Keep me as the apple of your eye.... (Psalm 17:8)
Growing up, I always wanted to be someone's favorite. I was the middle child in a blended family, so always felt pretty much like I just was...there. I wasn't the oldest. I wasn't the pretty one. My father died 2 weeks before I was born, and I carried with me the idea that I brought back really bad memories for my mom, who was distant and depressed most of my life. My stepfather was unemotional (unless he was angry or disapproving) and unloving.
My sister and I loved being with our extended family. They were funny and loving and we felt special. But even then, we were kept separate from them, so we don't share a lot of the same memories. My mom moved us away from them early in life, so we only were able to spend summers here and there with them. We never were able to spend time with our father's side of the family....something I still struggle with today. I long to know them better, but feel at 48 like I've missed that opportunity.
As adults now, we find that we are just...on our own. We have each other, my sister and I. At Christmas this year we commiserated over it as we watched my children try to fit in, but they had that same look on their faces that Melissa and I had. We just weren't an intricate part of that family. We didn't belong. We weren't their favorite.
My children don't even know my mother. The last time she visited, Tucker and Griffin were 2 and 4. She has never met Annie. They quit asking about her long ago, after years of asking why she didn't visit, didn't call, didn't remember their birthdays.
I should interject here, lest you feel sorry for my kids, that Paul's mom adores the kids and spoils them. They love her so much....we all do. She drops whatever she has going on to help us out when we need it. She travels hundreds of miles to babysit when we need her. They are the grandmother that my kids need, and I am so thankful to God for her.
I longed to be special to someone. As I got older, I wished that some boy would come along and adore me. I wasted a lot of time and gave away a lot of my heart to some fellas that were not worthy of it. But that is a. another story and b. the reason I want my kids to court, not date.
One day I was reading my Bible and came across Psalm 17:8 and it just gripped me. Keep me as the apple of your eye. Was *I* the apple of His eye? I looked it up and found this as explanation:
Apple, of the Eye:
ap'-'-l: The eyeball, or globe of the eye, with pupil in center, called "apple" from its round shape. Its great value and careful protection by the eyelids automatically closing when there is the least possibility of danger made it the emblem of that which was most precious and jealously protected.And it all made sense to me. I am most precious to God. My children are jealously protected by Him. Earthly relationships are just that.....earthly. Eternally, my family is loved and prized and viewed as precious by the Creator of the universe.
My Christian family has always taken care of us. In illness, childbirth, postpartum depression, emergency rooms....it's the church that has shown up and loved us. Taken care of us. Made us feel important, remembered, and cared for. It was people that sometimes barely knew us that were the hands and feet of Jesus. It was truly Christ in them...the hope of glory.
So while I may long for someone to love my kids like I do....someone to show up at their games and recitals, someone to tell them they are smart, funny and handsome....I know that we are blessed beyond measure to be members of a worldwide family of believers that love us and pray for us. From the Kings in Ecuador to the Rayburns in Argentina. The Stewarts in south Asia. The Benders and Lawrensons on the Outer Banks. The Howells in south Florida. The Samplers and The Fowlers. Our phenonmenal family from Our Lady of Perpetual Help, who taught us the beauty of their faith and the love of family.
And more than anything, we are loved by God the Father. We are the apple of His eye. We are that precious and protected part of Him.