"You are Dia Vendy, of the proud Mende tribe. You are a good boy who loves soccer and school. Your mother loves you so much. She waits by the fire making plantains, and red palm oil stew with your sister N'Yanda and the new baby. The cows wait for you. And Babu, the wild dog who minds no one but you. I know they made you do bad things, but you are not a bad boy. I am your father who loves you. And you will come home with me and be my son again." Solomon to his son Dia in "Blood Diamond" Dia is kidnapped by mercenaries, robbed of his innocence, stripped of his identity. A chance meeting with his father gives him the chance to remember.
The identity of our precious ones are constantly assaulted. The world tells them lies and an enemy stands ready to pin them down with identity formed from the most untrue things about them. Women are especially assaulted. The battle for the hearts of my wife and four daughters is constant, overwhelming, and insidious. I wonder sometimes if that is why they seem to require so much sleep...must be hard to just get out of bed in the morning.
When my two eldest girls were little I used to pack their lunches the week of Valentine's Day. I made them triple decker peanut butter, chocolate chip, and marshmallow, heart shaped sandwiches. I gave them candy. I wrote little notes about my deep heart for them and stuffed it all in a simple brown paper bag. One time, some mom's harassed me at the softball fields...their little ones had chided them to do the same because of my daughter's bounty.
My eldest is a million miles from little girl packed lunches. She is teaching her bebes (little Spanish kids) English as a second language in Mijas, Spain. She feels beyond a reach that seems to be slipping with each passing year. The thousands of miles between here and Spain only serve to exacerbate the feeling.
At the last boot camp, God reminded me of how my adult daughter still needed to hear her father speak identity into her life. She still needed sweet notes, special treats, and carefully prepared meals. He inspired a way to remind her, thousands of miles away, how special she is and how much she is loved.
My wife and I wired money to her roommate. We asked that she get gift certificates to her favorite coffee shop, restaurant, and chocolatier. That she buy the purse she passed up, the candied almonds from the street vendor, and the flowers from the lady in the center of town on Saturdays. We asked her to give her a gift per day and put notes from her mom and I in an envelope that we e-mailed and she printed.
God told me to remind her of what is particular and special about her. Each day was something different...something in the way she uniquely bears the image of God...her beauty, kindness, thoughtfulness, grace, humor, and discernment. Every morning at 1 AM our time, she was supposed to get a different gift and pair of notes. I desperately wanted to know if she got them and how she felt, but I didn't dare call.
On day six, I got an e-mail. She said that she has the fondest memories of her Valentine's days as a girl. She said that while the rest of her friends obsessed about having boyfriends, she never did because she felt so loved and pursued. She said that her standard for how she is loved, honored, and cared has been established and will not be compromised. She said that all her friends were taking notice and doing the same.
She knows she is loved. She knows she is beautiful. She knows some of the unique ways she bears the image of God.
I am called to be a bestower of identity on my precious ones. An enemy constantly assaults me with a sense that I am done, it is too late, and my work is done. It is a lie. I reject it. I will spend all my days reminding my precious ones what God has uniquely created in them.