Last Sunday morning contained a moment I will treasure for quite some time. My daughters had woken up a bit earlier than I had anticipated, due to a lost “nu nu” (pacifier) which just had to be found. I awoke with a jolt to my daughter asking (?) me in no uncertain terms to come help her find it. As any good mother would do, I fumbled for my glasses and stumbled to my girls’ room to be her valiant hero. I uncovered her prized possession in not much time, finding it tucked under a blanket in her bed. After settling her back in and then going over to also tuck in her twin sister, I checked the clock.
Not terribly early, but I knew that my alarm was not set to go off for another half hour and I was definitely not ready to be vertical yet. Knowing my chances were slim to nil that they would both actually fall back asleep if I returned to my own bed, I snuck back into our bedroom to grab my pillow and a blanket. My husband cracked one eye open.
“What are you up to?” he asked.
I assured him that everything was under control but that I was headed back to our daughters’ bedroom to cozy up on the floor for a bit. He chuckled, shook his head in the “you’re funny” kind of way, and back in I went.
I’m pretty sure none of us girls actually went back to sleep during that next half hour. In spite of the lack of shut-eye, there was something entirely calming about lying there on the floor of their bedroom: the sound of the humidifier as it bubbled and steamed, the faint ticking of the wall clock, the smell of their morning breath which I have come to love that filled the air. It did not take much time or encouragement for both of my girlies to escape their beds, hauling with them their own pillows and blankets. They each snuggled up beside me on the floor. Being that close to them is truly one of my favorite things -- I love taking note of their every eyelash, watching the adorable little curves of their lips as they talk, gently touching the wispy curls that point out in every direction after a full night’s slumber.
But yet, whenever we do this, I have a problem. You see, I am not a back sleeper. No matter how hard I’ve tried (because I remember hearing and reading many times that lying on your back is one of the healthiest ways to sleep), I just don’t find it very comfortable. Therefore, lying tucked in between my girlies requires a choice. I have to choose which girl I will be facing. And whoever happens to be on the side I don’t choose gets my back. I am not a fan of these kinds of decisions. You may be thinking: Mel, just put them both on the same side then – problem solved! Not so my friend, because then one will be next to me and one will not. Do the girls even notice? Probably not. And in the long run, it doesn’t even really matter. But in that moment, it matters to me – it matters a lot.
I’ve been thinking about this “predicament” (and what a wonderful dilemma to have!) off and on all day and I am again reminded of something an experienced mother had once said to me, shortly after I became a mother myself:
Always remember that God loves your children even more than you do.
This statement still blows me away every time I think about it. How can this be true? Sometimes I wish there was a word stronger than “love” because that’s the word I would use to describe my feelings for my daughters. How can any love God has for them exceed that emotion? And then the other amazing part: this also means that God loves me more than I love my kids. Whoa. Now that sends my head spinning.
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. ~Romans 8:15-16
As I told the girlies it was time to start to get ready for church and got myself up from the floor, it struck me when I saw the artwork that hangs above their changing table just how wonderful it is that God doesn’t have a “side” – God, in His almighty power and boundless love, never has to choose one of His children to adore, or focus on, over the other.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! ~I John 3:1
I only have two and I find it difficult – our Heavenly Father has the entire world to “parent” and yet He loves us each as if we were the only one.
Perhaps this is the only facet of God’s love for my children exceeding mine that I can somewhat understand. No matter how hard we try, we are human, with limitations, selfish needs, and boundaries. Whether you have one child or eight of them, there inevitably will be times in our day to day lives when we fail to love our children with the fullness that we strive for. But with God, there are no limitations. He is never “too busy” with one of His other children or “turned towards” someone else. He is always available and constantly focusing on you. Focusing on me. Focusing on each of His children.
And I think that's pretty incredible.