Monday, September 16, 2013

when you feel left out

did you know that i have a mountain named after me?'s really more of a hill 
and i'm the one who named it but's kind of a big deal.
last night lucy was already bathed and ready for bed.  she had walked outside for a minute to see what the boys were doing and walked back in with tears.  apparently she had been excluded from something really special {or so she said}.  she felt left out.

have you ever felt left out?
i have.
it stinks.
most of the time i put on a smile and act like it doesn't bother me but of course...that's a complete lie.  i start a self-analysis that usually leads me to believe there is a valid reason why i was left out.  sometimes my mind even travels so far as to threaten that i will always be on the outside looking in...never really accepted.

it's silly.
i have a lot of friends and family who love and accept me...
but all it takes is one misinterpretation of being excluded to set me off on that downward spiral of self-pity and discouragement.  my mind fills with defeating lies.

i see my daughter on that destructive path sometimes and it breaks my heart.

last night i decided to be really intentional about responding to lucy's sadness instead of dismissing it as i often do...or reminding her it's 'no big deal' even though it feels pretty big to her.

even though she was in her nightgown and it was past her bedtime i said, come on.  let's go for a ride.
her face brightened up.  
this was not typical mommy behavior for a week night.  we hopped in the car and, honestly, i didn't know where we were going.  i just wanted to bring her joy with an unexpected surprise.

we drove around the neighborhood with the windows down for a while until she spotted the moon...then i spotted the sunset.  suddenly i decided that we needed to find a place that would be special for just the two of us to gaze at the moon and watch the sun finish setting.  i parked our van around the corner from our house next to a path that leads to the golf course.  lucy's eyes were wide when i turned off the engine and opened my door.

where are you going, mommy?

we are going somewhere special...just the two of us.  come on.

by this time there were no more tears...only a big grin stretched across her face.
in our bare feet we climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the golf course and sat down.  we looked at the moon and the sun sharing the sky for those brief minutes.  when she crawled into my lap these words spilled out...

i love you, lucy.  every day, all the time.  daddy does too.
but i want to tell you something.
as much as we love you, we won't always love you perfectly.  sometimes we make mistakes and say the wrong things or do something we shouldn't.  that's true of everyone - your brother, your friends, even you.  none of us loves perfectly.  the only person whose love is perfect is...

and then she cut me off...
I know that, mommy.

i know it too but sometimes i forget.  sometimes the lies speak louder than the truth.

when people in this world {either intentionally or unintentionally} leave you feeling left out, excluded, and unloved remember that they are not perfect...and neither are you.  but with all our imperfections we have a God who still loves us perfectly.  He doesn't just accept us...he chose us.  He wanted to include us so desperately that he hung the stars in the sky and His son on a cross to prove it.

when lucy tucked her hand in mine on the way back down the hill i told her that place would forever be called 'lucy and mommy's mountain'.  we made a pact to go back there again...just the two of us.  and though i didn't say it aloud i decided that maybe every mommy and daughter needs their own place.  
a place that is their own little secret.  
a place to go when you've had a tough day...or you need to have a tough conversation.  
a place where you can hear the truth over the lies.  
a place to feel completely loved and accepted.  
a place that is sacred ground because you experience perfect love when your bare feet are planted there.

i'd be willing to bet there is someone in your life who is feeling left out or unloved.  it may be your child, your spouse, your friend, your co-worker, or your neighbor.  maybe you need to surprise them with a ride around the block and a few words of truth.  you could be the one to bring them unexpected joy today.  

so go...
even if you are supposed to be working on a project
even if you had planned to catch up on laundry today
even if your calendar is booked up
even if you are barefoot in your jammies.

go find a special place and be reminded...

when the creator of the universe makes that kind of fuss over you...there's no way you can feel left out.