By Paula Moldenhauer
Can a woman forget her nursing child, And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.” Isaiah 49:15 NASB
“I just need someone to hold me.” Before me stood my firstborn son, cheeks flushed red with fever and glassy eyes full of need.
My fingers on the keyboard stopped mid-word. My son, on the threshold of manhood, had broad shoulders and a strong, athletic body, which, along with passion and hours of practice, helped make him the #1 ranked player in his hockey league. How many more opportunities would I have to soothe his hurts with the simple of act of holding? “Meet me at the recliner,” I said, leaving a sentence fragment behind a flashing curser on my computer screen.
His buddies at the rink might have been shocked to see my highly competitive son curled up on my lap. I rocked him in our blue recliner, gently touching his fevered forehead. I held him close as his painful gulps slowed into peaceful breaths and the tense lines on his face disappeared. We sat; quiet, as I held him to my heart.
“This helps me,” he whispered.
A few days earlier my daughter had fought the same illness. A Jr. Higher, she’d been a real trooper, showing her maturity by keeping mostly to her room and resting while I continued our homeschool schedule. As a little girl she could have never endured such solitude, especially when she was sick. As soon as I was more available, though, Sarah had slipped into the living room where her dad and I sat. “I just need you to hold me,” she implored, fighting the tears her swollen throat and aching body were bringing to the surface. Her dad got her some pain reliever and I pulled her on my lap, snuggling her beneath her lavender feather comforter.
After awhile Sarah seemed to ease. “Is the medicine starting to help you, honey?” I asked.
She gave me a sweet, lopsided grin and whispered, “Which medicine? The Tylenol or you?”
Later, Sarah’s dad had held her as I watched, touched by her look of peace as she curled up in his arms.
My son stirred, bringing me back to the present. I pulled him closer, thankful my children asked us to hold them when they hurt, even as they matured.
My mind drifted to my own life—to the times I needed Someone bigger, stronger, and healthier to hold me. It didn’t seem to matter how much I “grew up” or how life’s lessons built my spiritual muscles, there was never a time I didn’t need Him holding me tight.
Just as my children knew my arms offered comfort in the midst of their pain, I knew my Father’s arms brought me peace. Over the years, especially in those sickly, miserable times, I’d learned to crawl up on my Father’s lap.
“Thank you, Lord,” I whispered. “It helps me.”
How many times had I gone to him, whining or weeping about my pain? I’d learned to tell him all about it, every detail, every emotion, every hurt—and then just sit quietly before Him and accept His love. To crawl into his arms I had to break away from busyness and the toil of the battle—to take time by myself to just be with Him. I also had to trust that scripture was true. His word said He promised to hold me as a mother held her weaned child. That kind of love I understood, the love of a parent who pulled you close even after your baby days were over.
I smiled. When those unhealthy, painful times in life came I’d know what to do—just reach for the right medicine and climb on up.