Claire, sometime last night between going-to-bed-time and waking-up-time you crept into my room. You so sweetly and gently patted my shoulder until I stirred, never uttering a word, just waiting for the invitation to crawl into bed beside me. I moved over, half asleep still, and held out my hand to help you onto the bed and into your place of safety and security. And you drifted back to sleep, holding my hand. I’ll be honest here. I am terribly glad when I wake up in the morning and you have not come to our bed because it means that I was able to claim my rightful half of the bed all night and we probably all got a better night’s sleep. But you know, I wouldn’t trade those other nights for anything. The nights when you wake up from a bad dream and you know where to come for comfort. The ones when I can reach out and stroke your hair and you snuggle up and give me sweet little pats on the back whenever you wake up throughout the night. No, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Averi Kate, when I walked in to rescue you from your crib this morning, you were still bleary eyed and pointed straight toward the rocking chair. And I was more than happy to oblige, since Sissy was still deeply asleep in my own bed. So I carried you over to the rocker and sat down and your thumb went straight into your mouth and your other hand to your ear, and there we sat, time standing still for once in my life. I prayed out loud over you and for you and for all of us, and you just sank into me, content to feel my presence and hear my voice. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Daddy and I hear other grown-ups talking about how their kids who used to be little and full of little moments are now big and making big mistakes. And we see concern or frustration or grief or impatience on their faces, and we hear it in their voices. And we look at each other and for a moment we are afraid. “What if our girls make these big mistakes? What if they rebel? What if they reject the truth?” In those moments we want to keep you little forever, where you come crawl in our bed and sit in our lap and are safe.
But that’s not the way to live this journey. And the echoes of Scripture temper my pounding heart…
Perfect love casts out fear…Be anxious for nothing…Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…
I know that a woman of faith smiles at the future (Pr 31:25). She is not afraid of it. She embraces it. Because she knows the God of a thousand tomorrows and she understands that we are just a part of a story that isn’t really about us at all. And so she can love freely with no strings attached, and she can look well after the ways of her household without an iron fist, and she can be clothed with strength and dignity and open her mouth with wisdom and kindness and not be anxious over the results.
God, I pray that you don’t have to live folly to prove its consequences. I hope that you love your Creator with every fiber of your being from the earliest time possible. But I also hope that when you grow big and make big mistakes, you will come to a deeper understanding of grace, and know that this is why Jesus came – because He knew that we always grow up into big kids that make big mistakes and we cannot redeem ourselves. He is not shocked. He became those mistakes that you will make, and He drank the wrath for them. And His arms are as open as mine have ever been, and He will never reject the one who comes to Him in faith.
No, His love never fails. And my love will not diminish for you either.
And my bed and my lap will always be as open as they are now.