Monday, February 1, 2021

Once Upon A Time

By: Joanne Viola

Once upon a time …

It’s the way so many childhood stories begin. The words quickly take us back into stories of possibilities, dreams, beauty, courage, and magic.

She brings an old book off the shelf, holding it to her chest tightly, taking in the smell of the aged pages. She lays on the kitchen floor on her belly and turns the pages as if she could read them. But she is twenty nine months old and has a ways to go before she will read on her own.

She tells me to come look, to read the book, it’s fun. I take the opportunity to lay down opposite her on my belly and begin to read to her the very same way I read to my first two granddaughters, and my own two children.

She points at the words with her little finger as if actually reading along as I begin to say aloud:

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl name Eliza.”

She looks up with a small grin on her face. She returns to pointing her finger across the words …

“She had beautiful curly hair and a very pretty dress on.”

She stands to shake her curls, give her dress the once over, smiles, and lays back down on the floor …

“She had on her red Elmo socks because she loves Elmo.”

She sits up and begins to wave her feet around so I can see Elmo, the grin on her face now as big as it can get and she starts to giggle.

The story can go on and on to her delight, the words assuring her she is loved and affirming she is valued.

But somewhere along life’s way, we sometimes forget the assurance and affirmation, losing sight that we are loved and valued.

The sweetness of Eliza on her belly, her finger glancing over the words on the pages, as she smiled and twirled is a memory I want to hold onto.

I want to hold onto the memory because it represents each one of us.

As believers, forgiven and redeemed by the sacrifice and blood of Jesus Christ, the Father rejoices and delights over each one of us.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy. He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NASB)

Take time to quiet yourself before God today.
Hear Him quietly whisper, “You are loved.” “You are precious.”
“You are His.”


Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash







  1. Joanne - that Zephaniah verse is a favorite. We are beloved indeed!

    1. May we hear Him speaking over us every day! Linda, you are such a blessing!

  2. Knowing I am accepted, treasured and valued by God brings me peace and strength to move forward in the Holy Spirit with the fruit. I loved your example - don't you know our Abba delights in us. Love, Mare

    1. And that is so it - we need to know and remember this truth for then, we will truly bask in His love.

  3. I love this for so many reasons - because old books and fairy tales go straight to my heart, that you do interactive reading with your kiddos, making stories come alive - and the understanding that we need affirmation that we are loved and valued - and that it is so important that we understand that God loves us and values us, too! Thank you for sharing this precious memory with us! Precious Delightful Gifts!

    1. Thank you for encouraging me! I love how God teaches me and makes me so aware of Him through my children and now, grandchildren.

  4. That's one of my favorite verses. We can get so discouraged over our failures everyday, it's sweet just to pause and bask in His love.

  5. It's always been a favorite yet it fell so new and fresh, which made it even a lovelier time of basking!


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