Her cheeks were wet and her eyes red as she crawled into my lap. After too long a battle of wills, she’d received the consequences she’d earned and sobbed out her weariness. As she snuggled into my lap where she fits with perfect precision, the Lord whispered to my soul, “This is my heart.”
I used to think of God as an iron ruler. He sat on His throne disappointed and angry when we messed up. Just waiting to dish out the punishments we would earn in regular succession. It was an image I’d held for so long without ever putting words to it. Yet it was always there in the recesses of my mind. The moment I came into agreement with any form of evil rather than turning toward the Lord, I felt ashamed and unworthy to approach God’s throne. I’d wander up with my toe twisting in the sand. “Uh, hey God. I know You saw that thing I did over there. I’m sorry. Again. I know You say You always love me, but I just can’t see how.”
And though the Lord has been changing that image for me, I’m learning I’m not alone in its formation.
I was frustrated with the attitude my four-year-old displayed that day. Angry and hurt over her words, “Mama isn’t even nice” meant to cut me. They did. Yet, my heart broke at the sight of her tears. My anger was unbound when she looked at me with those eyes that longed for the safety of my arms and the comfort of my lap but didn’t know how to ask. How many times I’ve looked at God with those same eyes; stood there within arm’s reach and yet shied away from the embrace. Fear said I’d be rejected. Love keeps no record of wrongs.
It was over two years ago I first prayed a prayer of which I may never truly understand its depth. We had just begun our journey toward adoption and I said a simple prayer I’ve repeated more times that I can count. “Father, in the time of waiting, create in me the mother’s heart my child will one day need.”
When we ask God for big things that align with His heart for us, He isn’t shy to give them.
In the quiet moments when I allow Him to narrate the story being written with my days, I can see the changes He’s wrought. I am not even close to where I’ll need to be one day. But one day is not today. Today, I’m closer to that goal than I was yesterday and all the yesterdays before. Tomorrow, if I’m faithful today, I’ll be another step closer.
My tendency is to bottle up my will, stomp my foot and resist God’s gentle tugging. I want to get angry and frustrated over the timing of this whole thing and blame Him for not answering my prayers. But with wet cheeks and red eyes from fighting too long, I can see how precisely I fit in His lap. His heart is kind. So I remind myself once more through the tears soaking His pure white robe, He isn’t withholding good. He’s working all things out according to His perfect plan. He’s giving what I asked: The mother’s heart my child will one day need. He’s moving mountains in our stead. Wrapped in my Father’s loving arms I need only to be still.