Tonight, I saw God in myself… I saw a glimpse of how he parents us in the instinctual response I had to my child’s distress… and the events that unfolded thereafter.
My daughter threw up this evening in her crib. I heard a sputtering noise of distress from her crib and leapt from my chair and bounded into her room, where I saw her choking on and covered in vomit. She was still sleeping and on her back as the vomit threatened to choke her. I sat her up immediately and cleaned out her mouth.
This unpleasant moment was the one in which I answered to her deepest and most imminent need.
After this moment, I placed her in the bath and my husband helped to sponge her off and gently clean her.
In the first instance, when, I raced to her crib, she was experiencing distress, then confusion, then gratitude for my presence.
when she was transferred to the bath, she became quite aware of the unpleasantness of her circumstances… the discomfort of being suddenly naked, cold, and standing in a bath being sponged off when she had just seconds ago been sleeping. During this process she looked me in the eyes and sobbed, broken-hearted… her face seemed to communicate a question; “why won’t you help me!? Why won’t you make this stop!?”
My poor child didn’t understand that this process was necessary, and that stopping it prematurely would increase her discomfort, causing a rash, unpleasant smell, or potentially even worse.
She didn’t understand any of what was happening to her-the vomit, discomfort, sickness… the bath, the whirl of light sound and action that jolted her from her peaceful crib. . .
and in the midst of that, all she wanted was for me to hold her.
After her bath, once she was cleaned and warmed and cuddled into some new fleece pajamas, I did get to hold her.
and in all of that, I can’t help but see a glimpse of the way our Father tends to us… and how far beyond our thought processes He is.
Much like my daughter, my thought process may be, “I don’t like this, this is scary and overwhelming and uncomfortable and I want it to stop! ” I may be begging Him to stop it for me, asking Him to take me away from it all, and be completely blind to how He is, in fact, working to handle my deepest needs. While I may feel that I am experiencing the worst feelings I’ve ever felt… I may even feel abandoned or betrayed by my father, just as my daughter’s eyes told me she felt about me.
and yet, blinded by my distress, I may simply be unaware that He is right there, working for me, healing my greatest wounds… cleaning up the mess I was in, restoring a safe place for me to return to, working behind the scenes for my greatest needs, even with me… cleaning me off… tending to my needs.
I wish I could have my eyes and heart open to where He really is in my times of sorrow… I want to learn to trust that His heart is still for me in these times.
I’m so grateful that even while I am hurting, and even accusing him of causing my pain, He understands my limited grasp of the world around me–seen and unseen–and empathizes with me and longs to hold me and eagerly awaits the moment when he can draw me into his arms and simply whisper love and peace and calm into the storm of my heart.
May you feel the peace of a present Father, gathering you into His arms, whispering how much He loves you, imparting peace and calm into the very fibres of your being. May you know, deep in your soul, that He longs for this embrace even more than we do, and may you take comfort in knowing that that embrace WILL be there for you… IS there for you.
May you always know…
there is hope!