We Make Him Smile

She put her whole heart in playing basketball, and I loved seeing it. This usually soft-spoken eight-year-old shouted, “Go!” when throwing the ball in for drills. She’d jump and wave her hands while screaming “Outlet!” There were times she seemed to come from nowhere and knock the ball from the other team’s hand. It was a side of her that made me smile.

Then, there was the last practice, when the team lined up for a game of knockout. She was the only one cheering on each girl. “You got it, Leila!” or “Good job!” she’d say clapping. I stood on the sideline with a smile.

At the end of the season party, the coaches handed out trophies. They came up with a nickname for each girl like Referee, Defender, or Shooter. When the coach got to her, his eyes brightened as he tossed his head back with a chuckle. He said, “This girl made me smile.” He talked about how she encouraged everyone and made them happier. The nickname they chose for her was Heart, because she was the heart of the team.

I felt a lump in my throat and a sting in my eyes.

My little girl isn’t perfect. Sometimes she gets angry with her brother. Sometimes she complains about schoolwork or chores. She gets frustrated, wants to give up, and cries. She’s human, like each of us.

It isn’t these things that make her who she is. And these aren’t the words I’d use to describe her. Beyond the struggles, I see her heart. She’s growing, and it makes me smile.

I wonder, could this be how God sees us in Christ? Maybe in our growing, we make Him smile.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, NKJV)

A Simple Adventure

While waiting for the decaf to finish brewing, my husband and I talked about the house we saw for sale. I pulled up pictures on my laptop while sitting at the breakfast nook table. Together, we wondered at the deal.

“Let’s drive by it,“ I said.

“We have to go now; it’s getting dark,” he stood with his back against the sink and turned his head toward the coffee pot just as we heard its last sputter.

I shut the computer, knowing he wanted to go as much as I did. “I’ll get the kids.”

“I’ll pour the coffee,” he pulled two mugs from the cupboard.

We loaded the family in the van and sipped on hot drinks while rounding corners through the neighborhood. Seven minutes later we stopped at open gates in the front driveway. A white, colonial style house sat in the trees with a front yard that reminded me of The Secret Garden. Overgrowth spoke of abandonment.

“I’m gonna get out and look,” said Mike.

I felt my shoulders tense. “No one lives here, for sure, right?” I thought of the signs that say, Do not Disturb Occupants. I didn’t want to be intrusive.

He shrugged off my concern and walked right up to the front porch.

“Is there a lock box on it?” I yelled as I opened the passenger side door. He nodded. The kids got really excited.

“It’s got stairs!” Judah said. “I want to get out.”

So, the five of us walked through the back gates, and stark in our faces lay the answer to our question. This house still sat on the market, because water tanks towered outside the backyard. They filled the whole view. With sky barely visible, the horizon couldn’t even be admired. Really, we didn’t need to see anything else.

We piled back in the van and ventured home.

“Well,” I said in a moment that felt a little disappointing, “I still had fun.”

“Me, too,” said Mike.

It was a simple, whimsical adventure with a good friend.

Today I’m joining Kate Motaung and the community at her blog for a Five Minute Friday. We’re writing on the prompt, friend. Hop over to see more posts from this group of writers:)

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