My youngest daughter is the third child born to our family. She has an older brother and sister who are only 21 months apart. Being born in the month of October, within the first week of her life she was dropping off either her sister or brother at preschool Monday through Friday. She was my sidekick. By six months old, she literally only wanted to be held and be held by her Mommy. We have never been called home by a babysitter until this kiddo came into our lives. The young girl next door used to watch the kids and had come one evening with a friend so my husband and I could go out. We got the call before dinner or dessert was served (I’m pretty sure we asked for it to go). When we got home, the young girl was pacing the floor with a crying baby. Even my mother (Grandma to 8 babies after our youngest came) had to call us home one evening because she just wouldn’t stop crying and needed her Mommy!
At one point during that spring or summer, my husband told me he would take the kids to his parent’s cabin so I could get some rest. Before he left that night I was paranoid at what he was going to do to get her to sleep since I wouldn’t be there. He would be too far away for me to come and rescue. I had been wearing a Gold’s Gym t-shirt all day so I quickly took it off and gave it to him. In desperation, I told him at bedtime to try giving it to her because it would smell like me.
That’s all it took. Our youngest never again let that t-shirt go. It went everywhere with us. As soon as she could talk she would say “where my she-turt?” in the sweetest little voice. However it made things a little awkward. You always see toddlers running around with a dirty, well loved blanket or stuffed animal but never a T-shirt!
One day on a trip to Target things drastically changed. The big kids were running around my cart helping me shop. And there was my youngest, in the cart with her t-shirt, happily relaxing. She herself was now a happy toddler. We checked out and were on our way out the door and the panic hit my stomach.
WHERE IS THE T-SHIRT??
I asked her siblings if they had seen the shirt, I asked the youngest if she had the shirt. It was nowhere. We retraced our steps looking all over the floor and saw nothing. My panic was heightened my friends because that t-shirt you saw in the photo above now looked more like an old rag. It was so thin I had to pick and choose when to wash it and it was starting to get holes that had been repaired a few times by Grandma. Now I’m almost in tears because what will we do without the “SHE-TURT”??!!??
I went up to someone at a register and the conversation went a little something like this:
Me: Um, excuse me? We seem to have lost my daughter’s lovey. But the problem is, it is an old, purple t-shirt and I’m super nervous that if it fell on the ground someone would think it wasn’t important and throw it away. Did anyone happen to find it?
We didn’t have to panic for long because our littlest seemed to have dropped it while we were checking out and someone grabbed it and gave it the people at the register and we got that precious t-shirt back.
I remember in my head saying THANK GOD (and not in a take the Lord’s name in vain sort of way) because I was so grateful to have that piece of fabric back in our possession. I was wanting to sing loudly in that Target PRAISE JESUS!
As I was putting my youngest into her car seat in that Target parking lot, I handed her the “she-turt” and told her from now on it had to stay at home so we would never lose it again! She actually didn’t throw a fit or cry she just said okay. I’m pretty sure she felt the same way as I did. So relieved to have it back in her hands she didn’t want to ever go through that again and thought the safety of keeping it at home sounded pretty good. Since then that is where it has stayed unless we leave for an overnight. As she’s gotten older she no longer needs to hold onto it but it needs to be near her so she knows it’s there. Thus is resides under or inside her pillow/pillowcase.
Fast forward about 8 or 9 years to this Monday February 4. While the kids were at school I changed all the sheets on all the beds. When I got to my youngest’s bedroom I searched her bed for her t-shirt but couldn’t find it anywhere. This t-shirt can literally not be laundered anymore as it will not come out alive. So I very diligently shook out every pillowcase and all the sheets. Nothing. I threw all the dirty sheets and blankets into a pile in the laundry room and went about the rest of my day.
She went to go to bed that evening and asked where her t-shirt was? I had forgotten about it and told her I wasn’t sure. That I couldn’t find it. We pulled out her bed, looked on the floor, nothing. She ended up going to bed without it for the first time EVER. She was fine but asked if I had found it on Tuesday morning, asked if I had found it after school on Tuesday afternoon. I had not. Another night without it.
This morning while my youngest was eating breakfast, I went to throw the blankets from all the beds in the laundry. I grab a pile and my youngest’s tiny pink baby blanket fell out. When I lifted it up, out drops a purple piece of fabric!
PRAISE JESUS THE T-SHIRT IS FOUND….AGAIN!
We celebrated how happy we were to find it again. To feel secure knowing it will be back under the pillow tonight at bed time.
God and Jesus’ love for me is like that purple fabric. It looks like a rag only because they have loved on me SO MUCH. Nothing on this earth loves me or cares for me more. That t-shirt is like Jesus the Shepherd. Never too far away from me, always caring for me, helping me feel secure. Jesus laid his life down for me and for you!
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steel and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” – John 10:7-11, 14-16.
Today I celebrate how happy I am that God is in my life. I am secure in knowing that he is here with me, guiding me, loving me, caring for me, and protecting me. When I lay my head down on my pillow tonight, I will sleep well tonight knowing he’s in my heart.