Monday, May 23, 2011

If God lined up...

We play this game, my family and I.

I stole the game from a pastor who shared his family tradition in his talk.
Well, it begins as more of an affirmation, less of a game. But there's a point at which the affirmation becomes so rooted, so familiar on the tongue in your home that it begins to be played with and jumbled and laughed about. Because it is so embraced. Everyone feels so embraced.

It goes like this. Let's say I was kneeling next to my son's bed during bedtime, just like I did tonight.

It doesn't have to be his birthday. But today is. His sixth, to be exact.

And normally, I'm not scrambling for something to say in order to mask my shy tears for how six years ago, I labored until I could hold his just under eight-pound frame, and the wonder at how his bony legs now reach so far down his Star Wars sheets. But I was.

I began, "If God lined up all the boys in the whole wide world...

even the really fast ones,

and the ones who never got in trouble in class,

and ones who could put together really hard Lego sets without help,

every little six year old boy with every color hair and eyes,

I'd choose you.
And if we had a really bad week, and I got another try, I'd choose you.

And if you did something - the worst thing you can think of - I'd look at all the boys in that long, long line,

And I'd choose you."

But my son isn't surprised at all. He is laughing because he said "You'd choose me!" two minutes ago, as soon as the words started to come out of my mouth. The sentiment is so familiar it has become a game. Then he grabs his stuffed animal, as he usually does, and plays the game with his much-loved friend. "If God lined up all da dogs...." and on he plays.

And once in a while, when we play this in his room in the glow of his nightlight, he slips his skinny arm around my neck and says with gleaming eyes, "If God lined up all da mommies in da hold wide world (grinning ear to ear, dramatically pausing)....I'd choose you, Mama."

All of it swells with love more than I can contain, so it presses up, welling in my eyes and widening my smile. I shake my head, not knowing how I deserve all this goodness. Knowing that I really don't.

As if that isn't enough, Jesus whispers from the corners of this game, every time. I hear his voice echoing mine, as a parent, to me. "I choose you." I say it to my child, and I hear it as a child, whispering in this rhythm of love.

Over and over, "I choose you."

We all sleep easy in the embrace.




  1. he is so sweet!
    happy birthday nathan!

  2. Have you read the book "i love you, stinky face"~ same sort of sentiment. It's our favorite. :)

  3. So very sweet! I love it! AND, I love how God gives us his peace in the most unexpected moments. :)

  4. So very wonderful!! What a precious lesson and foundation to build into their hearts, and ours! :)

  5. awww that is so sweet!! I love that saying, because isnt it true...we love them that much, no matter what they do or say!
    happy birthday!

  6. You have me in a full-on ugly cry right now... Because of the photos, the game, the "I'd choose you, mama", but mostly... because I have SO desperately needed to hear your reminder that He chooses me over and over... So so badly I needed to hear that today. Full-on ugly cry, praise Jesus. It is too much.

  7. So sweet Leslie! We have a similar bedtime routine. I have something different I say to each of the kids. I hope they always remember it and it makes them feel special.

  8. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
    Happy Birthday Nathan!!

    (celebrating my Lexy's 6th birthday tomorrow-- my, how the years have flown!!)

  9. Wow. What I felt while reading this post is exactly what I needed after my rough night last night. So beautiful Leslie. You are definitely blessed. I look forward to doing things like this with Jude.

  10. Thank you for sharing this. I've just composed myself and wiped my tears away, I think this needs to be a part of our routine around here. Especially because it reminds me that God still chooses me, no matter what. Hope your little guy had an amazing birthday!

  11. holy guacamole, this is fabulous!
    your writing is so fantastic leslie that i am sitting her balling my eyes out, but more than that this game is exactly what my heart is yearning for with my kiddos. thank you for sharing.
    happy birthday to your sweet boy!!!

  12. ahhh i love this! parenting full of grace. and it's finest. happy birthday to your little guy!

  13. great idea !! i want to make that a part of our everyday story time too. your little one is just gorgeous !! Happy Birthday little man!

  14. I LOVE this!! So, so sweet. So happy to have found you! :)

  15. So precious. Love this this post! Happy Birthday to your special guy!

  16. this is so sweet. i love your heart, as always friend. happy birthday to your precious boy!!

  17. Awww...this totally sounds like a childrens book! Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo..... get busy:)
    Last post: It happens every time

  18. Beautiful Leslie. Good reminder after the week I've had that no matter what, of course I'd always choose my guys, tantrums, flaws and all. God gifted them to me for a reason :)

  19. what a beautiful family memory this will be for your children. i love that he already knew what was coming. and i agree with the above comment: children's book!