the lost sheep

One of my very favorite parts of being a parent to a little kid is I get to watch her quirks develop. I'm always so surprised at the adult-like tendencies that she has in a completely child-like way. 

She is busy. That's what my mom is always saying about her. Annie is the busiest child I've ever seen. Busy, busy, busy. Always busy.

Right now, one of her greatest joys is collecting and dispersing little things. Chess pieces. Poker chips. Rocks. Puzzle pieces. Those velcro rollers old ladies put in their hair. Credit cards. 

She pulls them all out and separates them into neat little piles, contemplates them for a moment and then rearranges them into new, neat piles. I swear there is some criteria by which she divides things. It looks too methodical to be random, but for the life of me I never see a pattern.  

Did you notice the chess piece inside John's shoe? Yesterday I found a sock, a bib and a receipt in the drawer beneath our oven.
John found a poker chip inside her diaper. 

Those are my mom's rollers that Annie put in the dishwasher. I found a sock in the utensil basket of our dishwasher. After I ran the cycle. Mmmm, yummy.

Oh and sharing. She loves to share. She'll chew half her raspberry and then it dawns on her that maybe you'd like to have that raspberry, so she pulls it out and reaches toward your mouth. But, then, oh like me and her daddy and every other broken person I know, she has that pang of regret the moment she shares. Suddenly, she decides maybe she wants that raspberry after all. So back into her mouth it goes. 

Sometimes she'll feed you three peas in a row and right as the fourth one reaches your lips she pulls it back in for herself. Sudden hunger? I wish I could crawl inside her mind.

But thanks to her, our dog Griffin is the most well fed dog on the block. He loyally sits at her feet for every meal and she loyally feeds him as though its her job. She squeals with laughter when he licks something out of her hand and tickles her fingers. Again and again until her whole dinner is in his belly, not hers. 

I think my favorite Annie phenomena though is what I think of as the lost sheep. 

We'll spread 20 poker chips in front of her but if she, out of the corner of her eye, sees one across the room, she leaves all the rest behind and books it to the other side. Is it that she wouldn't want that one chip to feel alone? Is it that the one across the room is more important than all the rest? Do you always want what you aren't given? I don't know.

What I do know is that Jesus taught the Parable of the Lost Sheep. He leaves his flock behind to rescue the one wandering in the wilderness. 

<<Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave this God I love.
Here's my heart, Lord. Take and seal it. Seal it for thy courts above.>>

I'm thankful I have a God who always seeks to rescue me and bring me back to the flock. 

I hope that Annie keeps that spirit of seeking the lost as she grows older. I pray that she always cares for the lonely. That she always shares her food with her dog. And her neighbor. And that she always hides socks in oven drawers? Maybe not. 

I love her. I love her. I love her. But I see my brokenness in her. Yet, I feel a hope through watching her. A charming purity despite the brokenness and I pray that we as parents foster that in her as we raise her.

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