Those of you who follow my blog regularly already know that I spent three months in Maryland taking care of grandchildren while our son dealt with a childcare dilemma. I was a little leery to take on the responsibility because of my age and physical limitations, but I tackled the job, knowing that if God called me to do it, He would provide a way for me to be strong enough to fulfill the task. Well, my time in Maryland is done as I returned home on January 31st, tired and emotional about missing the children with whom I had bonded so well and completely. My time in Maryland taught me so many things about life in general and relationships, but mostly, I learned a great deal from my newest grandson.
Nathan is accustomed to being held as he naps, so I happily assumed that duty. Cuddles became my specialty and I spent a lot of time soothing, singing and rocking gently. As I did, I learned some life lessons that I believe are reasons that God tells us to come to Jesus as little children do.
First, Nathan was totally dependent on his caregivers for his food, shelter, warmth, changes of clothing, etc. He cried when he needed something and did not think that it was being too demanding to have his needs met. That, my friends, is how we are supposed to come to God. I’m not saying to demand or to cry, but, like little Nathan, to voice our needs and to know without a doubt that someone will meet them.
Every day, as I held him closely in my arms, Nathan looked at me with such total trust in his eyes. He had no idea that a fragile septuagenarian was holding him and could have dropped him. He just knew that I had held him daily and he trusted me to continue to do so. That is how we are to approach God’s throne, with complete trust in His ability to handle whatever we lay before Him.
There were days when Nathan was cranky, continuing to fuss even after all of my “nanna tricks” had been employed. So, one day, I decided to quietly sing to him the old song from Sunday school, “Jesus Loves You.” (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be “Jesus Loves Me” but I changed it for Nathan.) He got immediately quiet, listened to the entire song and quickly fell asleep. My guess is that he recently left the realm of Heaven to come down to earth and recognized Jesus’s Name. The peace that settled over him each time I sang that song was a wonder to behold and it never failed to bring that same peace. Learning that the Name of Jesus brings instant peace to an infant brought me peace many times when I was feeling homesick or lonely for friends and church family. I just focused on the look in Nathan’s eyes and realized that the same peace he felt when he heard the name of Jesus was mine, too.
One of the major joys of taking care of an infant is knowing that when they see or try new things, it’s for the very first time. The delight that shone in Nathan’s eyes and that lit up his face gave me hope for a future because there are always new things to be discovered. The first time he tried to scoot across the floor, he was trying to chase my cane, an activity he never tired of. I would move the cane and he would joyfully lift himself up and try to reach it, touching its smooth surface repeatedly until I moved it again. He progressed to scooting across the floor to reach for toys, gurgling happily when he got them. I always stayed right next to him because at any time he could decide to unexpectedly roll over and thump his head. So, I was there to provide the cushion he needed until he could figure out how to roll gently. Isn’t that what God does for us? He provides cushions when we need them until we learn how to better take care of ourselves.
It was my real joy and pleasure to take care of my son’s greatest treasures. I learned what it was like to receive unconditional love, without doing much of anything for it. Gentle caresses, story time, play time, bottle time, everything was a source of wonder and a reminder of how very much God loves and nurtures us until we can do things on our own. I will always cherish the time with these three special children. I must say that I learned the most from Nathan because I spent the most time with him. But I also learned from Penny how to be a peacemaker and a caring and compassionate big sister. No matter how tired she was from her long day at school, Penny always had a hug and a smile for baby Nathan. From fiery, red-headed Evie, I learned what it is to be mischievous and yet to continue to expect love and acceptance. Evie and I had an understanding at bedtime each night. She didn’t always want a hug or kiss. Sometimes, she just wanted to do a quick hug, more like a tag on my leg, but I allowed her the choice for how to say goodnight each evening. She seemed to enjoy keeping me in suspense about how we would say goodnight and then grinned broadly if she knew that she surprised me with her new method. God has a sense of humor, too, and I’m sure He enjoyed the creativity and compassion of the two girls as much as I did.
I will leave you with these parting words. When next you have the opportunity to spend time with children, really spend time with them. See them as valuable gifts from God and learn from them how much God loves each of us. He loves me enough to allow me the privilege of taking care of grandchildren for three months, memorable months that are etched in my memory forever, to be cherished in my heart. Then, I hope that you remember to come to the Lord as a child does, with total trust and complete faith in His ability and desire to meet your needs.
God bless you for reading and being a part of my blog family! Have a wonderful day!