Sometimes, the child within me becomes very tired and frightened, the effort of being brave and strong for others, of being patient and kind, giving without expecting anything in return, becomes too much. I want to run away and hide, to find that place where as a little one, I used to feel safe, and protected, a place to rest.
Yesterday, I saw a painting of a woman sitting with a child in her lap, a solid toddler, with heavy eyes and lolling head who was ready for sleep. The sense of heaviness in the child’s position really caught my attention, and brought back those times when my own children would rest in my arms. When a little one is tired and feels utterly secure, there is a particular kind of rest that comes to them, as every ounce of weight is relaxed into the arms that hold it. They stop holding themselves, and give the entire burden to the loving, surrounding presence.
And so I realised again, how blessed I am, because even as a grown woman, I have such a place of security to rest in. The God of heaven is my refuge, and not merely in the sense of a defence against danger, but also this loving, warm resting place. He knows my heart, and sees how like that tired child I am. There are many passages in the bible which talk about His care for His people, this one is particularly lovely:-
“In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old”
These are the arms which surround us, which are bearing us even when we think we are alone with our burdens. As I struggle to bear the sorrows of those around me, or to find wisdom for a difficult decision, or feel grief for my own disappointments, my God is holding me. Will I let myself relax into that embrace, instead of sitting rigidly upright, tense and braced?
The apostle Peter writes to encourage early believers, and in turn also those of us come lately to the faith, telling them to “Cast all your anxiety on him“… and why can they do this? “Because he cares for you” (1Peter 5,7). Today, I choose to let go, to trust that the one who bears me, can bear my burdens also.
Today, let us take God at His word, and find rest for our souls as we are carried peacefully in His unfailing and intimately personal love for us.
I love this piece Elspeth. We look after Theo age 2 on Mondays . If he falls asleep in the car and I have to lift him out he is a dead weight in my arms. You are so right to point out that complete surrender to the loving presence. It is a powerful image. I think it is Michael Ramsden who talks about the lost sheep in a similar way. When a sheep wanders off it can become terrified and rooted to the spot thus the shepherd has to carry its dead weight.
thank you Heather, I’m glad you found it a good picture. I always enjoy your FB posts – you must make time to do a lot of reading, as well as looking after people, I am very impressed!