Butterfly Nightlight

Cramped in a tiny chair, feeling like a worn out Mommy doll in a hand-me-down dollhouse, I allowed pure peace to absorb in the air that evening. Curious rays of sunshine were dripping all over the carpet, like they wanted to play with all the cluttered toys on the ground. Ainsley was thoughtfully coloring a cupcake toy in rosy pink marker, and Savannah was trying to copy her big sister but mainly getting the green all over her white shirt. But I let it happen. I felt God’s presence in that room, in those girls’ chubby cheeks and dimpled smiles. Babysitting is so much more of a blessing than I often think it is (if you have the right kiddos of course 🙂  I understand I’m far off from being a mother, but I’m learning what patience is, especially in the urge to take over. (Here let me help you with your jammies…no by self! *10 hours later* Here, your shirt doesn’t go on your legs…there you go!) But besides all that, I thank Jesus for the blessing of joyful little girls who play with my hair and smile at little things and say they love me. 
I remember one particular babysitting night. Feeling empty and beat up inside, I was tucking a sweet, My Little Pony fanatic into her bed. We said goodnight and turned on her butterfly nightlight. I asked her if she wanted to keep the lights on anyway, and she gives me an answer that blew my mind at that moment and caused me to question what I was doing, going through life trying to figure everything out. 
“Off. I’m sometimes scared of the dark, but I trusted in God. If you trust in God, you can never be scared,” she says.
“That’s right Sierra. Good for you to trust in God and never be scared!”
“Yeah! Like in Veggie Tales if you’re ever scared of the dark, trust in God!” (good ol’ Larry and Bob, at it again)
“That’s right! God will always take care of us won’t he?”
“Goodnight Twilight Sparkle,” (my lil pony code names right there)
“Night Rainbow Dash!”
Sierra was four when this happened. I quietly tip toed downstairs, took a nice handful of chocolate Teddy Grahams (my fav) to the couch, and thought. Ok, I’m pretty sure God just spoke to me through a four year old girl. If you trust in God, you can never be scared. It’s funny, because I find myself constantly afraid of the dark. The unknown. The cliff that dwells right outside my comfort zone cave. (read Megan’s blog post about that, it accurately sums it up 🙂 My sparkly, Rainbow Dash wings don’t know how to fly into something so dark. Sometimes I don’t think they know how to fly at all.

Then I remember something. In my own room, even if it’s pitch black, I know the general direction of where my nightlight is. I could search for minutes on end, hand desperately roaming the splotches on the wall that remind me of a thousand little monsters, when I feel the light-switch. And bam. Light drenches the parched darkness. Usually in those instances, I need the light so I can find my water cup or go pee. But I think it’s the same in real life. No matter how far we are in the darkness of anxiety, we know the general direction of hope. And that is up to heaven. When we have enough of an urge for light, we can crack open a Bible, and light will radiate from the hope we find. Like each of the teeny letters in the big Book of Books has it’s own colorful beam that activates when it’s read, and at the end of the page the words light up in your heart like the northern lights.

After four years babysitting for practically every house on my street, I’ve learned to love all kinds of kids and still find wonder in each of their distinct personalities. I’m seeing these lovelies grow up every day and it reminds me that my life isn’t the center of the universe. I have about a million stories to tell, and I’ve messed up more times that I can count on fingers and toes (like…um…painting nails and spilling a whole bottle of bright red nail polish on the carpet). But I have lots of stories that make me happy inside. Whenever I’m sad, I just think of two year old Travis running around the kitchen pretending he’s Todd Helton, screaming WE GET TACOS! over and over.

As much as I like telling myself that the best part of babysitting is sitting on the couch eating other people’s food, the actual best part is the genuine joy of little kids. It’s really nice to have a taste of being a mom for about four hours, then going back home and being thankful that’s not me yet. Moms are so much more brave and superhuman than most people understand. Thank you Mama for letting my imagination run wild and loving me. Thank you Grandma and Juju for spoiling me and loving me. Thank you to my aunts for being super amazing and loving me. Thank you to all the inspiring women I know, the ones I babysit for and all the ones everywhere, for believing in me and loving me.

I hope tonight, wherever you are, that the little monsters on your bedroom wall will guide you to the light. Or maybe you’ll guide yourself to the light and be amazed by the aurora in your own room. That you’ll turn on the nightlight inside of you and society will exhale a breath of gratification. We can be sure that this darkness is temporary, that the light will blind us soon enough if we continue to search.

The things I go through…

 But it’s so worth it 🙂

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