“You don’t have to be afraid you know,” His voice was whisper soft.
She clutched her knees a little tighter to her chest, “Of what?”
“Of not being perfect.”
“I’m not afraid,” she tucked a wisp of unruly brown hair behind her ear, “I’m terrified.”
“But I love you right here.”
Her heart stopped. Literally stopped. Only He could do that in one sentence.
She knew His words were real, as real as His sun on her face and His arm around her shoulders. It’s just that the fear pumping through her veins was real as well.
He gave her a squeeze and leaned in to whisper, “I’m not ashamed of you right here either.”
The tears that sprung to her nose and her eyes took her by surprise and she sniffed, embarrassed.
Oh, how she wanted to believe that. She wanted to believe that so badly.
“Look,” He guided her eyes to the distant figures of a young father and his infant daughter. The scene was classic…the kind people take pictures of and frame on their fridges to make themselves feel better.
The full-grown man was on his knees, grinning and giggling like a child himself. She watched as he lifted the girl to her tiny, quaking feet and then slowly inched himself backwards, leaving her to totter alone on fragile, doll-like legs.
“Come on, come on,” He beckoned softly, fingers outstretched in anticipation. The little girl took a few stumble steps forward, ending her endeavor with a plunge right into her father’s waiting arms.
The man let out a whoop of delight and swept her up in his arms. “Did you see that!!??” the proud father cried to all who would listen.
He leapt to his feet and held her up at the end of his extended arms.
“Did you see that!!??” the little girl shrieked with joy as the pair spun in rounds of dizzying circles.
“That’s my girl!” He shouted with a smile so big it seemed to swallow his whole face,
“That’s my girl!”
“Now,” Jesus elbowed her gently, “Did he look like he was ashamed of his daughter to you?”
“No,” she shook her head.
“Well…” He let His smile speak for itself.
In one swift movement He had her in His arms and in the air and the two were spinning and squealing and raising a racket they hoped the world would hear.
“In fact,” He tossed her up and caught her gently, cradling her close to Himself. “I’m loving every minute of it!”
She laughed and He laughed as He sat her firmly on her feet and rested His forehead on her own.
“Just keep walking my little one, just keep walking.”
“It was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms…I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love.” Hosea 11:3-4, ESV