While I was pregnant with Ellie, I heard countless cliches about pregnancy and parenting, and some of them hit home a little more than others. This week, while Ellie was throwing a fit because I’d taken something away from her, I was reminded of this particular bit of insight from some of our church family: “Being a parent gives you a whole new perspective on God’s love for us. It gets you a little bit closer to fully understanding it.”
Once I remembered our friend saying that, I made a list of the other times it clicked with me that day alone and I’m basing this post on said list. I can only imagine how long it would’ve been if I had been keeping a list from the beginning!
“I don’t want you to hurt yourself!”
Ellie spends the majority of her day actively trying to kill herself by seeking light sockets in which to stick her itty bitty baby fingers and attempting to swallow items that pose as a choke hazard. You know, typical baby stuff. She’s also really good at bypassing every single toy she owns and, instead, searching for cleaning products that I thought were out of her reach. On this particular day, she proudly presented me with her latest hazardous treasure (I’m racking my brain trying to remember what it was and it’s just not coming to me!) and I immediately snatched it up. Her mouth, which had previously formed a huge grin, displaying her bottom two teeth, quickly contorted into a full blown chin-quivering frown accompanied by furrowed brows and plenty of tears. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself!” I said, as I picked her up to comfort her.
It was then that the first parallel formed for me. She was so proud and excited about what she had in her hand, I thought, but it’s because she doesn’t see the danger that it causes. She was just happy to have it in the moment and doesn’t understand that I’m just trying to protect her from what I know will happen.
Are we not the same way as adult Christians from time-to-time? We get so angry and disappointed when something we wanted just doesn’t work out, or we just assume God wasn’t listening to us in the first place. Jobs fall through, relationships fail or never happen to begin with, so on & so forth. Instead of trying to see it from His perspective -that He was protecting us- we, too, pout like toddlers. See where I’m going with this?
“I’m right here!”
Now that she’s nearly 9-months-old, separation anxiety has set in full force with sweet Ellie. Sometimes, I leave her in her room with the baby gate up in the doorway so she’ll stay put (like I said, the kid thinks of a thousand new and exciting ways to put herself in harms way every. single. day). I’m out of the room long enough to go get a sippy cup or grab a ringing phone and she can still see me, but that doesn’t stop her from screaming at the baby gate as if she’s been abandoned in the wilderness to fend for herself. “I’m right here! I haven’t left you, you’re alright!”
As soon as the words leave my mouth, I’m almost always reminded of Deuteronomy 31:6, ” So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
I can’t really get frustrated with my child for screaming at the top of her lungs because she thinks I’ve left her when I do the same thing with God, now can I? Multiple times just in the last year, I’ve found myself feeling as though God had abandoned me. It felt like I was in this on my own and He’d just left me to drown, when in reality, I have just been throwing a tantrum at my metaphorical baby gate. He hasn’t, even for a second, left me and I am, in fact, alright.
“I’ve got you!”
You know how I said that Ellie is forever putting herself in harm’s way? Well, sometimes I’m not quick enough to stop the inevitable from happening. Earlier tonight, I was bathing her in the sink and she decided to put her face in the water to blow bubbles, but it backfired and ended up going up her nose instead. This is a mild example. A better example would probably be one of the many times she’s rolled off the bed or put all of her weight on something flimsy and fallen in the floor. I may have told her no a thousand times, but when she falls on time 1,001, I’m there to pick her up when she’s bawling her eyes out and hurting from what is basically a self-inflicted injury, and I tell her, “I’ve got you! It’s going to be okay.”
I don’t think that one needs any explanation.
If I really thought about it or kept this list longer than one day, I’m sure I could come up with a million other comparisons between parenting Ellie and God’s love for us as our Father. The most important lesson I’ve learned in being a mama, however, is a little different. I’ve learned that I need to be more like Ellie. She might get a little impatient with her meals, but she knows I’m going to provide them. She crawls to me when she’s hurt because she knows I’ll take care of her. She wants nothing more than to be with me simply because she loves me. I’ve said in a previous blog that I am her comfort & her life source, and she is aware of both of those things. It’s my hope that I can demonstrate these same behaviors in my relationship with God, and everyday I’m learning. My 8 month old is the greatest teacher when it comes to child-like faith.