I found a box in my garage that I had forgotten existed. It was stuffed with a bunch of weird things that my mom had packed up on the day she finally overhauled my childhood room to make it a cute guest room instead of a floor to ceiling shrine to my awkward high school years. Old purses, certificates of all kinds, ribbons and medals, old jewelry, writing assignments and vacation souvenirs were spread out all over my kitchen table as I dug through the box in search of anything that was worth keeping. I even found my Glamour Shots, y’all! All you 90s girls know exactly what I’m talking about. I was sporting big, over-blow-dried hair and a denim shirt with an American flag on it. I look oddly filtered and awkwardly positioned, but I remember loving the pictures when I posed for them at 16.
I searched through the box for something to hang on to. But, the truth is that I threw 98% of its contents into the trash without hesitation. Then, at the very bottom of the stacks of weirdness, I found my childhood jewelry box. You know the kind. Your first jewelry box, generally white with a kitten or a rainbow painted on the lid. When you open it, a sweet tune plays, and a ballerina spins in endless circles, her tiny tulle skirt like an invitation to love being a girl.
I saw it, and my heart jumped just the way it had when I had received it for my fifth birthday. I knew I couldn’t throw away the sweet jewelry box, so I presented it to Emerald.
She seemed just as taken with the box as I had been so many years ago. She wound up the ballerina over and over again to watch her dance, and she gathered some of her smaller treasures to put them inside.
The jewelry box isn’t perfect. It’s old and worn. It has stains and spots shows all the signs of having been well-loved through the years. Here it was, this special possession that had once brought me so much joy, sitting on my coffee table after I had completely forgotten that it ever existed, wowing my three year old daughter.
I’ve been a Christian since I was eight. I remember clearly the sheer delight that I felt back then about being a child of God. About having been rescued from my sin. But, life happens and we get wrapped up in the changes and the drama and our own failures. And, sometimes that simple joy that I once felt is forgotten. I get serious and intense and forget that at the heart of the Christian faith is pure delight in knowing that Jesus is with us.
But, then I had children. And, I see salvation fresh through their eyes. And, what I had forgotten comes back to me as clearly as can be. The story of my growth through these years may be far from perfect. My faith may show signs of selfishness and doubt and fear. But, it is still the absolute joy of my life. Watching my baby girl sit mesmerized by a little twirling ballerina helped me to remember that.
I’m so glad that I found that raggedy old jewelry box. And, I’m glad that Jesus found me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12