IMG_1608IMG_1609IMG_1610IMG_1598IMG_1597 having children is a profound thing. and a humbling thing. there are so many sweet and light and lovely moments. but there are also exceptionally weighty realities.

one of the greatest blessings of raising up these little souls is that their existence helps me to better understand the relationship of my Heavenly Father to His children. and it helps me understand my nature.

when i lay out ALL the toys and distractions and fun things for ridley to enjoy, a smorgasbord of entertainment and pleasure. i give him whatever he could want. i sit on the floor to play with him. i tell him that he can take his pick of objects, he can have it all. but that cable plugged into the wall over there? that's the one thing that's off limits. do not touch. and then, without fail, he makes a beeline for the taboo item. it is then that i understand that urge, that nature that is at work within us. that nature that was at work within adam and eve in the garden and is still at work. that nature which, in spite of having it all, wants to pursue the one thing that is off limits and not good for us.

when elinor is going and going and running herself ragged and i tell her that it is best to slow down and take a break - regroup, recalibrate, relax but she resists and then twirls herself into a wall and ends up in an emotional mess on the floor. it is then that i understand why God commands us to rest. why He instructs us to walk with Him by the still waters so that He can restore our soul before destruction or distraction or clumsiness can overtake us.

when the little ones get a cold and all they want to do is sit in my arms and snuggle. those remarkable and rare moments of quiet and rest and nothing and just being held. i find myself enjoying those times. almost being grateful for the cold that came upon their bodies and gave us that special time together. and that sounds terrible to say but then i think, no, it's okay to be grateful for those times. those moments are sweet. and they are a necessary part of life. life can be busy. days can be full. and children's bodies are always on the go. buzzing away. onto the next thing. they are not inclined to being still. it takes an external force, a strange occurrence, a peculiar circumstance to make them stop. but isn't that just how i am as a child of God? sometimes it takes something jarring or sickening to make me stop and allow myself to be held by my Father. and i am sure that while God hates to see me sick or sad or tired (or whatever the adult equivalent of teething is) just as i hate to see my little ones like that, i'm sure that there is also a part of Him that savors that time. breathing a sigh of relief that we have ceased our striving and are allowing Him to gather us up in His arms, frail and sick as we are, and hold us near. still. peaceful. safe. wrapped in His loving embrace. sometimes, pestilence and plague and famine and wars come into our lives because they draw us nearer to Him. they slow us down so that He can sit with us and care for us. acting as a balm to our weary and harried and ravaged souls. and what a cherished time that is.

may He continue to use my children as instruments of instruction and grace - in my life and in the lives of others.