A few days ago we celebrated Micah’s first birthday. At first, he didn’t seem to know what to do with Cindy’s homemade, baseball-decorated cake set on his high chair tray. He flung whipped topping around for a while before tasting it. He may have gotten more on him than in him.

I’ve found myself lately just staring at him, enraptured, with an inerasable smile on my face. He’s begun walking. He’d been taking a few unguided steps lately, but just yesterday he really started going, ambling the expanse of our living room. I watch him like I’d watch a trapeze artist, with the sense that eventually he’ll fall but wondering how far his momentum will take him.

I can think of no better word than simple delight. I take great delight in watching him, remembering when he was just tiny. Enjoying the moment, yet wondering about his future. I see pictures of Cindy when she kept him safe in her womb, when we speculated who he’d look like more—I won that one, I think.

Seeing how he progresses more and more each day, I also think of Lindsay and Jacque who are both growing up so quickly. (We’re shopping for swimsuits tomorrow. Father, be with me.) The other day after they’d gotten ready for K.I.A. (Wednesday night kids’ activities at church), all dolled up, I kept looking at them thinking how stunning they’re becoming and considering the Second Amendment isn’t such a bad idea. (The ratifiers probably had teenage daughters.)

So the past week or so I’ve realized not only how much I love Lindsay and Jacque and Micah, but how much I delight in them. And I’m starting to grasp now how God feels about me.

He loves it when we call him Father, as when Micah recognizes me as Dada. (I actually refer to him as Papi in my private prayers. Not Big Papi. He can’t hit his way out of a paper bag. Just Papi.) I’ve always known that God loves me, but now I’m sensing that he actually likes me. He likes me because he created me. He likes me because I’m made in his image. To God, I look like him in the way Micah resembles his daddy.

I think sometimes I make him laugh. The way Jacque made me laugh the other day. We were at a drive-thru and I ordered a Diet Dr. Pepper. She informed me that diet sodas aren’t good for my brain. She wondered aloud what was worse: being dumb or being fat. I’ve been one before and don’t want to go back.

I think I make God happy with my music—whether I’m leading worship, doing my best lounge piano player impression at home, or struggling at electric guitar—because it’s what he made me to do. Similar to when Albert Pujols hits a homerun. Sort of, maybe.

Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart. —Proverbs 29:17 esv

I sadden God when I make choices that don’t reflect what he wants for me. But it doesn’t mean he loves me any less or doesn’t like me anymore. Sure, he’s sometimes disappointed, as when the girls make decisions I don’t agree with. But I am still loved, and I’ve no reason to cower and hide. Like Micah, I’m still learning to walk, and falls are inevitable.

Because of Jesus, I don’t have to work to impress a God who could never be impressed with my attempts at righteousness. I rest in his grace alone.

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. —Zephaniah 3:17 niv

I’m learning to live in my Father’s affection, and with now three birthday cakes a year I’m growing up as a dad.

Check out Matt Redman’s “The Father’s Song.”

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