Saturday, November 07, 2015

My daughter, my sister, my friend

Dear Maggie Mae,

Today you and I shared the most special day together that we have shared in your eight years of life. You have been working hard for several months to earn incentive points for your piano practice and school work that you could then redeem for a special day out with mom. Today was the day!

Our first stop was shopping at the Rhea Lana kids consignment sale. Today was the first time I have taken you shopping to pick out your own clothes. For the past couple years, I've noticed a growing trend: my idea for your clothing style and your idea for your clothing style are not quite aligned. I pick out adorable outfits for you, and you never ever wear them. Right before my eyes, your own personal style is making its debut.

So this fall, I decided to let you come shopping with me to pick out your own clothes. You were pretty into the process.  Like, SUPER into it. I told you how many items you could choose. You went through every. single. clothing. rack in your size– piece by piece. You pulled out dozens of possibilities and then studied each one before making your final selections. I can honestly say that if I had been shopping those racks, I would not have picked out any of the items you chose. You really like BRIGHT things! And SEQUINS– lots of sequins! But you were so happy with your selections, and I was proud to see what you chose, too. Everything was modest, nice and reasonably priced. You are a great shopper!

When we were in the checkout line, you were studying the stack of purchases the lady in front of us was about to buy. You turned to me and said, "Mom, see the stuff that lady is picking out? Ruffles, flowers, browns and pinks? That's the kind of stuff you usually pick out for me. And that's the stuff I don't wear." Good to know.

After shopping, we went out to dinner at– your choice– McAlister's Deli. You leaned toward me across the table and over your kids meal pita mini pizza and suddenly lowered your voice. "Mom, can I tell you a secret? I think that most restaurants focus more on the adult food than the kid food. That's sad." You told me about your plan to open a restaurant that has mostly choices of foods that kids like and only a few choices for adults.

We ate and enjoyed a really great conversation about love languages. I told you about the five love languages, and without hesitation you told me that you thought your top two are Quality Time and Words of Affirmation. Maggie, you have a great sense of self-awareness. I couldn't help but think about how great it is that you are learning about some of these great relational concepts at eight years old. God has great things in store for you, Maggie. He will use all of these things that you are learning for His glory and for the good of the Church. I can hardly wait to see.

We rode home in the dark, with the windows rolled down and cold fall air pushing into the car and Christian music cranked up on the radio. You leaned over toward me and yelled, "Mom, I love Christian rock music."

I smiled and nodded. You leaned over again. "Mom, I said I love Christian ROCK music."

I smiled and nodded again. "I think that's great, Maggie!"

You leaned back to your seat, looking a little surprised that I was ok with that. It's fascinating to see you process the world around you. You are figuring it all out. I'm glad you are thinking and feeling and working through it. I'm even more happy to know that when you get to the end of that process, you'll realize that it's okay to not have it all figured out.

We got cold and rolled up the windows and turned down the music a little bit. And then we had the most amazing conversation we've ever had. I'll never forget our conversation in the van tonight, Margaret Mae.

Over the past six months or so, you've been asking your Dad and I about when you can be baptized. We've been talking it through with you, but we wanted to be sure you understand what you need to understand about faith in Christ before you take that important step. Since you started asking to be baptized, I've been praying about it, asking God to make it really clear to your Dad and me when you're ready.

We started talking about baptism again tonight, and I asked you some questions about what it means to trust in Christ. You told me the Gospel in beautiful, truth-filled simplicity. You said trusting Christ means that you know and believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins, even though you were the one who deserved to die.

You asked me to tell you about when I was baptized. I started to tell you the story I've told you before, about how I became a Christian at home after I asked my mom if she would help me know how to be saved.

And there in our dark van, driving down the winding, tree-lined roads of highway 112 on our way home, you casually said– almost under your breath– "Your story is better than my story. My story is a little boring."

Your story? I've never heard you mention this. I sat up straighter in my seat and looked over at you.

"What's your story?"

"I was trusting Christ last year in second grade. One day I was just sitting at the computer and then– BAM– I was trusting Christ."

"Maggie! Why didn't you say anything about this?! Why didn't you tell me?!"

"I didn't think it was a very good story. I was just sitting there, and– BAM– I was trusting Christ."

Margaret Mae Roebuck, your story is the exact opposite of boring. You were a seven-year-old girl, orphaned by sin, sitting in a second grade public school classroom, and the God of the Universe came for you and adopted you into His family. FOREVER. His Holy Spirit came to live in you as the deposit guaranteeing that you will be His forever. FOREVER. Your story is a glorious story, my dear girl– a story with the most dramatic and happy ending of any story ever written.

I got to hear your story tonight for the very first time, and I'll never forget it. Tonight I knew for the first time that forever you will be my daughter, my sister and my friend. Nothing– NOTHING!– could make me happier or more grateful. Thank you, Jesus.

I love you, my precious Maggie Mae.