Coffee and Cocoa
When I was little I used to be a morning person. And I wasn’t the kind of morning person I am now where I wake up and need a few snooze buttons and 3 cups of coffee. I was a proper morning person, who beat the alarm clock up and would race up the stairs to start the day.
My dad also happens to be a morning person. When we were kids, my dad had this big, overstuffed armchair at the top of the stairs facing toward a window in our house overlooking the ocean. Every morning as a kid I would get so giddy, knowing my dad would be sitting in that chair. I would wake up and “sneak” up the stairs. He, of course, would hear me scrambling, and tripping, and giggling up the staircase behind him. But still, each morning, he would let me think I surprised him.
While the rest of the house slept, we would have “coffee and cocoa” time. My dad would make a refill of his cup of coffee and we would make me a cup of hot cocoa. At some point, after enough cups of hot cocoa, I earned the nickname “Cocoa Girl.” And the nickname stuck; my dad used it permanently as my nickname growing up.
When I hear my dad say his name for me, there is a fog that lifts. It is only my dad that gets to call me that, so I am instantly snapped to attention that it is my Father speaking. It is my Father who loves and goofs and embarrasses, who protects and guides and defends. The name has become knit into the fact that I am, without a doubt, my father’s daughter. It tells me that I’ve done absolutely nothing to be enough except really like hot chocolate… and as a kid that’s a pretty easy job. Still to this day he can use my nickname when I’m sad or anxious to still my heart or use it when I’m happy and bring me nearly to tears because of its intimacy. Either way, the name reveals who I am and who he is to me.
There is a part in the Gospel of John after Jesus’ resurrection when Mary stays outside the tomb weeping, thinking that someone had taken away His body. Eventually, she turns around and sees Jesus but doesn’t know that it’s him (John 20:14). Jesus talks to her, asking her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Even after Him talking, Mary thinks that Jesus is the gardener, and tries to get Him to fess up to taking away the body. After this, Jesus simply says, “Mary.” It is in that very moment that Mary has a revelation the man standing in front of her is Christ.
This scene used to confuse me. I used to think it was odd that Mary didn’t recognize the voice of Jesus after His first sentence… which was much longer than saying her name. But as I’ve soaked in this scene, I started to question it more. When Jesus asks Mary why she is weeping and whom she is seeking, He isn’t looking for an answer—He is well aware she’s looking for Him. But Jesus asks questions to reveal hearts. Mary, in this moment, is caught upin grief, in confusion, in wanting answers or logistics. As we humans often do, Mary has gotten caught up in circumstance. She has forgotten the truths of her God and the promise of the resurrection.
Gently, Jesus reveals her stormy and anxious heart before reminding her of who she is. I know Jesus doesn’t call Mary by a secret code name or a cute nickname they came up with that only He would know. But Mary knows Jesus. Mary has been with Jesus in devastation and in jubilee, in confusion and in awe. Jesus has championed her and taught her and loved her despite the culture they were in not because she did anything to be enough, but because He decided she was worth it. So Jesus calling out Mary, by her name, instantly lifts the fog—it exposes who she is to Him and who He is to her.
I want to know my Lord like this. I want an intimacy that runs so deep, that when Jesus calls my name, my eyes instantly refocus on His promise instead of desperately seeking answers to the circumstances around me. I want to know my God so well, that when He says my name I see the character of Christ and, in turn, see my own character too. To know someone this well takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of mornings of coffee and cocoa, a lot of days spent with them in the tragedies and in the victories, a lot of moments learning one another.
So I’m working, friends, on getting giddy to “sneak” up on my Heavenly Father each morning. I’m working on drinking coffee with Him and sitting in His lap before the day begins. I’m working on knowing His character. And I’m working, harder than anything, on knitting my name to His.
Please Note: *My dad is a morning person too, but he is, most definitely, the 3 cups of coffee kind.