Nothing but nothing has taught me more about the heart of God than having kids.  No, seriously, the number of times I have bushwhacked my way through yet another insane situation with one of my kids, and then glanced upward with a “you’re-laughing-at-me-because-you’ve-been-there-haven’t-you-God” grin on my face…. All I’m saying is that one of the ways God has revealed himself is as a parent, and that is no mistake.  From that lung-collapsing-aching love, to that are-you-actually-stinking-kidding-me aggravation, God understands how parents feel.  And in his extravagant kindness he has occasionally reached out to me by demonstrating that what I’m feeling towards my kids is very much like what he feels towards me.  

Let me set the scene for one such precious revelation.  Rewind at least 16 years.  My eldest, Isaac, was probably not yet 2 years old.  His baby sister, Keirsten, had very recently arrived on the scene.  I’m thinking she was about 3 months old.  Isaac and I were running neck and neck for the “most desperately in need of sleep” award and, at that minute, he was winning.  His nap time had come and gone while I was focused on keeping Keirsten alive and I guess that was all I had energy for that day, because he had waltzed all the way from sweet, happy, just woke up baby boy, right past, “I need a nap or I’m going to get cranky” straight through to sack-cloth-and-ashes-weeping-and-gnashing-of-teeth.  He was tired, so tired nothing could make him happy; not food, not a toy, not snuggles or a book.  He needed sleep.  

Now, as those who have spent time with miniature human beings will have inevitably observed, the last thing an overtired child wants is to take a nap.  And of course, the one and only thing that will ever make an angry 2 foot tall insomniac happy, is sleep.  It’s a dilemma.  And explaining yourself to a raging toddler is, well, ineffective.  So, I did the only thing I could think to do.  Ok fine, I’ll admit that a tranquilizer dart crossed my mind and, had one been handy, I’m not sure I could have resisted however frowned upon such a solution may have been.  In the absence of a tranquilizer dart, however, I did the only OTHER thing I could think to do.  I took my precious little ball of angst in my arms, faced him away from my chest, and pinned his arms to his side in a combination hug/straight jacket hold that had the beneficial dual effect of enabling him to keep breathing while simultaneously holding him still enough that he couldn’t smack me with a furiously flailing limb.  With him held tightly in my arms, I laid down on his fire truck toddler bed and waited for him to give up the fight and finally sink into the healing, restoring sleep that we both so desperately needed. 

Isaac, however, was having none of it.  He wiggled and squirmed and wailed and shrieked.  He was confident that he did not need a nap.  He was far wiser than I.  I was quite mistaken.  He felt absolutely certain that it was in everyone’s best interest that he be set free to continue his sleep-starved toddler rampage.  I sang. He wailed.  I held him tightly to my chest to keep him still.  He fought valiantly to be freed.  There was absolutely no meeting of the minds here.  To say that I began to feel some frustration was an understatement of epic proportions.  This not-yet-potty-trained little snot smeared mess thought he knew better than me!  He couldn’t put his shirt on frontwards, but he was convinced he knew more about healthy sleep habits than I did.  Not only that, but he clearly believed that my purposes were malicious toward him.  He was screaming like I was trying to kill him, when I simply wanted what was very obviously the best thing for him.  I had spent every day of his life feeding him, clothing him, bathing him, singing ABCs and reciting bible verses to him, teaching him the names of colours and the sounds animals make.  I had demonstrated fierce, self-sacrificial, constant and devoted love to him every day of his life.  How could he possibly doubt my intentions?  

In that moment as I laid with my feet hanging off the end of his bed, flailing, screeching, defiant and distrustful lump of humanity hugged tightly to my chest, I heard these words escape my lips, “Isaac, precious baby boy, if you could only understand how much I love you, you would trust me.”  Now, I don’t honestly know if at that moment Isaac finally stopped fighting or if the stillness I heard was only in my heart.  I suspect that God deafened me to everything that was happening for a fraction of a second so that I could not help but hear him whisper, “Ya.  That.”

photo courtesy of @keirsten_c

1 thought on “Ya, that. The Father Heart of God

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