I sit at the computer with a half-consumed, cold cup of coffee at 11 o’clock in the morning. I haven’t even had a shower yet because I’ve been taking care of my little girl since I woke up with her cries about 4 hours ago. She has since stopped crying, but now she sits on the floor next to me getting into things she shouldn’t get into; touching things she shouldn’t touch.I’d like to pick her up and just have her be still and safe for a moment in my arms. But when I reach for her she turns away and when I grab onto her she cries because she doesn’t want Mommy’s help. She wants to do it on her own.
At this very moment this seven month old (complete with the sense of independence that came with crawling) is trying to pull herself to her feet on the short black safe that holds all of our important documents. Yesterday she did this also, but she fell forward and cut her lip and gum on the lock. Only then, after all the crawling away and crying to break free of my embrace did she finally reach for me. She bled and she cried and her daddy made a fuss over her and I sat there soothing both of them, saying, “It’s okay. It looks worse than it is. She’ll be fine. You’ll be fine.”
Now I watch her precariously climbing and start to sigh, “You just did that yesterday. You just hurt yourself on that yesterday. Don’t you remember?”
But then I stop and wonder if that’s me. And really, I know it is.
I’m the one crawling around on the floor getting into things I shouldn’t get into and touching things I shouldn’t touch, pulling everything out of bags, putting fingers in slightly open drawers and the crack between the door and frame, sticking the pointed end of keys in my mouth, chewing on wires, tugging the ears of an irritated dog, trying to stand on things that hurt me yesterday, only reaching up when they hurt me again.
And God is probably watching me, shaking his head and sighing, “You just did that yesterday. You just hurt yourself on that yesterday. Don’t you remember?”
But He’s always patient. He’s always there to protect me when I get into things I shouldn’t get into and touch things I shouldn’t touch. He’s always there to help me when I hurt myself again and again and again. And He always picks me up and soothes, “It’s okay. It looks worse than it is. You’ll be fine; I’ll make sure of it.”
My daughter falls again, cries again, finally reaches for me again. I pick her up and hold her close, covering her round face in kisses and filling her ears with whispered comfort. She melts into my shoulder and buries her head in my neck, allowing me to soothe her–if only for a moment. As I rub her little back and nearly-hairless head I know that in a few minutes she will begin to squirm and crave her independence again. I may hold her for a time, but never long enough to protect her from herself. I wish she would always reach for me. And I realize that so does He.
Suddenly I understand the Father’s heart so much better than I ever could have without my crawling bundle of curiosity. Not only that, but I understand my own inclination towards foolish independence rather than staying safe and still in my Father’s arms. So I pray if I could learn one thing and teach her one thing in this whole parenting adventure, it would be for both of us to reach for Him all the time–before we get hurt, during the hurt (for pain is inevitable), and of course after the hurt when we just need the comfort of our Father. I pray that He would help us learn to lean on Him rather than return to the same things that hurt us yesterday again.
In Love and Christ,