I was out in Portland, Oregon last week on business with six other folks from our team. While we were there to get additional training as coaches under someone else's system, I felt like God was featuring us and our brand above any other. He was resplendently on display and we were the humble ambassadors of the Kingdom and His grand intentions for everyone. One of the really great men I met there was Steve. He was a longtime coach under their model and a committed follower of Jesus. I am immediately drawn to anyone where I think I can find sage wisdom and the currency of experience. He generously offered and I appreciably enjoyed.
After several conversations, he asked about my family. I showed him this:
He didn't say:
- What a beautiful family!
- "Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows in a warrior's hands. How happy is the man whose quiver is full of them!" (My favorite psalm in regard to my large brood.)
He counted the number of girls and the six children overall and then he talked about:
- The four weddings I would have to pay for.
- The six colleges I would be saddled with.
- The burden I was facing.
I was crestfallen..for him. There was a time when I would have agreed with him, mourned with him, and let it ruin my day. Not this day. On this day as in nearly every day, I see my children as one of the greatest joys of my life. Where he saw burden and counted the cost, I saw great privilege.
Living in sonship...walking in the clear knowledge of being delighted in as a son of the most high God...has changed everything. With validation more firmly intact from the only one that won't invalidate, I view most of life with a different lens. Like Dorothy leaving the tornado-tested dustbowl of Kansas and stepping into Oz, everything pops with brightness and light.
I was listening to a new podcast this morning. A younger man was talking about the experience of driving his seven-year old daughter somewhere. Instead of the burden he typically found there, both present and future, he delighted in the moment. He said, "Today she is seven forever."
I was both enjoying and grieving the adorableness of my seven year old angel just this last week. She is the last of our brood. Yes, she is precious, but there is a puerile selfishness about her that can frustrate me. She has been the baby of eight and shows all the signs of that privileged seat.
But today, more than ever, I am aware that the Kingdom is at hand. She is the very proof of God's goodness and love for me. She is the manifestation of God's glory on resplendent display. Today, she is my great privilege and I am not counting the cost, present or future. Today, she is seven forever. I can delight in her because the Father first delighted in me.