Posted first on FB in 2014–but worthy to repost here. Not because the words are eloquent but rather, because His love was–and still is–lavish. So blessed…


A couple “pre-Valentine’s Day” days ago, Allie asked a simple request. “Momma, I want to paint your fingernails.”

Really? (I rarely do any “nail maintenance” myself!) “Yes,” she replied confidently — gathering the necessary supplies. She laid out a wash cloth (for my hands to rest upon) and had a kleenex close by (For clean-up?). Then she chose 3 — yes, 3 — nail colors… pink, red, and blue. A growing urge to flee the bathroom rose up within me; yet something held me in my seat.

Carefully, Allie started with the pinkie on my left hand. (And pretty much ALL of the pinkie was painted by the end.) Blue. Then pink. (Perhaps an organized pattern will emerge, I thought.) Then pink again. And then, the last remaining fingers… Red. Red.

Moving to the right hand, she started again — this time with my thumb. Pink. Pointer finger (Yes, most of it!) — pink. Then blue. Red. Red. Hmmmm…

All the while, Allie talked. “Be still,” she said. “Isn’t that lovely?… Oops — a little messy. Here, let me fix that…”

After the nails (I mean, the fingers) were painted, I sat obediently as they dried. We chatted.

I thought the manicure was it. A gift. Mother-Daughter bonding time. But Allie had something else in mind.

“Now, Momma — let’s go pick a dress.” She was determined.

“A dress?” I asked. (I felt quite cozy in my comfy Saturday attire.)

“Yes, a red dress. Do you have a red dress, Momma?”

I knew I did. One. Only worn once before — for my niece’s wedding. A beautiful dress. Too beautiful for this Saturday afternoon.

But not for Allie. Not for this special occasion.

“Wear that one, Momma!” she cried. “And the pretty red shoes too,” she said as she took them from their place in my shoe rack. “I’ll help you get dressed.”

Something within me, despite my desire to stay in the “ordinary” beckoned me to give her this gift of my time. My willingness. My full submission. An invitation to experience the “extraordinary” — offered by my 4-year old.

Soon I was dressed in red, sequenced frill — Saturday clothes tossed in a heap. Dancing shoes on my feet. Little did I know…

Guiding me down the stairs with, “Don’t fall… Be careful now…” Allie led me into the living room. Bill looked up. I blushed. “Now, Daddy — dance with Momma.”

The plan all along. Painted fingers. Fancy party dress. Dancing shoes. And a little girl offering gentle (yet firm) commands. Taking my hand, she led me to her daddy. He stood and took the hand held out. “Dance.”

Slightly embarrassed — yes, victims of a hurried life where days spastically pass with too little intimacy… too little rhythm — we spun to music we hummed, Allie singing along. We laughed. We fumbled at first but soon moved with more ease — even breaking from our waltz-like 1-2-3 to do the “Twist” until finally…

“Daddy, pick Momma up — like this,” she said, demonstrating with her hands held out. “Like a baby.”

Her daddy picked her mommy up and held her, like a baby. Allie smiled. Success. She clasped her hands in satisfaction.

“Yes, like that.”

Yes, like that. Like all of it. The beauty of love spilled out. Spilled over. A lavish love that sometimes fumbles but, determined, stays the course. Love that fights and conquers. Love that wins. Always wins.

Like my colorful fingers — colorful love that doesn’t stay in the lines or necessarily follow a pattern. Love that flows and even gets smudged and messy. Love that beckons and calls and prods and plans — with purpose.

Love that holds. Love that is held. Love that smiles with sweet satisfaction. Love that sorrowfully weeps for burdens carried. Clasped hand-held prayerful love, whispering, “Yes, like that.” And even when the cup is bitter… The battle harsh — with temptations to scream “No…” — instead, “Yes… Yes, like that.”

Our imperfect love made perfect by the One who first loved us.

Yes, love like this —

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword… No, in all these things we are more than conquers through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).