Little Bit has not been sleeping well. Yesterday, I found out the reason why. Two pearly white teeth had busted through her swollen gums.
Lately, her fingers have been the teether of choice. One of them suffered a puncture wound, and it didn't take long for her to use the other fingers with less gusto.
Now, a pacified baby is one of the joys at our house. The children love to make her giggle--my Sunshine Girl most of all. The only problem is that they keep bonking heads with one another.
Sunshine Girl plays a game where she gets real close to Little Bit and pulls back quick and somehow that sends them both into boisterous belly laughs.
It never fails that after about the third try, Sunshine bonks heads with Little Bit. Laughs transform into cries, and in I come for the comfort of a mother's hug.
Discipline is not my favorite part of parenting, but the occasion arises more than occassionally. It was time that my cuddly, loveable Sunshine learn a little something about personal space. I had been learning some tactics from a book called Raising a Sensory Smart Child. Now, here was the perfect time to try it out.
"Imagine everybody has a bubble around them," I explained, "If you get too close to another person you could pop their bubble and sometimes that can hurt, like when you bop heads with your sister."
Holding my arms out straight, I showed her how big my bubble was, then I asked her how big hers was.
"Let's try to stay in our bubbles, okay?"
A nod of the head and a rush off to find more fun, indicated the attention span was spent. I hoped she got it.
Everytime since then, when I've seen her head get too close, I say, "bubble," and she pulls back a little. I think she's getting it.
We all need our own personal space, or boundaries, if you will. Especially moms. We need time to chill, to pray, to think about the important things, the beautiful things, the things that bring us joy.
It's good to take a time-out in our busy lives to retreat to our own bubbles. But, let's not forget to let in the One who gives us everything we need and more. We don't need a bubble with Him.
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20)."
In fact, many times, Christ is the One who gives us a bubble, or shield, especially in those times when we feel most powerless. He shields us from a mother's worst enemies--fear, depression, and shame.
"Do not be afraid Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward (Genesis 15:1)."
Like Abraham, following the Lord's leading into unknown territory, we can trust in Him when we come to the new places in mommyhood where we feel lost, alone, and totally out of control. Christ knows exactly where we're at, and He is the One who can calm our anxious hearts.
It is in these places that the enemy of our soul is the most crafty at trying to impress on us that God is not trustworthy. It takes an extra measure of faith to still cling to the promises of God in His Word.
It helps to know His promises in the first place. That's where Bible study and memorizing key verses and passages becomes crucial, even life saving. Believe me, it is worth the effort.
Depression comes on swift and merciless. It casts it's dark shadow over us and threatens to keep us there until we lose all hope we'll ever see the light of day. I know this because I have been there. But, there is hope, and when we lose sight of it, we need someone to rescue us.
We need Jesus.
When we look to Jesus, the Word who took on flesh and blood, He offers us His protection, His shield to quench all those fiery lies that we are somehow abandoned by God, worthless, or a disappointment.
"As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18:30)."
True, life is full of disappoinments, but there are days when we feel like we are the biggest disappointment of all. I don't know if you've been there, but sometimes I feel like I want to just crawl under a rock and stay there.
And, that's okay.
God is that Rock. He is our shield. He sings over us, and reminds us that His love is not based on our performance, but on His great, unfailing, love displayed by Christ's sacrifice for our sins on the cross. He will never leave us, never. He will never reject us, not ever.
"You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7)."