She makes me more aware of His presence.
At no other time in my life would I be awake at all hours of the night looking into the deep eyes of blinking, infant trust.
I’ve never had a reason to bounce a sweet bundle to sleep on a exercise ball, humming the first worship song that comes to mind at 2 a.m.
Holy Spirit, you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for- to be overcome by your presence, Lord.
Let us become more aware of your presence. Let us experience the glory of your goodness.
What am I doing? Do I hear the words I’m singing? I’m inviting Him, and He is here!
The thing is, one can’t simply speak dead words. The kingdom is one of declaration.
When, I pray, He responds.
It’s not that I didn’t pray or invite Him before. It’s not even that I didn’t hear Him before her. It’s just that it’s so much more real.
It’s like having having headphones removed from my ears. The sounds around me went from muffled to loud. It’s not truly loud; it just seems loud in the first few moments before my ears adjust to what it was supposed to be hearing all along.
Maybe it’s that the reality of having an actual human in my care makes me take my own care more seriously. My priorities shift, my vision gets sharper, and my road gets more and more narrow with purpose.
When I sing or pray- somewhat out of instinct or habit to soothe an infant, I feel something awaken inside of me, like a bell sounding or scales coming off- this heightened awareness of God’s presence. His heartbeat thumping with the breath of the gift I’m holding in my arms. My daughter.
Awe and wonder.
When I hold her close and soothe her, is that how God comforts me? When I feel sick at the thought of harm coming to her, is that how God feels protecting me? When I speak blessing over her, am I speaking the thoughts God thinks of her?
If I don’t see her the way God does, I’m doing it wrong.
In the early days, I felt anxiety as the sun went down and night time set in. Something about hormones, they say.
What if she has a tummy ache or cries, and I can’t fix it? What if I can’t sleep even when she sleeps?
You would think lamp light would be cozy and comforting, but it brought on this nervous, empty feeling at the prospect of baby not settling, sleeplessness, and loneliness in the dead hours of the night. I would sigh with relief when I heard the first bird chirp as daylight broke. It will be ok. It’s morning.
A lot of that was temporary and has gone away with adjustments, but a choice is still in my hands every day. I still have a choice to rest, to trust, and to be at peace even if things aren’t ideal or when I feel a little lost and don’t know what to do.
God is there in the night when the world is sleeping and I feel alone.
He is there in the times it feels like my heart is being ripped out of my chest, hearing her screams of pain because of a tummy ache or something I am unaware of.
I can’t bear the thought of her feeling my frustration when I’ve exhausted myself trying to keep her happy on the unsettled days of her constantly wanting to be in my arms.
There’s no crime in needing love.
Her glossy eyes start to droop and her crying stops. I want to let tears flow too when I see the tears pooled at the corners of her now closed eyes.
Is this how God feels when I’m in pain?
God, forgive me for my weak moments. Give me the fussy days where I am stretched and uncomfortable with heavy responsibility any day over watching my child in pain- lips quivering and face red from wailing. Let me be the uncomfortable one.
I kiss her soft head and hold her closer. This kind of love hurts in my chest.
So yes, you could say she makes me more aware. When I am aware, there’s no fear- wondering if she will see Him. She already shows Him to me. Parenting is a lot less “having it together” and a lot more humility and abiding, I’m learning.
Even if I don’t know what I’m doing, I have peace knowing that staying aware in His Presence is a key to being a good mom to my Honor baby. Because humans really do nothing well without Him.
Being a parent is pain, and it’s joy. (I don’t know if one can truly know one without the other in this life.) Joy because she is a gift. Pain because love releases her to God.
Love opens itself up to the possibility of rejection. It’s the only way love can be love and not dominance. It’s the bearing all things, believing all things that makes the joy real.
Is this how God feels giving us this love gift of free will? I will protect you. I will lay down my life for you; that’s how much I love you. Please love me back. Even if you say no, I would do it all over again.
God, help me love her the way you love me. Fully aware.
© Brenda Kanagy
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
Note: All photo credits go to Heidi Stutzman of Heidi Stutzman Photography.