"Tell me the story one more time, Gi-Gi, " Lucy pleads. And so I do...
It was a chilly October evening when I arrived in the small town of Virden, Illinois. Yes, so small it boasted no Walmart Supercenter or familiar grocery store chain. Corn and soybean fields aplenty were on full display and lined every roadway inside and outside the city limits. Yes, set against a backdrop of rich farming soil and big barns and silos--handed down from past generations--was the thriving brick church where your daddy served as both the worship pastor and the youth pastor. Your momma, great with child, (yes, that was you, Lucy) continued to toot her flute, sing, and/or tickle the ivories of the baby grand piano weekly.
Your Gi-Gi arrived a couple of days before you made your grand entrance, so that I could get the charming little house you would soon occupy--with its usual Midwestern basement--spit and polished. (No, Lucy, I didn't actually spit on your furniture...It's just an expression!) And when all the cleaning had been completed, it was Halloween. As your mom and dad relaxed, I greeted costumed children from near and far with handfuls of candy and a smile. And while your Gi-Gi was not dressed in a costume, my short and spiked hairdo entertained more than a few trick or treaters on that October evening! Yep, Lucy, many thought your Gi-Gi was a rock star!! (Go ahead and laugh, Lucy...You always do!) Awww, but finally the porch light was turned off and between nervousness and exhaustion, a silent hush fell over that little cottage.
Bright and early the next morning, we braved the frosty fall air to make the hour long trek to Springfield for your mom's scheduled c-section. We were anxious to meet the darling little girl who had situated herself in a nice comfy position with her head upward--so that her ears would be ever close to the beat of her mommy's heart (yes, dear Lucy, that was you). I paced the waiting room and repeatedly checked my phone for texts of promised pictures from your daddy. And then, at 11:55am on November 1, 2007, I heard the familiar strains of BRAHM'S LULLABY waft through the hospital intercom! You had arrived weighing just over eight pounds! I rejoiced as those promised pictures indeed flooded my phone from your precious daddy!! A few hours later, when you were settled with your mom and dad in your hospital room, I walked in and heard you crying. I like to believe that you were telling your mom and dad--in no uncertain terms--that it was time to meet your Gi-Gi! And so, I scooped you up and sang to you our little song--my version of a song my dear pastor's wife has sung to her babies..."I like your eyes...I like your ears...I like your nose--your hands, your feet, your toes. I like your smile...I really do. There's no one else exactly like you. You could search the whole world and never find...Cause there's no one else...There's no one else exactly like you!" And yes, Lucy, you looked up at me and a sacred and beautiful hush fell across your face. And that was the day that Lucy Shea Toller came to live with a mommy and daddy who had prayed over and over and over for a baby of their own. And that was the day that Paula Rutherford first became a Gi-Gi...And nothing has ever been the same!
Dear friends, why does Lucy never tire of hearing that story? It's because she loves hearing how she fits into her family. She loves hearing how she was the longing realized by her mommy and daddy. She loves hearing that she was wanted--that she was, and is, a big deal to us! Yes, the same is true for each of us. We want to know how we fit into God's family. We need desperately to understand how He longs for joyous fellowship with us and that we were HIS big idea! Oh, but we will never fully know that truth until we take God at His Word--until we take to heart the words of His His love letter to each of us. Yes, He has told us His story...It's a story that includes you and me! Just as I have sung that same song to Lucy, and each of my grandchildren after her, more times than I can count--God is singing His song to you and to me. My friend, I invite you to hear it anew right now---"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Now that's a story worth telling again and again!