Be at the gate


Rainy days and Mondays don’t always get me down but they sure make me sleepy.

Especially when the rainy day is a gloomy, chilly Monday in  late fall. The laundry was folded and put away. The kitchen floor was mopped due to heavy weekend traffic. The guest bedroom sheets were changed. The Bible study that I teach was prepared and the homework for the Bible study that I attend was completed so, at 3:45 on this particular March afternoon, I plopped on the couch with a Time magazine. I knew the house would come alive with dramatic stories, snacks, homework, permission slips and the like at 4:02, as it does every weekday. Lord, let these 17 minutes stretch in a supernatural way. As a matter of fact, please stop the time Lord. You’ve done it before. I really need a good naaa……..

“Maaaaaaa! We’re Ho-o-ome!”

Raindrops were rolling down the den windows. Wind was blowing. Branches were swaying. Leaves were falling. The house let out an occasional “creak.” I read two lines and fell fast asleep. I was down for the count. As you may have guessed, the Lord did not answer my prayer. In what seemed like a minute later, the front door flew open with an announcement from our gregarious son Jordan.

“Maaaaaaa! We’re Ho-o-ome!”

I can always count on the little guy for a bear hug. My daughter Paris had become a sophisticated pre-adolescent. She came to the outer rim of my personal space and whispered “Hello Mother,” without making eye contact.

Following closely behind, as is her lot in life, was my baby. Capri had finally turned six after what seemed like an eternity of being stuck at five and a half.

Capri  makes me even more tired than rainy days and Mondays

Along with energizing me and bringing our home much joy and laughter, Capri  makes me even more tired than rainy days and Mondays.

  • She knows what she wants and when she wants it.
  • She doesn’t let the big kids pull anything over on her.
  • She chooses items at the supermarket and places them in the cart. (The older two would NEVER have tried this.)
  • She refuses to kiss friends and relatives on command.
  • She is the one with a heavy Brooklyn accent even though she left New York when she was two.
  • And with that accent, she tells people what she thinks of them and how they smell.

This is the child that has me re-reading Dobson’s best sellers.

That particular day was like all others in that she dropped her coat in the foyer, her backpack in the entrance of the den and her well guarded, hand-held artwork on the coffee table. She shunned her big girl persona and reverted to playing baby of the house:

“Mommy, Mommy, I missed you Mommy.”

Her thumb went into her mouth and she climbed on top of me. We cuddled for a blissful moment. Her thumb got a brief reprieve.

“I’m gonna like heaven. Just make shaw yaw right there when I get there.”


Capri Lofaro

“Mommy, I do not like dis weathuh.”

“Me neither.”

“Are you sick or sumthin?”

“No, Mommy’s just a little tired.”

“Did you exacise or sumthin?”

“No, I’m too old to exercise.”

“How old are you anyway?”

“I’m thirty years old.”

“No yaw not! Yaw fawty one! Faker!”

“If you know my age, why did you ask?”

“I was just checkin’ ta see if  you know.”

“Mommies  know a lot of things.”

“Will you be dead for my wedding?”

“No, I plan to be there. Daddy might be dead. He’s older than me.”

“How old will you be when I’m fawty?

“I’ll be seventy five.”

“How old will you be when I’m fifteen?”

“I’ll be fifty.” (ouch)

“How will I find you when I get to heaven?”

“I’ll be in the Italian restaurant at the all-you-can-eat buffet.”

“Mommy. I’m sewious.”

“Oh honey, you won’t have to worry about that. Jesus will show you where I am.”

“How does God put people in hell? Does He drop em’ in?”

“Well, no. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you don’t need to worry because you’re going to heaven.”

“Does God have a list of who’s goin’ ta heaven?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact He does.”

“What if yaw on the list and do a bad thing?”

I glanced over at the magazine and wanted to suggest she ask the person on the cover, but I caught myself, and remembered she was only six.

“If you are really sorry for your sin, God can see into your heart and He will forgive you. The thief on the cross didn’t act very nice and he did a lot of bad things but he is in heaven because he was very, very sorry and he believed in Jesus.”

“Do we have ta brush teeth in heaven?”

“No, we’ll all have dentures that don’t wear out.”

“Do we have ta take showuhs?”

“Nope. Everybody there smells good forever.”

“I’m gonna like heaven. Just make shaw yaw right there when I get there.”

She poked her tiny pointer finger close to my nose and said with rhythm, authority and a semi-threatening tone, “Be at da gate and don’t be late! You got it?”

I pulled her forty pound frame closer toward me and held her tight. “I got it.”

A finish line called heaven

Homework time and dinner time and bath time and devotion time and tuck-in time all came and went on that rainy Monday night.

As I lay my own body down to sleep, I thought about heaven and how far away it seems.
I thought about the people I love who have found their eternal rest.
I thought of those who look for rest everywhere except in God.
I pondered how all that I believe in and all that I base my life on leads to a goal, a prize, a finish line called heaven.

I’m told eternity is a very long time and that heaven is a very wonderful place.

My deepest desire for my family, my friends, my neighbors and ultimately for the global community isn’t really any different than that of a six year old.

Be at the gate and don’t be late. It’s a finish line you’ll want to be sure to cross.

Endnote:   God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. – Revelation 21:4 

Ellie is a speaker, author and Bible teacher. She has written five books, with a sixth on the way. She has touched the hearts and funny-bones of women since 1984. Ellie has been a featured guest on James Dobson's Focus on the Family, James Robison's Life Today, and CBN, among others. Ellie was the speaker at Beauty for Ashes 2012 & 2014.


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