “jumping,” pausing once in a while to watch the others, as if comparing her form to theirs, and adjusting her technique as needed.
Unbeknownst to Langley, she had a pretty big fan club of adults, silently applauding her efforts and rejoicing over her accomplishments.
To the untrained eye, it may not have looked like Langley was doing much. After all, the other kids were jumping really high (at least as high as three-year-olds can jump), while one had to be paying really close attention to see any light between her feet and the floor. But we celebrated! We celebrated BIG!
The Apple of His Eye
As I ponder on the memories of those two events and anticipate many more like them to come, I am reminded:
We have a Father who rejoices, celebrates, over us!
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
This same Father created us in His own image!
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
He delights in us!
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” (Isaiah 42:1, my life verse)
He calls us by name!
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1b)
He calls us daughters and sons!
“…and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)
Don’t Get Stuck
Watching my precious Langley’s development these past 17 months has been among the sweetest blessings Poppa has ever given me.
For the time being, she will continue to absorb all the information around her and attempt to mimic it. But as time goes by, and she gains a better understanding of language, more control of her body, and her personality continues to bloom, she will begin to develop her own unique personality traits, mannerisms, and opinions.
Isn’t this much like how we grow spiritually?
1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”
When we first receive Jesus as our Savior, we must learn from other believers. Our thoughts are often not really our own, as we are spoon fed the Word.
Unfortunately, this is where many believers stop. They experience failure to thrive in their relationships with Jesus because they depend upon others to feed them spiritually. The only things they know of Jesus are those taught to them by others.
Imagine if Langley were never exposed to any further learning. She would become a full-grown woman limited to ordering alpacas on an old toy phone as she went through the motions of jumping, but never leaving the ground.
That, beloved, is not what God desires for us spiritually, either!
As we mature in our faith, we need seek to know God in our own personal way. Our relationship with Him should not be based upon someone else’s understanding of who He is anymore than my relationship with my granddaughter is based upon what her parents tell me about her. That second-hand “relationship” is no relationship at all!
You GROW, Girl!
So, here’s the deal, my friend…
I encourage you to GROW in your faith through prayer, through the reading and application of His Word, through spending time with the Father! That is the only way to have an authentic, personal, intimate relationship with the One who delights in you.
Just like my Langley, you will not start out jumping high or speaking eloquently, but every leap you make will be just a teensy bit higher. Every word will be more intelligible. Every time you study your Bible, you will hear His voice a little more clearly. You will grow in leaps and bounds as you actively seek to know Him more.
I’m going to leave you with the apostle Peter’s words, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
You GROW, girl!