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When our Hopie girl went to kids’ camp for the first time, I gave her a fistful of spending money to last her the week.   Eyes wide, biting her bottom lip with barely contained glee, she took it.  I doubted the fifteen dollars would last the first day, so severe was her sweet tooth.

A few days later, Hope came home dragging a sticky bag full of crumpled clothes and silt, a huge smile on her sun-kissed face.  No sooner had we walked in the door than she reached in the bag and drew out some brightly colored stones.  Clutching a few, she let the rest drop, and I realized the stones were strung together into two loops, one white, one hot pink.

“Necklaces!” I exclaimed, matching the tone of my voice to the enthusiasm in her expression.  “How beautiful!”

I was proud of my girl for spending her money on something she could wear instead of wasting it on sugar.  The necklaces were bright, to be sure, but they would match any one of a dozen happy outfits in her closet.

“They’re for you!” she announced, holding them out to drop in my hands.

I hesitated.  Her little chest heaved with pride.

“Thank you,” I gushed, deeply touched, but concerned.  I couldn’t think of a single outfit these necklaces would match.  Still, I took them.  They were from my baby girl, and I would wear them with gratitude and courage.

Wear them I did, for about three hours.   They were a sweet—and constant—reminder of my daughter’s affection.  In fact, I couldn’t have forgotten the sentiment if I’d wanted to.  With every turn of my neck, the stones grabbed and dug and pinched, making my neck itch.  The finer hairs at the base of my skull kept catching in the clasp and breaking off, feminine tendrils deteriorating into corkscrewed tufts that needed water and hairspray badly.  Finally, when the pink dye turned to slime and stained my color, I knew I couldn’t wear them any longer and took them off, hoping that my sweet girl wouldn’t mind.

With pride, I hung them in a prominent place by my vanity.  To this day, they make me smile every single time I see them, these tokens of my daughter’s selfless affection.

“But I want you to WEAR them,” Hope protested, disappointed.

With all the diplomacy I could muster, I explained that just looking at them made my heart happy because they were from her, my precious girl. It was true, but my little one was not appeased.  She had given her all to bless me, you see, but didn’t think she had.

She didn’t know her mother’s heart.

This morning, as I pray, I feel inadequate, which—I’m told—is good.  We should be humble before the Father, as He is God and we are not.  Still, holding out the contents of my heart, everything I have to give, I stand on Bambi legs, unsure.

I see that my emotions are fragile.  My strength is weak.  My devotion is fickle.  Goodness!  My life itself is brief.  Held up to the light of His glory, what does it all amount to?  Not much. Not much at all.

Then I remember the Father is steadfast.  I remember the Father is strong.  I remember the Father loves me, His child made of clay, with an everlasting and unconditional love.  Each day, with kind compassion, He takes the shards I offer and turns them into treasure that I might bless His heart.

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