Riley Grace is 2.5, and she needs her mama. She lets me know everyday that she needs me and wants me. She lets me know each day that I pick her up from school that she needs me. She lets me know each evening when I help her onto the potty for the 40th time to avoid accidents. She lets me know during bath time when she’s anxious to sit in the tub because she’s fearful of pottying in the tub now that she’s aware of it! She lets me know each night as we cuddle in her chair together to read her two favorite “Bible Book” stories, as she calls it. And she let’s me know as I tuck her in and she’s saying her nighttime prayers, which generally go something like this: “Pray for Daddy. Pray for Mama. Pray for Mama’s shirt. Pray for bed. Pray for Mimi and Pop. Nana and Papa. Grams and Pops. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” She is precious! She loves me and needs me. She remembers me throughout the day, loves when I pick her up from school, calls to me when she’s scared, needs help, or wants a playmate, and remembers even my shirt in her nighttime prayers. She’s a sweetheart, and I love that she needs and wants me.
She’s recently gotten in to the habit of saying a very cute thing when we’re going through our nighttime routine. When I pick her up to say prayers, she says, “I got you!” as she hugs me tight while we start our prayers. The first time she said that, I bursted into tears. I knew that she had listened to me tell her that countless times when something frightened her, and now, here she was, saying it back to me, not knowing how sweetly and deeply it would affect me. But it did, and I will remember it all of my life. It was a very impactful moment for me for a myriad of reasons:
- She was listening to me and picked up on how I treat her. I’m so thankful that she picked up something positive, and in her doing that, I was reminded of the deep weight of my words and actions on her impressionable spirit.
- She cares for me. She understands the security that she feels when I tell her, “I got you,” and she was saying it back to me!
- She needs me. She needs me to hold her during our nighttime prayers. She needs me to take 20 minutes to go through her nighttime routine. She needs me to kiss her and ask for more kisses so that she can say “No” and then give them “one more time.” She needs me to tuck in her babies and make them kiss her so she can giggle. She needs me to say, “I love you forever” as I leave the room. She needs me…
- BUT as she grows, she won’t need me in the same ways (cue the reason I was crying). She will grow and mature, and that is a natural process…
- AND as she grows, even when she DOES still need me, she won’t want to need me because she will yearn to be independent. While that independence is not bad, she will still need guidance, even when she doesn’t want it. That will be a hard thing for this mama to watch, but I can pray and hope that the Lord will guide her in her quest for becoming her own person and relying on Him for herself, without the continual guidance of Mama.
Which brings me to my mama. I’m 28 (yikes), and I need my mama. I don’t need her in the same way I did when I was a child, but I still need her, and I’m SO thankful for her! I remember in my late teens and early 20s, I thought that I needed her less and less. I (usually…) listened to her advice politely, and lots of time I would end up taking it, but there were also times where I wished that I could just be independent. Now, as I’m a wife and a mom, I realize how right (Sorry, Mom!) and wise my mom usually was and still is! I’m so thankful for her, and I applaud her (and Dad!) for living through THREE daughters’ agonizing teen years of budding (although rocky and dangerous) independence!
My main point in saying all of this is that when I pondered the process of Riley Grace needing me, then thinking that she doesn’t need me, and then hopefully coming back around to realizing that she needs me, just differently than before, I started thinking about our need for the Lord.
I wonder if He looks at me and thinks,
“Jacquelyn, I wish so badly that you realized your deep need for Me at all times and in all ways. I wish you desired Me and pursued Me as you did the first day that you realized your need for a Savior. I wish you didn’t think of yourself as ‘all grown-up’ and capable of handling things on your own. I wish you would slow down to realize that you cannot survive without time with Me, even if you’re convinced that all of your other tasks cannot wait, while I can. I wish you needed Me like you did when you were a child, when you came to me for everything, no matter how small or insignificant it may have seemed – with all of your joys, sorrows, and requests. I wish you needed Me like Riley Grace needs you when she’s scared or wants a playmate or wants someone to hug. I wish you wanted to show you love and care for Me as Riley Grace does when she holds you and says “I got you”, even though its really you who’s “got” her. I wish you brought all of your requests to me, even if you feel like they’re as silly as Riley Grace praying for “Mama’s shirt!” My desire is for you to be fulfilled by Me, because in My wisdom and sovereignty, I know that I’m the only One who can fulfill your every need and longing. BUT that cannot happen if you don’t realize your deep need for me. I love you. Come to Me, daughter, and be held and healed. You need Me, and I want You to see that and find me in your seeking. ”
So as I boohoo my way to Riley Grace being in her 20s and not thinking she needs me (Wow, I’ve taken this way too far, considering she’s only 2! – But I’m sure I’m not the only mama who does that, right?!), the Loving Father of course shows me that I have done the same thing to Him countless times, and that His Fatherly heart is even more grieved than my heart will ever be for my sweet and sassy Riley Grace. He placed these verses on my heart last week as I was studying about prayer, and they see fitting to remind us all that we need Him. He offers us an open invitation to come to Him and find rest and healing for our souls. My prayer is that YOU will realize your deep need for the Lord that cannot and will not be satisfied with anything else! And that once you realize it, YOU will pursue Him with an urgency like never before!