A toddler can wince and scream and throw a fit, a downright tantrum. And you can do everything seemingly possible to try to calm him...and it not work.
Often you don't know the reason. But sometimes, sometimes...you do.
He is tired. Exhausted. So tired and so exhausted he cannot focus on sleep even if sleep would be easy to find. Over-tired and over-exhausted. Drained from too much stimuli. Unable to calm down and just sleep in peace.
The tears roll like a broken dam. Crying turns into sobbing turns into this sort of labored breathing and wailing. He reaches out for you and you take him. Hold him close. Shhh. Rest. But no, mere seconds and he push you back. He wants down. Only to continue this cycle of knowing what he needs but not knowing how to get there.
Finally you settle him as best you can into his cozy crib, turn on the little light display with the lullabies and just walk out. Maybe he needs to have some space. Space to figure out just exactly what it is he needs, what it is that is so upsetting.
You stand outside the room listening to the crying, your heart breaking for him, for just a short while before the tone changes. The hysteria giving way to sorrow. He realizes now. He knows. He wants you. To rock him, to comfort him, to tell him everything will be okay. That you got this. No harm will come to him --you won't let it. You love him too much to let that happen. And he knows it. He can sense it, feel it.
"I rocky," he says through his ever-calming tears.
And so you rock him. Rock him to comfort, to security, to peace...to sleep. He knew all along what he needed; he just wasn't sure it's what he WANTED.
And so it is with us. With me.
This world over-stimulates me. Overwhelms me. It batters and abuses with its imperfections. And in rising up to battle it, I tire. I grow wearier and wearier. And before I know it, I am the toddler, throwing fits. Kicking and screaming. Inconsolable. I know what I need; I'm just not sure it's want I want.
I need Him. God help me!
In the midst of my tantrums I scream for His presence. "Where are you in this?!" "Show me how this is supposed to work for Your good, for Your glory!" ...because I can't see it. You see, that is what I want. I want to know His plans. I want to be on the same page as my God. But, it's not necessarily what I need.
What I need is rocked.
And after He gives me a little space to sob it out and breathe, I realize...He's been there all along. He has tried to comfort me, to rock me. But I was too busy screaming questions at Him.
Now I see. I feel.
And He does. He comforts. He shushes the chaos around me. He touches my most inner soul like a mother touches the face of her newborn. He rocks. And He promises no harm shall come to me. Rest. Rest in Me.
Me and you, we get too caught up in being grown-ups sometimes. We pray for grown-up things like wisdom and patience, trust and conversion of hearts. But sometimes we just need to let go and be a CHILD of GOD and say, "I rocky, Lord." Rock me, comfort me, hug me.
I watched my husband walk into the night on his way to a month long field exercise a few years back. And there I was, mother of a toddler, pregnant, and in a foreign country that I was supposed to be in love with and having daily adventures in. But all I felt was alone, scared, and utterly sad. I returned to bed as the clock read 4:00 a.m. And I laid there and cried in a whisper, "Hug me Lord."
And He did.
He has hugged me, He has rocked me many times and yet I always fail to remember to ask for that first in the midst of the storm.
So today, I asked. Again. And he obliged.
The storm and chaos of my illness, our adoption, this deployment swirl around me. I threw my fit. I had my tantrum. I asked my questions. And then in the midst of tears I broke down deep and whispered, "I rocky."
His arms reach out for me and he says, "Come here my child and let me rock you."
All along, this was what I needed. His comfort all around me. Not the grown-up prayer requests all checked off neatly in a prayer journal. Just rocked. Just me and Him. To know that He's got this.
This imperfect world will always try to batter and bruise us, but when we get to the point that we can no longer stand tall and battle it confidently, we MUST remember that He is more infinite that this world. And that instead of asking for strength for the battle, sometimes, just maybe, what we really need...is rocked.