I jump out of my car and race up the hill to the track just in time to see her lining up at the blocks. As she takes her place, her eyes scan the crowd until they rest on mine. She flashes a grin.
I blink back the tears because I know that’s all my girl was looking for – my eyes on her.
And isn’t it true? So often we are all just longing to know that someone sees us.
I remember when they laid my newborn baby pink and slippery on my chest and he didn’t really cry, but just blinked up at me, his tiny eyes holding mine for a moment. And how I would read later that a newborn sees best from 8 to 12 inches away, the exact length God designed between the crook of a mother’s arm and her tender gaze, so that as an infant looked up, even when he could see nothing else, he could see a loving face looking back at him.
I remember how my toddlers would run and play, but periodically glance back over their shoulders to make sure I was still watching them, still enjoying them, still delighting in them, how they would smirk and giggle as their eyes found mine. My children delighting in me, delighting in them.
And as I sit in the audience of the school play, I see my middle-schooler crane her neck from the back row and exhale relief as she finds our motley crew right there in the middle row, ready to behold her performance. I am there, delighted by her, ready to watch her shine.
And I wonder when, I wonder why, we grow older and we convince ourselves not to glance around, convince ourselves that no one really is looking, no one really sees. Maybe we have had one too many performances where we didn’t find our people in the crowd. Maybe there have been one too many disappointments. Maybe we are afraid that we will look up and find no loving eyes to hold our gaze. Somewhere along the line we have forgotten to be the delighted child who glances over his shoulder during play time to glimpse his parent enjoying him, we have forgotten to scan the crowd to rest assured that someone will be there cheering us on.
But deep in our hearts, it is still true – we are all looking to make sure that someone is looking back at us. We are longing to be seen, we are longing to be delighted in. And I have good news – we are.
When I still my hands and my heart, even in the midst of my most mundane tasks, even in the unseen minutes of the ordinary days, when I turn my eyes to look at my loving Father, astounded, I find that He is looking back at me. He sees me. My Father enjoys me, delights in me, and His tender eyes are on me waiting to be met by my own.
And here I am distracted. Convinced that no one sees, no one is looking, maybe that no one cares. Looking for affirmation from the world and all that glitters instead of enjoying the gaze of the one who delights in me despite all my failures, despite all my shortcomings, the one who created me for His own enjoyment and so that I might enjoy Him too.
What would it take for us to pause today, and let our eyes find His gaze? What would change if we could move through our days believing, knowing, that our Heavenly Father delights in us, adores us, and is right here with us?
Motherhood has taught me so much more about the heart of God, not just for my children, but for me. And my encouragement for you today is to look into your Strong Father’s eyes, curl up in His lap for a while, and receive His delight in you, His beloved child.