I take my boys downtown for a walk through the public gardens. My 4 year old is slowly trailing along behind the stroller. “Mommy!” I hear him yell, “Come look!” I turn around and let my gaze follow in the direction of his finger. “Those are just for you!” He says, pointing to a row of tall purple irises. He knows it’s one of my favourite colours. He wants me to see them, he wants to see my face light up when I do.
He runs around in the backyard picking handfuls of bright blue forget-me-knots and brings them to me. He paints pictures entirely of purple so he can say he made it just for me. He tugs at my arm, yells my name over and over so that I don’t walk by the pink tulips without letting them take my breath away.
He knows my eye is drawn to beautiful things, and he doesn’t want me to miss any of it.
“They’re just for you,” he says.
Just for me.
And I know this is about more than just a 4 year old’s love for his mother. I know there is something bigger at play here. What I am seeing in my son is a reflection of the heart of a loving Father. A God who makes us lie down in green pastures, who leads us beside quiet waters, who has the power and the knowing to restore our souls (Psalm 23:2-4).
The three of us are on our way to my grandmother’s house. She lives on a large property by the ocean. I drive by lupines scattered along the highway, the sight of them making my heart swell. I’ve loved these flowers ever since my grandmother bought me the precious children’s story Miss Rumphius when I was a little girl. The boys fall asleep in their carseats, heads hanging low on their chests. I think about the story and it’s main character Alice, how she wants to make the world a more beautiful place but doesn’t yet know how.
I drive past my grandmother’s house to let the boys sleep a little longer. My grandmother hasn’t been well and I want to pick a bouquet of these lupines for her. This week she was taken to emergency with a heart attack scare. But after x-rays and an EKG the doctors confirmed her heart was fine, and I am not surprised. My grandmother has always put her faith first, tending to her heart like she would her garden. Always praying, always loving, always giving. Her body may be failing but not her heart. No, her heart is in good hands.
I find a small parking lot beside a patch of wild lupines and pull in. My toddler sucks his thumb, eyes drowsy. My 4-year-old’s eyes shoot open as he yells “Are we there?!” I step into the tall grass and yank the thick stems of the lupines, fingers now sticky. I stay for only a few moments, gathering a large bundle. They’re beautiful and breathtaking and perfect.
Why do I desire to give gifts? I’m wondering to myself.
My heart knows, I just need to trust what it tells me. That I am made in the image of a great and loving Giver. And because I am made in His image, I give to others as He has given to me.
When I see a sunset, I know. This has been created for me. By a Creator who loves to give good gifts. Who delights in our delight.
In John 4 we read a story about Jesus speaking with a woman at the well. The woman has no idea she is speaking with the Messiah and though this is the first time they’ve met, Jesus knows everything about her (she’s quite surprised when he starts to list the details of her private life).
“If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to,” Jesus says to her.
If we only knew.
Can we truly believe these gifts were given just for us? From a loving Father, the Creator of all creators, the Artist of all Artists, the Giver of all givers. Will we hear His message of Love written in the skies for us? Singing from the sunrise and dancing on the ocean and blowing through the trees. He made all of this for us. For you, and for me. And beauty is just the tip of the iceberg. Beauty draws us into the heart of God, and it is there that our life begins. It is there that we are reborn, and made to be the truest, fullest versions of ourselves.
This is His promise to us. That He is for us and not against us. That He came to give us Life.
That He is good. We just need to believe!
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” (Psalm 19:1-4)