Saturday, 7 May 2016

Things parenthood teaches me about God: the Body

I often find myself in awe of how God has made natural things in the world to reveal something about himself. Everywhere you look, things speak about him - how sure it is that there will be a new sunrise after the sunset speaks about his faithfulness and dependability, for example.

Since God is at the very core a relational being, I suppose it makes sense that the greatest lessons about him are found in relationships. Like marriage between a man and a woman - where the man's role reflects Christ, and the bride's does the Church. I've learned a lot about God's character from my own marriage relationship... my man truly does serve and lay his life down for me.

And now, parenthood. Going deeper still, I keep seeing new things that amaze me. This one came to me in the night, when my 19 month old struggled to sleep because of teething pain and wind...

My body is her comfort. 

As she struggled with pain, she snuggled in to me. I couldn't take the pain away of course but being close to me gave her instant comfort.

When she's hurting - whether by accident, by someone else, or through her own fault - she always runs to my body. It's not my words she needs at first, when the upset is strong; she needs my hands, my arms, my embrace. She knows it's safe there, that no part of my body will ever hit, hurt or otherwise (intentionally) do her harm, so no matter how bad things are I can feel her tense body relaxing almost instantly as she cuddles into me.

In the 19 months of her life, my body has been consistently there for her 24/7. Day and night, my body is within reach to provide comfort and literally nourishment (milk) whenever she needs it. That's probably why she's never taken to any "comfort items" like special blankets or dummies - the real thing has always been available.

She's getting more independent by the day, explores the world, walks away from me... but she always knows I'm there if needed. My body is available to her.

What does this teach me about God?

Two things. The body - my body is to my girl what Christ's body is for all people: my relationship with my little one reflects a truth about God's Body. And who is the Body of Christ? We are, the church. I'm both part of the body, and an individual child. As God's child, is it my first instinct to run to his Body for comfort and support? And as part of that same body, am I being that open, available, safe place of comfort for those who are hurting, whether by accident, someone else's, or their own fault? We need to be ready with our arms open and welcoming, providing, embracing - not judging, not lecturing. I'm part of that body and I need to do my part in this.

And secondly, the child - on an individual level, doesn't God tell us to come to him like a child? Trusting... arriving with all our needs and hurts... he never asked that we sort ourselves out before we come to him. When my little girl runs to me, crying, nose running, sobbing about something: I just embrace her, and hold her tight. God does the same. He is simply there. I'm amazed.

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Thanks so much for sharing!