Friday, August 21, 2009

Subtle Surprise

As a single woman, age 35, never married, no children, my latest adventure of being a foster mom has been, to say the least, life changing. Over the last 15 years while watching my friends and siblings start families of their own, I was pretty certain I had become an expert on child rearing. So you can imagine the shock I went through as I brought my little 6 month old, high needs, foster daughter home and realized everything I thought I knew about raising a child was as worthless to me as the dirty diapers that suddenly took over my home. I was surprised at how quickly my list of "When I have kids I will never....." one by one faded to nothingness. I was surprised at how much laundry an infant requires. And mostly surprised at how utterly exhausted I was ALL THE TIME.

Some things were as expected though. For instance, I expected to sit on the couch for hours playing peek a boo because I knew these were things infants enjoy. What surprised me is how much I love it myself. Is there truly anything more enjoyable than watching a child's face light up as she throws her head back and laughs with complete abandon? I could not stop myself from laughing with her even if I tried. Seeing her so carefree, so full of joy...produced a beautiful emotion in the very depths of my being.

I think what I am describing is delight.

Two of Webster definitions of delight are extreme satisfaction and something that gives great pleasure. Its interesting how seeing someone else experience joy produces extreme satisfaction and pleasure in myself. So often times I stumble over myself trying to hold onto the things the world says will satisfy; like money, prestige, reputation. Or perhaps I could stay a little closer to home and say fulfilled dreams, or security or connection. However, while chasing those things and sometimes even while obtaining them, I often find anxiety the ruling emotion. Will I ever find these things? How will I keep them if I do? How will I survive if I lose them?

And yet I, with the hiding of my eyes and a simple "boo!" find myself plunged into the purest form of extreme satisfaction and great pleasure. The old country song comes to mind, "looking for love in all the wrong places." Perhaps my striving steals from me the chance for the very thing I am striving for. Perhaps, I do not completely even understand what it is I am after.

The third definition Webster offers for delight is the power of affording pleasure. This caught my eye as it did not just immediately make sense. Delight involves power? Power is required to afford pleasure? Pleasure has a price? The word power simply defined means the ability to act or produce an effect. In order to feel pleasure I need to be equipped with an ability to afford it. Afford means to be able to bear the cost. So delight is having the ability to be able to bear the cost of pleasure.

When I delight in Robin its because I have the ability to bear the cost of the pleasure I feel. As a foster mom my mind instantly wonders if the cost of this pleasure will be paid the day she goes home. My heart, even while typing this, begins to break. I cannot imagine how that will feel. I do know, as hard as that will be and not taking that lightly, I am willing to pay that price just for the moments I have with her right now.

I am fighting tears as thinking about it gives me a taste of the price that is to come. However, this is a reminder to me of the price paid by Jesus Christ on my behalf. In Psalms 149 we are told that the Lord delights in His people. Before I studied delight I would have paraphrased this to say, "The Lord gets a kick out of His people." But now I realize there is so much more to it than that. The Lord has the power (ability) to bear the cost of His pleasure in me. His pleasure in me cost the death on the cross. Only He had the power to pay that price. And all this was done so He could find pleasure in me. All this done to produce extreme satisfaction in Himself.

Lord may I never again think of Your delight for me without remembering the price You pay for its existence.


Melanie...MJ...Mel said...

Great post, Mardel !!! Life is so much about really understanding God so we can understand and "delight" in the life He has given us !!! I hope you delight in all of life !!! Love ya, Mel

Feenie said...

I know you will understand when I say that you beautifully sum up in your post the truth of the bulk of what I learned (and will forever be learning) last week. Thank you SO VERY MUCH for sharing.

Teresa said...

WOW! That was awesome, Mardel! I wouldn't consider this to be a rambling of yours as it made sense and was very well written! Thanks for sharing that!!!! (I sneaked onto your info from Lynn's blog).

Love ya,


Kristi Tisor Ambriz said...

Fabulous, fabulous post!!! On so many levels...thank you!! ~Kristi