This Little Light of Mine

I think I may have told you this before, but that won't stop me from telling you again. (Does it ever?)

I love my little girl.

Lucy Jane is a bright, warm, tender, funny girl who delights in exploring and beating bad guys and thinking of others. Her strength is this: that she finds opportunities—whether she is running around on the play garden, painting with watercolors, or strumming her guitar—to let people know they are loved. It astounds me daily. Lucy will begin with an otherwise ordinary idea, such as drawing a rainbow, and turn it into a gift. She is forever asking to wrap things in paper and tie them with ribbon. Every art project is a present for Connor (her friend at school) or daddy or me. For Christmas, she went through her entire book collection and selected one for each of her classmates. I watched her for weeks as she thought about what book Crosswell or Franklin or Sloane would like. She chose them carefully and wrapped them in tissue paper and glittery bows, and when the scissors were a bit too awkward or the ribbon too slippery for her tiny fingers, she enlisted my skills. Her friends were delighted to receive her sweet, simple presents, and one of the boys in her class wrote a thank-you card and sent it to her via snail mail. Her first letter! She was over the moon.

My Lucy Jane is teaching me so much about the simple act of creating for the sake of creating. Of loving for the sake of loving. Of delighting in the world's beauty just because we can. It can be such a challenge for someone like me—who regularly dances back and forth between despair over the world's pain and wonder over its treasures, great and small—to settle deeply into one moment. I am always thinking, always analyzing, always marveling, and I like that about myself. But it can be overwhelming, to say the least, and time-consuming. Being Lucy mother reminds me that I have a constant invitation to my own life, that I don't need to wait until I'm perfect to speak up about something that matters or try to seek approval before I take a step forward.

A dear friend of mine, a woman with a heart as big as her personality, has talked to me a lot over the years about what it feels like when people refuse to look past their initial impressions of her. She is, by her own admission, an extroverted people-lover with big ambitions and a big voice. She laughs loudly and shares generously. She never meets a stranger. And, in a world of screen-addicted non-communicators, sometimes people don't know how to respond to that. My friend has given me, whether she's aware of it or not, so much wisdom about how to raise Lucy. I'm introverted by nature. And while I love to talk and I'm pretty outgoing, I get overwhelmed easily and would much rather be sitting with one person on my couch than at a party making small talk. There's a reason why I love coffee and books so much, is all I'm sayin'. But Lucy has not my need for downtime, nor does she share my aversion to chatting up random people on the street. Having known and loved a friend like this for over a decade has prepared me, in more ways than one, to make space for Lucy to be exactly who she is. It's a gift I didn't even know I needed. Every time I want to step in and quiet her so that I don't experience any discomfort is an opportunity for me to honor who God made her to be, and I'm so grateful for those lessons.

Lucy's name literally means "of the light." And, man, is she ever. A light in our home. On the playground. In the grocery store. She is already everything that she needs to be and loving her is a daily reset to my insecurities. I'm not perfect at parenting (I doubt that really needs to be said; still, there you are) but with a huge tribe of people to support us and a daughter who delights in loving others, I feel like I can't get this job too terribly wrong.

And when I forget just how equipped I am for this work, I always have Lucy to remind me.

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