My little girl twirled around the living room in her brand new Sunday dress. “Dance with me, Daddy,” she called out in the middle of her living room performance. Of course, he obliged because he can’t tell that tiny little dancer “no.” I watched from the kitchen as they twirled and laughed and in my heart I wished that I could bottle up that moment of sheer joy. For that moment all was right in the world. The performance ended with the two of them dizzy from the spinning and they both collapsed onto the floor.
In that moment I realized something I had not considered before. I am going to miss more than just their littleness. I am going to miss more than the baths and bedtime stories. I am going to miss more than the nights of rocking and singing. I am going to miss more than the surprise on her face at Christmas. There is something greater that I will miss.
I am going to miss the innocence found in a moment of joyfully dancing with Daddy. I am going to miss the way a Band-Aid cures every pain. I am going to miss the problems that are solved with ice cream. Because one day there will be a problem that Band-Aids and ice cream can’t fix.
It’s not just that she is getting older—it’s that the world she lives in becomes a little less magical.
We dread the loss of childhood because we know the challenges that the teen years bring. I know that all too soon she will realize that the hardest thing about life is not learning to share her toys. I know life will inevitably bring struggles that will attempt to diminish the joy in her heart.
This is what drives me to teach her about something greater. SomeONE greater. When I point my child toward Jesus, I give her an unparalleled opportunity to find joy on the darkest of days.
Growing up is hard, but it is an absolute. I want my girl to dream of a career, a husband, and children. I want her to chase her calling and fulfill her dreams. I want her to take life by the horns and change the world. I want her to do hard things. I want her to dance at prom and at her wedding. But more than that, I want her to dance with Jesus.
Because when life gets a bit bumpy, and it will certainly get bumpy, I want the joy to remain on her face. I want the innocence to remain in her heart. I want the love of God to radiate from within her, even as the storm rages. There is no other anchor I can give that will tether her heart to joy.
I want her to seek Him when she faces brokenness in this world. I want to point her to someone greater than Mommy and Daddy, I want her to create a life around dancing with Jesus. I want her to know that He finds joy in her. I want her to know that when there is a day her heart won’t feel like dancing that He will still dance over her. I want her to know that there will be a day when she will see Him, face-to-face, and on that day, they will dance. I can only imagine her dancing with Jesus.
For today she will dance with her daddy and she will laugh as they spin around on the floor. And I’ll rest in the hope that I have given her not just a happy childhood—but so much more.