My son, slightly older than one, has one thing on his mind: Discovery. He waddles and toddles down the stone walkway, then meanders back to try to eat the mulch, finally settling on a squat over the grass as he investigates its texture in between exuberant waves to his Grandma.
"HI--ii! Eh-loh!" he says, waving and flirting at her with his winning smile.
I stand there with my hands resting on my hips, smiling and trying to enjoy the scene the way one tries to see bright sunlight through the dense canopy of a forest. It is beautiful and I feel the peace of it gently tugging at my heart, but I'm unable to be fully immersed in the light.
You see, I'm a worrier. While I enjoy the sight of my children playing and the idea of their carefree worldview, I am plagued and burdened by so many things that sometimes it's difficult to see beyond that.
I'm behind on laundry.
I'm concerned about finding last minute childcare for tomorrow.
The debt left over from my son's birth gives me hives.
So do the toys my sweet son scattered all over the house...and in the drawers...and probably in the toilet...
The infection my husband just discovered on his leg has had me sick to my stomach all day.
I can't seem to finish grading that stack of Spanish tests.
And I'm just barely ahead of the train of lesson planning that roars through each week.
I struggle to find time to just be with my children, my husband.
My to do list is monumental and contains items both necessary and self-inflicted (I'm an over achiever).
The bills make me want to cry.
The lack of funds sometimes does.
The budget that somehow always stretches over all our needs but gives us near heart attacks every month.
I'm just about always wishing that my already part time job could be even more part time.
I'm stressed. About everything.
I wonder when I'm going to get in that time with my daughter to work on her sight words.
Naptime. Will my son stop taking two naps soon? I don't know how I'll ever survive when he does.
At this point, my son decides he's done being independent and has explored enough for the day. He toddles over and wraps his arms around my knees and squeals a little because he hasn't yet grasped the words he needs to specify what he wants. I pick him up and hold him close, relishing the feel of his fuzzy, white hair against my face and the way his chest and shoulders squeeze into me as closely as possible. Whatever was bothering him is gone when he melts into my arms. His sigh of contentment is audible as his chubby face finds its way into the hollow of my neck. Whatever frustrated him in his play is forgotten. He's with Mommy now and everything is better with Mommy.
"Take it to heart."
I hear His voice--God's--as I often do when really investigating the way my children and I interact.
Today, He is showing me how they trust me. How they need me. How I bear their burdens. Baby Bear and Bunny have no worries when they're with me. They've entrusted all their concerns, boo boos, frustrations, hunger, and fear to my care and my kisses where they leave them with sweet forgetfulness. They don't think about whether or not their next meal will come or if they'll still have someone to hold them and love them tomorrow. They know that I will provide and they rest in that. They know my character. I've proven myself to them time and time again.
And isn't that how God is with me? My Father? My Comforter? My Provider?
Moments ago I was jealous of how carefree their little lives are.
Now, I realize that mine was likewise meant to be carefree. Not easy. Following Christ is not going to be easy. But carefree...in a sense...it will always be.
"Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall." -Psalm 55:22
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." I Peter 5:7
He wants to carry my burdens. When I start to feel suffocated with the weight of them, it's because I am carrying a load that is not mine--that is literally too much for me. It wasn't ever intended for me, in the same way that the bills, grocery shopping, laundry, and part time job weren't intended for my children to carry. I was made to find myself in Him--my identity, my purpose, my entire being is fully completed in His arms.
I take a deep breath and it feels as if a heavenly hand pulled open the shade that kept me from enjoying the sun. I like it here in my Father's arms. It's safe here, and peaceful. I was never meant to be anywhere else.