Monday, August 16, 2010

It's Kind of Like That

My youngest daughter is 15 months old. She is chubby, and funny, and beautiful, and precocious, and manipulative, and cuddly, and a monster, and outrageously precious, sometimes all at once. There are days when I just absolutely cannot get enough of her. She is my baby. My last born. I want to eat her up, especially those cheeks, have mercy! She loves my lap, or my hip, or my back. She loves being close and snuggling in. And I, being the mama who adores her girls, would hate to miss an opportunity to snuggle.

These days are passing quickly, as I am acutely aware, and so desire to soak up every last giggle possible. The days and weeks seem to be melting into months and years that are flying by more quickly than my mind can grasp. Everyday, small though it may be now, my precious daughters are inching further and further away from needing a mama like my 15 month old needs her mama now, and the pain and joy of it is almost too much to bear.

But then there are days when she screams if I have the audacity to even consider setting her down. She hits her sisters or pulls their hair. She grabs toys away and then cries that I won't pick her up. There are days when I am quick to roll my eyes because the baby is crying yet again. Days when I pretend to not hear her when she wakes from her nap too early. Days when I absolutely need a break from her. There are days when all three are crying at the same time, or all three are fighting each other for the same toy.

There are days when being a mama is not fun at all. But then, I'll hear a giggle, or I'll hear two fighting girls say sorry to each other and hug. My oldest will flash me a smile, or sing me a song. My middle will make a funny face or do a dance for me. And the youngest will gingerly climb into my lap and make herself at home, directing my hands to wrap around her. My heart turns to mush and my love for these girls is absolutely out of control.

I'll ask my oldest, "Do you know how much I love you?"

And she'll reply, "Yes, mama, I know. To the moon and back again. I know, I know."

But she doesn't. She doesn't understand that this human heart, this once cold rock that beats hard in my chest, this wellspring of life in me is so fully alive in love with her. She just doesn't understand the depth of it all yet.

The girls were watching the Disney cartoon movie of Tarzan this afternoon, and at the very beginning, there is a scene where the mama gorilla is rescuing the baby who will be Tarzan from the leopard. And the mama is relentless in pursuing and protecting the baby. She fights and tumbles and growls, and tucks the baby under her arm in the safety of her warmth and strength. And she fights like only a mama knows how, with every breath in her.

And my oldest says to me, "Mama, I wouldn't mess with that mama gorilla. She is fighting and protecting that baby."

"Yes, baby. That's a mama's heart, to protect her young."

There are days when my girls need to be disciplined, and I hate it. With everything in me, I hate it. As the infraction is going down, I think to myself, "No, please don't do it. Don't take it there. Let's not get it to that point! Please, make a good choice here. Let's not go there!" But they are children and their hearts are rebellious at times, foolish at times, undisciplined. And I hate it. So we discipline, in firmness, in swiftness, and in absolute love. And when it is done, tears flow, and hugs abound as they are reassured that Mama loves them no matter what. And we pray for wisdom to not make the same mistakes again. But they do happen. And it is dealt with in the same manner. And I love them still.

I am learning day in and day out about the love of my Heavenly Father, who, for most of my Christian walk, has been like a disappointed grandfather, sitting high above, removed, arms crossed, looking down his mighty nose while shaking his head in disdain.

"She did it again. Why won't this girl get it right? She messes it up every time. Will she ever get it right?"

That is not only hard to live up to, but it's hard to get close to. If I know that I will only disappoint and let Him down, why invest in trying to get close to Him? I only feel bad about myself when I am around Him. I cry in shame, wishing and wanting to finally get it all together. I hang my head, embarrassed, broken on the floor, knowing that I have no right to stand.

Matthew 7: 9-11
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?

If I, in my brokenness, in my evil, in my sin, know how to shower unconditional love on my children, recognize when they need discipline for the sake of saving their lives, and live to see them built up and flying, how much more will the Father in heaven dole out love for His children, for me, holding nothing back? Oh. My. Goodness! I can't even wrap my mind around it!

When my children smile, my heart comes alive. How much more the Father! When my children learn a lesson and stand tall because of it, my heart wells up in pride till my chest has doubled in size and my throat is all choked up with emotion. How much more the Father! When my children need discipline, it crushes me to the core. How much more the Father! But when the discipline has been administered, the relationship restored, and laughter has resumed, I feel such a completeness of joy in the growth that has taken place. How much more the Father!!

I would never dream of looking down on my girls, even in my most exasperated state. I would never dream of throwing my hands up in the air and giving up on them, for anything at all. I dream of how they will excel in life. I dream of their potential and all that they will grow into. I revel in how beautiful they are, everyday. I catch myself everyday staring in awe, at each one of them, marveling at their incredible features, these precious creations of the Most High.

Now, if I am capable of such love for these precious children, how much more the Father. He dances over us. We bring joy to Him. He sings over us. When we fly, the heart of the Father is honored. When we fall, the heart of the Father is broken. When we need discipline, the Father rebukes, as one who loves His children. His statutes are not there to suck the life out of us. He doesn't sit on a high removed throne shaking his bony finger at us with all his rules. He is the preserver of life, because He revels in the love of His children.

Being a daddy's girl myself, I get that. Oh, to make my Father proud. His love, my Abba Father, my heavenly Father, is kind of like that, only so, so much more.

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Psalms 5:11

My newly begun, yet ongoing list of God's goodness

Thank you, Abba Father, for:
#2. Discovering that the love of the Father, my Father, is so deep, so personal, and so amazing.
#3. Blowing raspberries on a round baby belly
#4. Deep belly laughter of three little girls being tickled
#5. Being caught staring at how beautiful my daughter is
#6. The 3-yr old who asks for "pachati" instead of "chapati"
#7. Sunday afternoon alone to shop at the Maasai market

holy experience

Take a peek over at Holy Experience to see what others are thankful for today.

Have you counted your blessings today? What are you thankful for? 

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