Little boy substitute...

Last week was busier than normal for me. Aside from my weekly errands, I had the privilege of coffee with friends, not once, but twice! How precious it is when sisters in Christ meet to fellowship and share each others' joys and burdens. One of those visits gave me such a sweet surprise! My friend made me a pendant (which I wore to church today) with one of my favorite Bible verses on the back. The verse has meant even more today, as I was especially in need of the Lord's encouragement. It is: Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine."

What a blessed truth! "I have called you by name; you are mine." (Emphasis mine.) Sometimes just knowing that God knows my name and claims me as His is all the encouragement and comfort I need. Especially when life steals my energy or my joy.

Saturday I spent at a LifeWay bookstore in Toledo for a few hours. The pictures are still on the camera, and I haven't looked at them yet, but I hope to post a few hear later this week.

Tonight our church held their annual celebration, which is also combined with a business meeting. Best business meetings I've ever attended. I remember growing up in a church where the business meetings could turn ugly. These are different. They are truly a time of worship and a bit of fun too.

They showed a couple of silly videos of the church staff, and while I watched, a little boy, probably four years old made his way down the aisle toward me. His parents were sitting at the opposite end of our row, and there was no one between us, so he could easily move from one end of the row to the other. He stopped one seat away from me and looked at me with big eyes and an impish smile. I wanted to hug him!

This continued for some time. He showed me all three of his boo-boos, one on his arm and the others on each leg. He told me he needed two more - one for the other arm and the other for his forehead. I wonder what his mother would have thought of that! I shook my head and told him to be careful. Then we just smiled at each other.

He drew some things on the card in the church rack and asked me what I was drinking. "Iced tea," I said. "Where did you get it?" "From a place called Panera." "You've had it a long time." Well, I had, but he couldn't have known I'd been sipping it since lunch. A long time to him must have been the few sips he'd seen me take before I finished it.

We stood to sing again and he moved back to his parents. Then the next thing I knew, he'd bumped into me. Apparently, he didn't want my attention on the singing. I patted his head and smiled. He was so adorable - reminded me of my guys when they were small, though he couldn't have known I'd been missing them more than normal that day. Of course, God knew.

And sometimes, I wonder at God's sense of timing and the way He can send comfort in the smallest of packages. The little guy left me again, then returned. This time, I motioned him closer and bent to whisper in his ear. "What's your name?" I asked. "Seth," he said. Little blond-haired, impish Seth with that innocent boy smile that tells you he thinks you're pretty cool even if he doesn't know you. Grandchildren must be wonderful gifts!

After the song ended, I looked toward my left again where Seth had just been, but he was gone. Apparently, his parents decided to leave early because I never saw him again.

Seth in the Old Testament was God's substitute to Adam and Eve when they lost Cain. While I haven't lost my guys, they're no longer children, and I can't just hug them like I used to when they were small. And I miss that. Seth was a reminder of those days, and a joy to my heart. I hope his parents realize what a treasure he is.

I ran into a woman this past week who told me that when her kids were small, she used to wish for the day when they would grow up and she could have more time to do the things she used to do before they were born. But then they grew up, and she wished she hadn't wished their childhood away. I'm glad I didn't do that. Perhaps I worried too much about losing them, but most days, I determined to treasure my boys childhood, just as I'm determined now to treasure each moment of their adult life, though I don't get to share it like I did back then.

Someday, maybe a little guy like Seth will bump into me in a church service and put his arms around my neck and tell me about his boo-boos. And I will get to pick him up and hug him tight, and he will get to call me, "Grandma." the meantime...God gave me a substitute tonight in Seth.

Thanks sweetheart, wherever you are...