TOBI BENTON

You on the Swing

You on the Swing

You on the Swing

I know you were surprised to find this photo, this image that captures your memory of the beginning of us.  Almost 45 years old, and you have framed this for your desk to remember you have always been mine.

Perhaps your mother’s heart recognizes the joy a child displays in the knowledge of being loved, the other-world look of faith before it needs to be defined.  You were loved.  I gave you me for a best friend.  Hours on this swing and together we were song-makers and duet partners, our  music of joy before the Lord swelled the heart of Our Father and He said it was good.  You were very, very good.

Your mom with her church-broken heart pushed aside twinges of fear with her prayer,  “Please don’t take her back to You.” I have always stunned people with my power to capture a heart in my own way, timing, and purposes.  I know you didn’t go to church. You didn’t meet me through a Sunday School teacher or Bible time and prayers at home.  I am your first memory.  I defined friendship for you.  I made your heart secure in me, the One who whispers a constant I love you in your ear.

So that ~

when you wander your soul will cry out to come home to my love.

when you are broken you will know I am your only source of healing.

when you delight in fellowship you will know I am in the communion.

when you run a disciplined course it will be me by your side, championing you on.

when you sealed yourself to your husband you would pursue a holy love, the kind I shaped your heart with.

when you fall you will remember I am the one who lifts you up.

when you feel like an outsider, especially among the believers ~ strange, too honest and open for others’ comfort, fearful of the label liberal because you stand holding tightly to justice and mercy, you will remember I pursued your friendship first and with delight.

when you are burdened by this world, your brokenness, and what seems the emptiness of trying to change ~

You will remember this little girl on the swing is the child I made.  The one I delight in and gave my life for.  The child I am returning you to.

Because there will be moments, days, and circumstances in which you won’t want to be a grown up.

For who is old enough and wise enough to stand beneath the weight of bombings in Boston or Bahrain, Iraq and Gaza?  Who can make sense of terror?

Who will at last free every slave, shut down the I-95 corridor of sex-trafficking, and cleanse little boys and girls of poison-saturated cells from the inside out?

Who will cut off the hands of those who reach inside the womb to deliver to the world my treasure?  Not for My Glory on display, but with self-donned quality assurance stamps to profit from breaking the broken, piling up pure gold on the refuse heap for a few pieces of silver to buy a field of blood.

There will be moments when the evil in this world seems too big and powerful to live beside.  In this place you will remember.  The warmth of sun on your bare skin.  The timeless moments of song, a tiny voice capturing the majesty of Me.  The confidence you had in Me to protect, provide, and be present in everything good.  You will remember you are my child, and I will hear your voice through whisper, cry or song.  Come Lord Jesus.  Come.  I will be your quiet and confidence in the face of all that looks dark.  And in your remembering my love you will extend its light, revealing light conquers darkness for the hope of the world.

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.  

And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:14-16

Favored One, you are my child.

I love you.

Jesus

6 thoughts on “You on the Swing

    1. tobibenton Post author

      I love you too! This photo is on my desk, right beside a lovely Favored One painting, a Be Small reminder, and a photo of the Mt. of Olives with one of the crayon scrawled names on the glass being yours.

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