Our firecracker of a second child, Rebekah Sunday, turned 4 years old on Saturday…
I honestly can’t believe it.
It is incomprehensible that the baby girl that completely stole my heart in 2009 has been in our possession for as many years as I was in high school. It doesn’t seem possible! And so, with much sighing and sulking, I continue to be convinced that the more ironically cruel twist in all of nature is that time seems to speed up just when you start wishing it would slow down a little…
But, as usual, I digress.
We had that killer tea party for both of our girls last week, which left us free to relax and enjoy Rebekah’s actual birthday to the fullest. Her entire day was jammed full of special family togetherness, so that, by the time we returned home, my husband and I literally fell on the floor into exhausted heaps of unusefulness. We turned on a movie, ate popcorn for supper, and I think it was a couple of hours before I realized that Betsie was still wearing a swim diaper and had probably been peeing and leaking all over the house…
But, in the midst of all the splash-parking and restauranting and bike-riding, there was definitely one part of our day that stood apart from the rest, and I am so excited to share it with you today.
A couple of months ago, our good friend and brother, Brian, shared a blog post with us. Brian is the music expert in our world and has introduced us to so many richly theological worship songs that have become foundational in our family’s life. One of his favorite artists is JJ Heller, and before you go any further, you really need to go and visit the blog post that he sent for us to read that day (click here).
Have you read it yet?
Shoo! Go read it! Spit spot.
Okay. Welcome back. I missed you.
So that blog and video blew me away.
Especially this part:
“When one woman asked Lucy why she was giving daisies away, Lucy replied, ‘Because you are special.’ I can’t tell you what a proud mama I am. The name Lucy means bringer of light, and from the moment she came into the world, she has lived up to her name.
I’m often tempted to stay in the safety of my minivan; to stay tucked away in my seemingly safe, non-confrontational life. I’m realizing that lives are changed when I have the courage to step into the unknown. The more I know that I am loved, REALLY loved by the Creator of the universe, the more I can share that love with others. Thank you, four-year-old Lucy Love, for showing me how to be brave. By God’s grace, I hope to be a bringer of light too. All it takes is getting out of the minivan.”
Not only did I identify so completely with JJ’s own anxieties and practices (I ALWAYS stay in the minivan), my heart absolutely mirrors her own in the way I feel about my own 4-year old daughter…
I am in awe of my little girl. Everything that I am, she is not, everything I am not, she is, and every area where I am weak, she is strong. Brave, unblinking, unafraid, uninhibited. She can go tinkle in the pasture standing up without getting a drop on her. She is the best wrestling buddy her big brother could ever ask for. And she doesn’t think twice about flagging down the waiter at a restaurant to ask for “more ketchup” or “some more Sprite”. I marvel over this aspect of her personhood, and thank God with all my heart for giving her a less timorous spirit than my own.
And I seriously cannot wait to see how He uses her gifts to bring light into to this dark world.
And this is why Brian sent us JJ’s blog post in the first place: “Saw this blog post and video and immediately thought of Miss Sunday in Lucy’s roll. She would have loved that!”
Which got me thinking, after I sopped up my tears from watching the beautiful video that JJ shared in her blog…
Why don’t we do this with Rebekah?
How about, on her birthday, we allow her to bring a little of her 4-year old light onto someone else’s path?
And that’s exactly what we did. On the way to her favorite store (“the baby store”, also known as Pottery Barn Kids), we stopped at Wal-Mart, bought two dozen roses, trimmed them, and placed them in her Easter basket. And once we arrived at Utica Square in Tulsa, we followed behind Rebekah as she passed out flowers to complete strangers, surprising them and blessing them in ways that we would probably never know…
She did experience one moment of shyness when we were about to walk by a sidewalk restaurant. “We can stop now and go to the baby store…” we told her, wanting this to be a good experience for her and not something we pushed her into.
But she squared those little shoulders back and carried on, giving out every last rose in her basket…
Did Rebekah change the world with her roses and kind greetings?
Probably not. But as we walked around the corner on our way back to Pottery Barn Kids, I saw a woman at an outdoor Starbucks table looking at her pink rose, smelling it, deep in thought…
did she feel loved that morning? I hope so.
And when we returned to our van after playing at PBK, the security guard you saw pictured above was waiting for us on the sidewalk (our van was covered with shoe-polish birthday messages – hard to miss!). Rebekah’s light had reached his soul that morning, and he had been so deeply touched by her birthday flower that he wanted to treat her to some cotton candy ice cream at the Russell Stover store!
We drove to meet him across the Square, and after he purchased treats for our children, we conversed with him at a little seating area outside. “I’ve been working as a security guard for 5 years here,” he said, “and nothing like this has ever happened to me…”
Did he feel loved that morning? I know so.
And as I watched my beloved daughter lap up that pretty pink-and-blue ice cream, my heart swelled with love and pride and gratitude, and I prayed that, on her 4th birthday, she not only got a taste of how great it is to be loved and showered with gifts and attention and special treats and outings, but to love others and to bring the light of Christ into their world.
I’m pretty sure the ice cream helped seal the deal…
Happy Birthday, Rebekah Sunday!
You are loved, indeed.
Special thanks to the amazing and beautiful JJ Heller for this lovely idea, and for Brian Barnes for sharing it with us. We are so grateful!
Want to read more about Rebekah? Here are some of my favorites: