Every single night is the same… I tuck the little girl into bed and we take turns praying. I kneel next to her bed and place by head on her tummy and she routinely plays with a strand of my hair. Sometimes she prays first, sometimes I do.
I’ve been reading a lot about cults lately and all the horrid things that have happened in them and so it weighed heavily on my mind tonight as I kneeled next to the little girl. I prayed thanks that we are free, that we think on our own, that we have the Bible and it’s words to guide us, that we are safe. I followed this by praying as I always do for people we know and the things happening in their lives and then it was Olivia’s turn to pray.
Olivia prays for the same thing every night, too. She thanks God for everything great that happens to us and then she asks him for a Daddy. Prayer is the only time of day that she mentions a daddy. In the past she was more specific: Dean. She wanted her daddy. But tonight’s prayer took a different turn and it was foreign on my ears…. at least coming from her.
“Lord, I love you. I know that Daddy isn’t coming back. I didn’t used to know that but I know it now. Lord, do you think you could bring me a new Daddy? I really want one, God.”
Then she asked me to also pray for a new Daddy and in the past I may have tried to get around that one but she had broken my heart so I immediately closed my eyes tightly and spoke, “Lord God… I come to you asking that you bring us a father for this family. I ask that you give us a man who will pray with us, play with us, laugh, cry and work hard for us. We can do this on our own, Lord, with you and you alone… we live it and succeed at it every day. We are living testimony that it can be done. But these children deserve to have a father, Lord, and I just pray that you bring them one.”
She smiled at me, satisfied, and then said very sweetly, “Mommy,when you run away Janie is going to have to babysit us and be our new Mommy.”
The words stung my heart. Janie is our thirteen year old neighbor.
I took her hand and placed it on my cheek. “Olivia, Janie can’t have you. I won’t give you up. I’m not going anywhere and I never will. I’m not going to leave you. Ever.”
She was thinking. Then, “Mommy, when will I die?”
“Not for a very long time but even when you do, guess what? You’ll go to Heaven and get to see Jesus.”
She squealed in delight over this and clasped her hands underneath her grin so tightly that I suddenly worried that I shouldn’t ever glorify heaven to her so much that she might off herself to get there sooner. I shuddered at this and she must have noticed because she suddenly asked, “Is Heaven beautiful?” and I said, “More than any place you have ever seen. When you play with the water there, it will play back. And, Jesus is there.”
Grinning again a smile so wide I thought she might break her face she whispered, “Is God there?”
I could hear her excitement.
“Yep. God is there. And when you see him you know what he will say? He will say, ‘Olivia, remember when you were a little girl and you used to cry and be sad because you missed your Daddy? And you used to call out to me and wonder if I could hear you? I was right there the whole time. I spoke but you couldn’t hear me and so I cried with you. I cried because I hurt for your broken heart.'” I paused and watched her watching me intently.
“And God will also say, ‘And do you remember when you caught your first ladybug and you sat watching it crawl on your finger and you were so pleased that it had trusted you so much, that it had chosen you to rest on? Do you remember the joy and pride you had when that happened? I had joy, too. I was proud, too, that that ladybug had chose to bless your tiny hand. As your eyes lit, my heart lit up, too. I love you so much and always have.'”
I was whispering all of this to her as to not wake up Emi and she was peaceful now and happy again and sleepy. I could tell that she had much to say in prayer after I left the room and so I tucked her quilt up around her and kissed her on the nose and left the room, teasing for a moment by growling, “As for Janie…. if it’s a fight she desires then so shall it be! I shall fight her to the death for she cannot have my Olivia! Olivia… is MINE!” and I heard her giggles from under her blanket as I closed the door behind me.
Down here in the peace of the night… the kids asleep upstairs… I am just so lucky. So blessed.
Life is good.