It’s that moment. That critical moment. You’re teetering on the edge of freedom, the ability to breathe again and to reclaim your body as your own. You’re almost there, about to put this little person who has been using you as their personal Serta mattress down and give your arms much needed relief…and then it happens. Just as you’re about to slip your hand from under their head and flee to safety you feel them wriggle, see that tiny button nose scrunches up, the top lip curls and then….waaaaaaaaaah! *sigh* So much for Netflix and chill.
History teacher moms be like…
Anyone who has ever tried to put a little one to bed without waking them will know exactly what I’m talking about. There is an art to being able to put a sleeping baby down and escaping like a ninja before they realize you’re gone. Lucky for me I had lots of practice with so many cute babies way before I had my own. I know it requires a delicate balance of timing and weighting (yes, weighting) to do it right. When my daughter Tzi came home from the NICU she was barely 5lbs. So tiny some people were too afraid to hold her and those who did barely felt like they were holding anything at all. But I was her Mama. I knew her. So I could feel the almost imperceptible difference between when she was just drifting off to sleep and what she had entirely rested her body onto mine.
Now my son, HB, is a different story. He weighs twice as much as Tzi did at this age. I was rocking him to sleep a few days ago, inhaling the top of his head (because newborn smell is life!), when he made the cutest sighing sound that I have come to know means sleep is imminent. I rocked and waited and rocked and waited and then there it was. I felt the shift. I knew he was sleep. Really sleep. I could feel the difference. He had completely let go. As his little body sunk into mine I thought to myself “Ah, I just love it when he puts all of his weight on me.” God nudged my heart with an “I do too.” And my soul sighed deeply. He loves carrying the weight of me? A tear fell from my cheek and landed on my son’s. I laid him down and opened up my bible app.
” Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:20 (ESV)
How beautiful it is that God beckons us to Him when we are burdened instead of turning away from us as some may do. He is asking us to trust Him and telling us it’s ok to put all of our weight on him. This may feel like a foreign concept. Many of us spend most of our time trying not to be an inconvenience to anyone else. We don’t want to bother people with our issues or challenges. We say “Fine!” when someone asks us how we’re doing because we don’t want to bring people down with our struggles. Sometimes we disappear when we’re going through rough times because we don’t want to be a “downer” to other people. But look at the verse again. God is not calling the joy-filled, the happy-go-lucky or the have-it-all-together. He wants the weary and the exhausted. He wants us when we have absolutely nothing to give so that He can give us exactly what we need most. Rest.
HB is a rest champion.
Now that Tzi is a toddler it’s been quite a while since I have rocked her to sleep. Being a new big sister can take a toll on a three-year-old some days and on one of those days she came over and asked me to pick her up like she used to do when she was much smaller. I could tell she needed some more love and affection than usual so I picked her up, rocked her, nuzzled her cheek, carried her upstairs and laid her in her bed for our story time routine, sure to make a mental note to myself that carrying her up the stairs counted as my workout for the day. Whew, chile, she definitely isn’t 5 pounds anymore! I’m trying to cherish these moments because one day she’ll be too big and too old to carry. I’m so grateful that as God’s child we won’t ever outgrow Him and his ability to carry us.
“Even to your old age, I am He and even to your advanced old age I will carry you! I have made you, and I will carry you; be assured I will carry you and I will save you.” Isaiah 46:4 (AMP)
We are never too big or too old for our Father to carry. You don’t mature beyond turning to God when you’re burdened and you can’t “age out” of resting in your Father’s arms. I have so much joy, contentment and peace holding my son, absorbing and carrying all of his weight; it gave me a sense of fulfillment knowing that everything about him was resting in me and on me. Although it took a lot more energy and effort to carry Tzi up the stairs I didn’t let her know the difference. I soaked in that moment because it felt good to know that my strong, independent, “I got it mommy!” big girl still had some challenges that only resting in my arms could fix. I believe that mirrors how God feels about us as his child. Imagine how radically different our life might become if we truly embraced the idea that we cannot burden God. What might change if we really believed that He actually delights and cherishes the moments when we unload to Him? Imagine if we saw God as eagerly waiting for us to come to Him with our problems and welcoming us with open arms. He knows us intimately. He knows when we’re tiptoeing around Him, drifting in and out of trusting Him. He can feel the shift. That moment when we put all of our weight onto Him. Can you feel the difference? Have you ever truly let go and let God? When we do so, then He can freely move us, shift us and lay us into a place of rest like only he can. So the next time your students, administrators, teammates and families are all putting their weight on you, don’t forget to put your weight on Him. He’s waiting on you.