This is dedicated to my wonderfully encouraging Mother-In-Law, Susan. First, because I so appreciate her, and second because this piece was inspired by her suggestion!
The little head tilts back. Small arms reach skyward as she stands at her Daddy’s feet. “UP!” she exclaims. “UP! Peeese!” How can he resist? In less than a moment Gracie is scooped up into her father’s arms. She rests her head on his shoulder and squeezes tight. A smile that defies description contently fills her cheeks.
Grace’s first verb was “up.” Doug taught it to her in less than 10 seconds. I remember the moment. She stood at his feet with her arms reaching high and pushed out an insistent whine.
“Say Up!” he said, looking down at her.
“UP!” she cried.
“Please.” He guided.
“Peeese!” She echoed. “UP!” She knew what she wanted and where she wanted to be— in Daddy’s arms.
Grace likes to be “up.” There is a comfort for someone so small in a big world to be in a big person’s grasp.
Gracie has many different “up’s.” When she is not feeling well she lays her head on your leg and quietly pleads; “Uuuppp…”
When she is a little afraid, she shuffles to cling on to the side of your leg, tilts her head back and says with a slight panic; “Uppp!”
When she feels cuddly, she’ll come hug tight to your leg, tip her head back, and with her charming grin ask; “Uuuppp?”; instantly melting your heart as she melts into your arms. Her uncoordinated caress lightly rubs your shoulder as she says: “Mmmmmmm, nicceee… Oooooo, nice.…” And you feel like a million dollars as this little person lavishes her adoration on you, and you on her.
Even when Grace is angry because she has not gotten her way, she will cry and scream a tantrum for a moment, then abruptly stop, stomp a foot and clench her fists demanding “UP!!!” As if to say, “Well, if I have to endure the discipline, at least don’t withdraw from me. Still let me connect with you, even though I’ve done wrong, let me be reassured you still love me.”
And sometimes Grace just needs some undivided attention. She wants a “moment” with us. A chance to feel the security and contentment that comes with sitting in the laps of “big people.”
We don’t pick Gracie up every time she asks, pleads or demands it. Even as rookie parents we know enough to know that we can’t pick her up EVERY time. She has to realize she is not the center of the universe. She has to learn to self-soothe. She has to learn to delay gratification. She must learn how to accept “no.” While I understand all of these are important, sometimes it is so hard to refuse her desire to come “up.” Don’t get me wrong, we do refuse her, but being made in the image of God I believe as parents we have this hard-wired impulse to want to embrace, protect, comfort and adore our children. While we do not accede to Gracie’s every request, pleading or demand to come “UP!”, there is one father I know in particular who never refuses to reach down and scoop up his child.
Up in His arms there is….
Healing for the ill…
O Lord my God, I called you for help and you healed me Psalm 30:2
Comfort for the sad, or lonely…
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sack cloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30:11
Rest for the weary…
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matt 11:28
Protection for the one who is afraid or persecuted….
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands…. Psalm 91:4; 11-12
Adoration for His child who adores him….
Sing to the Lord, you of his saints; praise his holy name…. his favor lasts a lifetime Psalm 30:4-5
Unconditional love for the child who has crossed him in disobedience…
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love Psalm 103:8
And Affirming moments of his undivided attention, moments smothered in his unconditional love…
The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made…. The Lord is near to all who call on him Psalm 145:13b; 18
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
As earthly parents it may not be wise or prudent to grant every request of our child to come “up.” But as children of the perfect Father in Heaven, we know He will never deny our request to climb up into his arms. All we need to do is ask.
When you are ill, angry, lonely or sad, His arms are waiting…
When you have been disobedient, and fallen short of His expectations, riddled with guilt and deep in repentance, His arms are waiting…
When you are grateful for all the blessings of your life, and you just want to rejoice and pour out your love for Him, His arms are waiting…
When you are arrested with fear, in pain of any kind, or simply need a stroke of affirmation, His arms are waiting…