Hope and Rhema’s all-time favorite person in the world paid them a visit this weekend. He’d been away for six weeks when he slipped in the house early Friday morning while they slept.
When Rhema awakened he went to her room, scooped her into his arms and carried her down the stairs. They sat on the couch, and Rhema, the child who never stops moving, was still.
She stayed curled up in his arms, making her soft babbling noises for a long, long time. For once, she was not frantic.
It’s so hard to know what she is thinking and experiencing at times; how much she processes and even what she chooses to reveal is, most times, a mystery. But if I could hazard a guess as to what she was feeling as she sat there with him, it would be… Relief… Contentment.
Some time later when we heard Hope stirring, he went to her room, and I heard the most joyous sound of surprise and delight.
And then she couldn’t stop talking. First, she said to him what people always say to her when they haven’t seen her in a while:
“Well, Daddy, you’ve gotten so big!”
As he lifted her for a dinosaur hug, she patted his head.
“I love your hair!” she exclaimed as if trading compliments with a teenaged girlfriend.
Then the two of them got down to business. Ever since he left, Hope has been having nightmares. She insists that there are birds in her bed that “wake her up” and “peck her knees.” Daddy explained that last night, while she was sleeping he came in and caught all those pesky birds and sent them on their way.
Still in his arms, Hope looked over his shoulder with a smile, and whispered to me,
“Hi, Mommy. I found my Daddy.”
After a fun day at the pool, we were all in the kitchen getting ready for dinner. I realized that Rhema was saying “I luh yew” over and over in her sing-songy stim. She was wandering around the room, looking at no one in particular, repeating the words, as if to herself.
“She’s saying, ‘I love you!’”, I said.
And then all four of us started singing ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’ out loud, in that same Rhema-voice, as we busied ourselves in the kitchen.
The weekend wasn’t all perfect. We still managed to forget to cherish one another at times.
But I learned something recently in a Beth Moore bible study that has helped me view the imperfections in my family with new eyes: “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor in vain;” (Ps. 127:1). When you view the “house” in that verse in terms of family, you realize that God is the one who custom-builds our families. Every member is there by His design, His composition, His assembling. Beth Moore advises, “Be careful not to expect your marriage, parenting, or even your singleness to be exactly like someone else’s.”
I am praying that the Custom Builder will continue to fashion, repair and strengthen my family and home even while we are separated for over a year.
We had to say goodbye again early Monday morning, but the weekend was an unexpected and priceless gift of time for which I will always be grateful.
Brandon is in his final stages of training at Ft. Stewart. His equipment has been shipped overseas, and he will finally deploy to Iraq within the next 2 weeks.
I saw this picture/article about a “Little Soldier Girl who “Didn’t Want to Let Go” as her father shipped off to Iraq. It reminded me of my girls.