Some days start out just right.
I was awakened by a reaching, hungry baby who snuggled in like a heat-seeking missile for what I think was the fifth time in the previous eight hours. I have often found co-sleeping to be a little like wrestling with a bear every night, as he climbs over me, throws off the covers and occasionally lunges for the edge of the bed, with me in my half-asleep state ever-conscious of his every move and trying to keep him corralled, on the bed, and asleep as much as possible.
I climbed out of bed cautiously, tiptoed out to the kitchen, and poured myself a cup of coffee and French Vanilla. Weariness had worked its way into my bones, and I sighed as I settled into the chair, where I’d be in quick reach of Mr. Chunky if he were to waken again. Sipping my coffee, I pondered the past few days. Being the mother of a very young child is such a wonderful thing. I find myself enjoying my little ones so much now that I’m older and am convinced that really, pretty much regardless of what happens in any given day, we’re all going to make it out alive. My teens are wonderful, intelligent people whom I’m proud of. But I knew there had definitely been a certain toll taken in recent months. Personal and business issues weighed heavily on me. I was extremely grateful for summer and a break from schooling duties, but hadn’t really gotten to a place of enjoying it, somehow.
Nicholas stirred on the bed. I found myself silently pleading, “Please, stay asleep! I need a few more minutes . . . “ He looked so innocent there, sleeping away, dreaming baby dreams. (My husband claims he dreams of only one thing. I’ll leave you to guess what that would be.) Two new teeth stood proudly in their places that week, and he’d also developed the ability to stand on his own–which unfortunately set him up for a couple of tumbles, quickly followed by wails. His speed-crawling skills had definitely become a favorite, too, as he attempted to break world records . . . by following me . . . EVERYWHERE.
Honestly, I’ve often said I wish I could be a baby in my house, because they get pretty good treatment. If my kids have learned one thing indelibly about babies, it’s that when they cry, someone must DO SOMETHING. A crying baby needs one of a long list of things --hugs, food, a nap, snuggles, a trip outside, to nurse, some attention, a new diaper--and big people are here to do something about it.
This big person, especially.
And so I was weary. Weary of always answering the call; of stealthily (I thought) escaping into the bathroom only to hear the inevitable crying right outside the door, of missing church when he doesn’t feel like going, of the thick layer of dust settling in places I don’t have time to reach anymore, of being the one who has to answer the cry when no one else will do. I wondered how much longer I could hold up, and asked the Lord for strength.
I opened my Bible, where strength can be found.
“. . . you will be nursed, you will be carried on the hip and fondled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you . . .” – Isaiah 66:12-13
I almost couldn’t breathe.
Emotions flooded my heart. Me? Really? Me, the one to be comforted?
Somehow God intends for me to even now experience the comfort and joy and peacefulness and rest and stability and security of being nursed and carried and fondled like a child. “As one whom his mother comforts . . .” My own personal “one whom his mother comforts” was still blessedly asleep on my bed, a picture of contentment with a full belly and blissful face amidst a pile of downy white softness. No worries were troubling him, no weights dragging him down. When a child is comforted by his mother, the effect is immediate, effective, and lifelong. Especially if the comfort is (mostly) immediate, effective, and lifelong.
I love it that God knows me so well! There was no way that I could have read anything at that moment that would have meant more to me, and it brings tears to my eyes even now. God wants to mother me–did you catch that? To mother me –He is more than just a Father. He understands and knows and experiences and indeed, created the heart of a mother as a reflection of His own heart. The God who indeed refers to Himself as El Shaddai, with its definition including “breast” and implying God’s nature as blessing abundantly and being all sufficient, needed devoted moms on the earth not just to clean the toilets and wash the dishes, but to show forth His glory and character. Because He is always there, always listening, always watching, always caring and doting and nursing and praying and carrying us. How I need the mothering of God!
I stand in awe. And bow in gratefulness. And ask to be picked up and rocked. And He hears me, and gladly complies.