Sometimes when I’m watching my daughter, I get a glimpse of some other Jennifer…an older Jennifer, who is more developed and mature and grown. It is like a glimpse into the future, or like I am peeking into the window of something I’m not supposed to see yet. Or maybe like I’ve discovered a fantastic secret hidden in a closet somewhere, only to have the door close before I can really see it – before I can know all about it in its entirety or get my hands on it. I’ve seen enough to be excited…but then it’s gone.
It’s a strange phenomenon. Right in the middle of two year old temper tantrums and the frustration of repeating a mundane request for the millionth time, I see what she may be one day. She’ll make a choice that is just what I have been trying to teach her, or she says something so kind and loving that it is just what I pray for her to be like as a grown adult. For a moment, I’m transported away from the here and now, and into some point in the future, and I’m not looking at preschool Jennifer, but at middle school or high school or adult Jennifer. She looks the same – definitely Jennifer – but definitely different, too. The Jennifer I know…the Jennifer I love…but also somehow the Jennifer I hope and pray for.
This happened the other day as she was watching her morning Sesame Street. I walked into the room, and the little person I saw on the floor was some other Jennifer.
As I snapped a few pictures in hopes of freezing the moment, I had a thought: Do I ever give God a little glimpse of who He knows I will become?
I am a work in progress. Despite the closeness of my relationship with the Lord, I still fall woefully short of who I should be…of who He created me to be. I am impatient with the people in my life. I can be really lazy (especially on cloudy, chilly mornings when my coffee hasn’t kicked in and the Today Show is much more entertaining than productivity). I speak with harsh words to the people I love most, while I conjure a fake smile and kind words for people I don’t even know. I think thoughts I would never want anyone to know about. I am overly concerned with what people think and not nearly concerned enough about what my Creator thinks. I indulge more than I sacrifice, and I do countless other things I don’t even know about.
I am far from perfect, but I do have the promise that one day, I’ll be complete. At some point in the future, day and time unknown, I’ll be perfect in the presence of the One who has been working on me since the day of my conception. I have that promise.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
He’ll make me perfect, and one day, I’ll be all that I’m not today.
What I hope and pray, since the day last week when the Lord gave me this message, is that with every day that passes, I give Him more and more glimpses of the perfect version of myself. That every day, I make more right choices and fewer wrong ones. That with every interaction with others, I reflect Him more than I did before. That every day, He gets that incredible feeling of seeing who I will become. A glimpse here…a moment there.
When it happens to me with my daughter, I can’t take my eyes off her. God never takes His eyes off me, but I like to think that when those glimpses come, there is a special twinkle in His eye.
“There she is. That’s who she really is…who I am making her. She’s not there yet, but we’re getting there. Together, we’re getting there. I can’t love her any more than I do right now, but how wonderful to see her as she was meant to be…as she will be one day.”
I might be totally off base with this, but I really do think that there are moments when I choose God’s way over my way and thereby look more like my perfected self. There are moments when despite what I may have just done moments before, in that moment, I have chosen the right thing. There are moments when I am in line with what God wants me to be and do, and He smiles.
I believe that.
Yes, the moments fade, usually as quickly as they came. Jennifer gets up off the floor and I am reminded that she is, in fact, only two. I make another split second decision that reminds us all that I’m still a work in progress.
But I have a picture to remind me of what I saw, and in the moments when I can’t take it any more, I’ll pull the picture out and smile.
And God, who is outside of time and space, and who is somehow, beyond our understanding, in my presence right now and yet looking at the perfected version of myself when I arrive at heaven’s gates…From where He is, He sees my imperfection and my whole potential all at once…and I think He smiles.
(Note: Those of you who know my family may be confused by my reference to Jennifer. As my girl gets a little older, I’m giving her a pseudonym anytime I reference her in my online space. When I asked her what name she would want if she could have any name in the world, she said Jennifer. So Jennifer she shall be! Here, anyway….)