The name of my website, Tickled Heart, is not the result of creative brainstorming or a clever marketing plan or even a happy accident. Although it has evolved over time into what is now Tickledheart.com, the spark of inspiration for the name actually originated years ago, and like many of the most fascinating gifts in life, it has a story behind it. It all began during a simple interaction with my brilliant and beautiful daughter. Sarah has always been a quiet girl, and even when she was extremely young, I seldom knew what my introspective little girl was thinking, but I did know that she was always thinking. During rare and magical moments, however, she would throw open the doors to her busy little mind and present me with the unexpected treasure of rare glimpses into Sarah World. I was never disappointed.
On the occasion that led to this story, I was rocking eighteen-month-old Sarah, and listening to her “bessas.” As her sweet voice offered her nightly intrercession for her family, “Bessa Mommy, Bessa, Daddy, Bessa Mimi, Bessa Papa,” it occurred to me that she might be ready to have another brief conversation about the one to whom she prayed.
“Sarah, do you know where Jesus is?” I asked.
Sarah assumed her thinking pose, head tilted, beautiful blue eyes gazing skyward, finger to chin, furrowed brow. “Noooooooo, I don’t” Her long, drawn out “Noooooo” presented clear outward manifestation of her inner pondering.
“He lives in Heaven. He sits on His throne at the right hand of His Father, God.”
“No He doesn’t! Jesus lives in my house!” Emphatic declaration! Innocent children do not question what they cannot see. Wavering faith is the filler of gaps left by innocence lost.
“You are right! He lives in our house too, and He wants to live in your heart.”
“Oh! Thank you! Night-night”
Subject closed, or so I thought. Silly me!
A full two days passed. My mind had sorted through ten thousand more imponderables and had left our discussion far behind. I assumed my daughter’s mind had done the same. Not so.
I was washing dishes. Sarah was engaged in her favorite activity of the moment, standing in front of the washing machine, using her little bottom to pop the metal in and out, in and out, in and out, making Sarah-approved music. Suddenly – extended silence – followed by a sweet melody of giggles, rippling like a refreshing brook through our dry domestic moment. Pure, sparkling, heart-squeezing beauty dropped like a gift into the middle of my duty-driven day.
“What are you laughing about, silly girl?” I asked, my heart swelling, my perspective already changing. Still, I was unprepared for her answer.
“JESUS TICKLED MY HEART!”
Oh my heart! How often I have longed for such simplicity in my relationship with God. On so many mornings I cry out to my Father to help me make sense of pain, tragedy, loss, heartache, hatred, and violence, but God’s response is often as simple as the whispered memory of a child giggling while Jesus tickles her heart. His gentle invitation to come to him as a child and to trust him as a child trusts her beloved father is a poignant reminder that our only hope in the darkness of our storms is to walk hand-in-hand with our Father, the one who, even in our darkest moments, is our constant and unextinguishable light and hope – and the tickler of our hearts.