On the days when the little ones sleep, smell sweet, and smile, it’s easy to say.
On the days when they wail, sweat, smell like sour milk, loose their hair, have a break-out of baby acne, and ruin two new outfits with blow-out diapers, it’s not as easy.
But, it’s always true. And can always be said… Those precious words, “You are a delight.”
On the days when the big ones obey, clean up after themselves, and play together joyfully, it’s easy to say.
On the days when they drag around, leave tornadoes behind, and fight like cats and dogs, it’s not as easy.
But it’s always true. And can always be said… Those precious words, “You are a delight.”
I first discovered the power of this phrase in 2010.
I was 20 weeks pregnant when the ultrasound technician discovered that our daughter had died in utero. That discovery marked the beginning of our journey through the valley of the shadow of death. We cried many tears and learned many wonders as we experienced the stillbirth of our third daughter, Juliette.
When I delivered Juliette, I wasn’t expecting to feel the same bonding that I felt with our other children. I wasn’t expecting to feel that deep love that took root when I held our first two squirmy, crying, nursing daughters. And yet, I did.
She lay so still in the crook of my arm, and my heart gushed with love for her. I was smitten. I looked at her little red body, which needed so much more time to develop, and I loved her. She was not much to look at; for she was not meant to be seen yet, but I felt so pleased about who she was; I am so pleased about how far she had come. I remember feeling torn: wanting the whole world to see our beautiful little girl, yet knowing that they might feel uncomfortable doing so, knowing that this wasn’t the type of little girl people say ooo and ah about.
My heart knew she was a wonder.
The mystery is, she did absolutely nothing to win my heart. She did nothing to delight me.
She didn’t have to, nor could she. Yet, because God had created her to be inherently loved, she delighted me.
I want our living children to know that I love them precisely the same way: when I think of them, I am filled with unconditional – just because - delight and love.
I want them to know that they delight me.
So, I began to whisper those powerful words into their ears when I tucked them into bed: you are a delight!
I began turning my face towards them and saying it when they’d walk through the room, or snuggle in by my side for a story, or do something simply horrid: you are a delight.
This one sentence is so important for us to speak to our children because, deep inside, they know that it is true and they will trust the person who believes it about them.
The friends they make – for better or for worse – are the people who communicate some type of delight about who they are.
Children’s hearts are crafted with the unspoken knowledge of God’s eternal, delighted heart towards His creatures. They are are longing to connect with other humans who will believe and proclaim that truth for them.
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephania 3:17
I might not always feel delighted about my child – especially in the ugly moments when one of us is whining, rebelling, or throwing a fit – but I aim to overcome my feelings with the truth: that each child is a blessing, a reward, and, most poignantly, a delight.
And so I will say it at all times, you are a delight.