So you know how much I love Silver Dollar City, right?
We had this couples-only staff retreat this last weekend that just so happened to take place a few miles down the road from the land of wonderfulness that is SDC.
We needed to be at our retreat locale by dinner on Thursday night. It took two hours to get there. So we left about 9 hours early.
The roller coasters were calling.
We kissed our kiddos goodbye. Prayed that God would silence the wind, hail and torrential rains that surrounded us, and headed for the park.
Sure enough, the skies cleared.
We made is safe.
And Silver Dollar City was closed.
(Moral of the story, folks? Call ahead.)
That misadventure aside, the retreat was refreshing and challenging and just long enough to make us nice and anxious to head home.
I couldn’t wait to see our sweet kids.
But, honestly, I wasn’t expecting a very emotional reunion on their part.
Especially from Edy.
As seen here:
She is just not the overly affectionate type.
Hattie would just as soon snuggle you as open her Christmas presents, but Edy? Not so much.
So I wasn’t surprised when we pulled up to the in-laws Saturday afternoon, and Hattie barely cast us a glance.
She was busy cuddling with Grammy.
Christian was a little more interactive at least.
He looked at me, pointed at Cocklebur Jake the dog, and said, “dog,” before waddling off to point at something else.
But, Edy? Now she surprised me.
I saw her see us pull up, and she sprinted to my door. She hugged and squeezed and held me so long that I actually tried to pull away, but she wouldn’t let me go.
The girl missed me.
It was good for a Momma’s soul.
We un-latched briefly so I could say a proper hello to Christian (but not to Hattie, who was still snuggling). She reattached immediately.
She clung to my front, her long five-year-old legs wrapped around my waist, her arms around my neck.
She was heavy, but I held on to her tight and headed toward the house behind Josh.
Somehow, though, I tripped.
My feet were hooked fast on a shovel that had fallen across our path, and I went down hard. There was no stopping myself.
With Edy’s full weight pulling me forward and my arms tangled around her, I was defenseless against what was coming.
My knees bashed on the concrete first, and, in awful slow motion, I saw Edy’s beautiful blond head come down and smack hard against the sidewalk in front of me.
And it was my fault.
She cried, naturally, but there was no blood. Our Grammy is a nurse, and she warned us what to look for in the hours ahead. We took them all home.
I begged Edy to understand that it was all just an awful accident.
Did she know that I would never hurt her on purpose? Did she know that I love her so much? That Mommy made a mistake and that I was so sorry?
She said she knew, but her face was sad.
She licked the old-fashioned lollypop I had bought her in between roller coasters but had no joy.
I roasted asparagus for dinner, her favorite, but she didn’t eat.
I bribed her with Frozen. Again. She fell asleep.
And my heart hurt.
She had raced to love me, and I had dropped her.
I had failed.
I was not trustworthy.
There is a secret-awfulness that I believed about God for years.
Don’t get too close to Him, it said. He is not trustworthy. He is not good. Let down your guard, and God will strike you where it hurts. He’ll take what you love the most, just to show you that He can.
(But I believed it.)
It’s hard to love a God you don’t trust, and it’s hard to trust a God you think is out to get you. Needless to say, I kept my distance.
That God was a dictator, and I wanted little to do with Him.
I obviously had some things to learn.
I stopped calling my dad “daddy” a long time ago.
But I hear my girls call out to Josh that way, and it makes me smile.
There is such tenderness in that expression.
You just don’t ever hear people who were raised by abusive or negligent men refer to their fathers as “daddy.”
I think I know why.
In the word “daddy” itself there is an inherent understanding that the man in reference has proven himself trustworthy to this children.
That Daddy kind of love is precious.
Where it’s selfless and gentle, it’s also a fiercely protecting, deeply caring, and always-seeking-the-best kind of love.
It’s the kind of love that just nearly cripples you when you make a mistake—like a trip-up-on-a-rake kind of mistake—and your child suffers for it.
(So it’s a Mommy kind of love too.)
But despite all that a Daddy and Mommy kind of love are, they are still but a shadow of the kind of love God has for us.
Because He’s a Daddy too.
(Except without the mistakes. Ever.)
When I start to doubt His good intentions for me, I remember this.
He is perfect trust multiplied by perfect perfection.
He is no dictator.
He is Daddy.
And He means to act like one.
I believe it now.
P.S. Edy was fine. We were watching the scene of Elsa singing “Let it Go” in Frozen when, I’m not kidding, she woke up singing along.
What is it with that song?!?