It finally occurred to my daughter this week that I was wearing not one, but TWO rings on my ring finger. She had woken up earlier than usual that morning and wouldn’t allow me to coax her back to sleep. But she, of course, knew how to coax me and asked if we could worship. Can you say no to that? Not really … and I think she knows that.
So I dragged myself into our closet where she had already darted into with my oversized study Bible which looked just about as big as she was. Then as she plopped onto my lap with unexplainable energy for five in the morning, I began to pray and fight the spells of sleep coming over me.
My heavy eyes still shut, I could feel her playing with my fingers and rubbing my diamond ring. She does this often and the only reason she no longer asks if she can wear it is because she has given up. After being denied so many times, she finally understands that it is from daddy and it is special to mommy. But this day, as she looked down once again at all the sparkles and fine details of the ring she longs for, she suddenly gasped. After taking a closer look, she screamed, “umma you have TWO!”
Then, right on cue, came every three year old’s favorite question.
“Why? Why, umma? ..Why do you have two?”
Although usually pretty straight forward, sometimes her “why” question requires, begs, deserves, or simply invites deeper thought. This was one of them. Although she probably only asked because she hoped it might be an “extra” one to share, I ignored her burning desire for it and sat and thought and decided to really ponder the reason for these two rings. The next few moments of dawn were then transformed into full blown story time, still right there in my closet. We forgot we were surrounded by hangers and hangers of clothes and got lost together in the story instead.
I told her that the first ring was bought by daddy when he chose to marry me and be with me forever. He wanted to make it special, so he took me to my favorite place with lots and lots of horses. After taking a moment to talk about all the pretty horses, I continued on. When he asked me to marry him, I said yes because I loved him and chose him too. Now I wear the ring everyday because everyday my answer is still yes to be with him forever. Then I told her that I got the second ring on our wedding day. Standing with family and friends and God, I said yes to daddy again, and this time, it was my promise to God that I would be with daddy forever.
Sometimes I think about that moment of exchanging rings and vows–lofty promises really. I used to cower a little thinking about them because I knew I had broken them many times in the moments I failed to honor, cherish, and love my husband well. Even while standing at the altar that day, repeating those words eight years ago, I should’ve known then that I wouldn’t be able to keep all those promises. But you never make a promise thinking you’ll break them.
Such are the promises I’ve made to God. Especially when I first said yes to Him, I’m sure I spewed out many a grand promises to Him along with those buckets of tears. And still today, there are many things I want to do for God well and many I hope and say I’ll do. Other things I’m too afraid to even utter, God forbid I cannot carry them out. But I don’t think the point is so much in the promises, much less the success, but in the heart to do them and in the grace we find along the way, even as we fail. And maybe wholehearted broken promises are just part of the plan because I have just seen too much good come from my weak yes’s and failed attempts at life, so many times that it makes me wonder if this is just the way it is supposed to be.
To fail is humbling for sure, but maybe not so bad when grace is involved because it has truly been in my weaknesses where I have been seeing God’s perfect strength to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, etc. These days, I am learning what it is to be less. And more than my promises to Him, I am desperate to understand His promises for me. Still, I won’t be afraid to say “yes.” Everyday, my answer will be yes. Why? Well, because I love Him. And I choose Him and want to be with Him. Forever. Like He first chose to be with me.