The past month and a half has been full of words, songs, laughs, screams, changes, and growth. Elizabeth has developed by leaps and bounds, her words coalescing into sentences, babbles into song lyrics. She loves to learn and play and show off what she has learned. She memorizes songs and her favorite cartoons, acts out her favorite scenes and made-up scenarios, plays enthusiastically and reports everything on the world around her, just in awe and utterly delighted with the world she is discovering. Her big thing this season has been discovering that season change. Fall is often the most obvious and blazingly glorious of seasonal changes and with it has brought exclamations and examinations and just sheer squealing delight as God has repainted the canvas of Elizabeth’s world before her very eyes. And she changes right along with it.
A few Sundays ago, during her grandmother’s visit, she gave us all a delightful surprise. As people gathered in for morning worship service, milling and visiting together, Elizabeth made her way up onto the platform, found the cordless microphone on the side of the pulpit, and picked it up. She then treated everyone gathered in for service so far to an impromptu performance of her favorite song: “Jesus Loves Me”. When she picked up the mic, I had started towards her to help her put it down. But she started singing — our family song, one that is always requested and sung together at bedtime every night, just as it was in my childhood — and I froze. I just stood there and let my child, my girl of barely three, minister to those gathered in the meeting house. And she did. She did minister to them. No prompting from me or Ben, no guidance, no cajoling even, really. Just some encouragement from those listening. I just stood there, holding her blankies and Lambie (her dearest friends) and watched God speak through my toddler.
She sang through the song twice and then, in true Elizabeth fashion, bowed and said, “Thank you! Thank you!” My dear little ham.
I’m tearing up as I write this two weeks later. I had intended to write it sooner, don’t know why I didn’t. But here I am writing it now. And it’s hitting me like a hammer. No offense to my wonderful husband, who happens to be the pastor, but our daughter probably spoke the most poignant words in that entire service in her little toddler voice. In the Quaker church, we believe that each and every person has the capacity to minister, has a personal ministry even. My daughter was a minister that day with the most important of messages on her little tongue.
She reminded us all, no matter our age, that we are loved. Even when others reject us, even when life is hard, when days are grey and cold, and our road bleak with despair creeping up on its edges. Or even when we are just having a difficult day or being difficult ourselves. We are loved by God. Completely and utterly and eternally. You. Me. All of us. We are loved.
Thank you, Elizabeth. Can’t wait to hear more.