The screaming was incessant. She was mad, sad, scared and exhausted all at once. My younger daughter would not, could not, calm down. She needed a nap, desperately. I needed her to take the nap as much as she needed it herself.
I had things to do, phone calls to make and problems other than hers to solve. So I did the only logical thing I could think of. I began to rock her in my arms.
The mud began to seep from her clothes onto mine. When she could cry no more, I gave her choices.
“Baby, do you want to eat first or nap first?”
“Eat.” Her low alto rumbles deeper when she’s upset.
I helped her change out of the wet clothes. No movement.
“Do you want to go eat now or just sit?”
She tucked herself back into my arms. An hour later she still wasn’t asleep, but she still wasn’t ready to move either.
About halfway through the sit-in I realized that more than the nap, she needed the time in my arms.
And a few minutes and a leg cramp later, I finally realized that more than her nap, I needed the time with her in my arms.
For our relationship, for our future, for the complex simplicity of my love for her… I, the grown-up, needed her to spend extended, silent time in my arms.
Then the louder-than-audible voice of my Father said, “I need the time with you in my arms.”
“God, you don’t need me. I need you.”
Yet I needed Asja to rest there. And God wanted me to realize He needs me to rest in Him.
I didn’t “need” to parent Asja to be complete. My wholeness comes from Christ. But Ben and I chose our children, agreed to parent them despite their messed up histories. Because we had love and wanted to share it. We get that quality from being made in the image of God.
God doesn’t “need” us in the sense that He is dependent on us or incomplete without us. He chooses us as His children, agrees to relationship with us despite our messed up histories. Because God is love, and shares His love. C.S. Lewis said it beautifully, “In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled; only plenteousness that desires to give.”
So maybe next time I start to throw a fit, or am covered in the muck of my wrong choices… I’ll remember to sit. I have absolute confidence that for as long as I need, God will sit there with me. He will hold me and allow the stillness, the silent, to seep deep into my heart as I learn again of His love, His protection, and His desire to spend time with me.