Saturday, January 5, 2013

surrounded


It was just after 6am when she found us.  

We heard her feet hit the floor, door open,  little legs running down the hall…to the potty.  We looked at each other, smiled and quickly turned off each of our respective bedside lamps.  Hold your breath…quiet…maybe she won’t  know we’re up…maybe she will go climb back in her own bed.  

Minutes later the door opened.  She walked over and i tapped the light on my phone…it was just enough for her to see us both sitting up in bed with books on our laps.

What are you guys doing??

We laughed…busted.

We were having our bible study time…do you want to get your bible and join us?  

She smiled and ran out of the room.  When she returned she didn’t have her bible but she did have her baby and her blanket.  I scooted over closer to Joey to make room for her.  She paused and cocked her head to the side…too bad i can’t get in the middle of you guys.

I moved back over to make a spot in between us…come on doodlebug – you can get in the middle.  

She dove into her spot, snuggled down and looked back and forth at both of us with the most satisfied grin on her face.

Surrounded by mommy and daddy...a safe little spot to nestle and know you belong.
It’s funny how God is redeeming some of the hurt from my childhood through the childhood of my own kids.

If I’m honest I struggled with where I belonged growing up.  I always knew my parents loved me.  They did a great job of expressing that to me.  But for me there was something difficult about having a mom and a dad in two different places.   I was never sure which place was mine - with Mom or with Dad.  Some holidays I spent with my mom's family.  Others were with my dad's.  And others still were with my step dad's   I was never with one family all the time.  

I don’t think there was anything more they could have done to make me more comfortable in their respective homes to clear up my identity crisis.  Being cuddled down in the bed between the two of them wasn’t an option so I had to figure things out a different way.

As kids we all have situations and experiences that are difficult.  My kids will have them too.  I fail them, disappoint them, say the wrong things...and it hurts.  I never want to hurt my kids but I do - and I will.  They will have to work through it just like I have had to work through my 'where do i belong' questions.

If you are a parent, don’t underestimate the importance of your simple togetherness as a mom and dad for your kids.  When Joey is hugging me tight in the kitchen and one of the kids comes to wedge in between our legs we let them in and let them be surrounded. 

If you are a single parent, know that you may have to work a little harder to help your child develop a strong sense of identity.  It may take a little longer for them to be secure in who they are and where they belong...and that's ok.  God will teach them who they are in Him.  Your arms can surround your child...and so can your prayers.

There are a lot of other things that can surround us in this world - fear, doubt, uncertainty, the opinions of others, society's ideas of success and beauty...

I want the first layer wrapped around my kids to be the arms of Jesus.  And so I pray daily for their awareness of His presence in their hearts and in their lives.

And I know the very next layer needs to be us.  I imagine how strong it must make them feel to be fortified in that way.  To know without question that we started a family with God in the middle of it and now they are included in that circle.  So they can say with confidence...
this is where I belong  
this is where i am surrounded
  with love
    with grace
      with family

Whatever your family looks like I pray this truth for you...  
For your parents...  
For your children...  
Because, really, as hard as we work and pray as parents we will never be able to surround our children the way He can.

do not be afraid, for i have ransomed you.  i have called you by name - you are mine.
when you go through deep waters, i will be with you.
when you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
when you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
for i am the Lord, your God, the Holy One, your Savior...
...you are precious to me.  i love you.