True Story: Love at First Sight

What is it about kids that makes them hate sleep so much? I don’t just mean THEIR sleep, but OURS. The parents. Levi is mostly a good sleeper, but then there are those nights…

One recent night will forever remain in my memory. Hubby and I crawled into bed around midnight after a massive house-cleaning effort, dead tired and ready for sleep. Which we had… until 12:50 when Levi woke up and decided he was done sleeping for the night. He got fed, changed, rocked, bounced, patted, burped, swaddled, sang and read to. His sweet eyes would droop but the second I set him in his bed, those big brown eyes popped wide open. “I’m watching you,” he seemed to be saying, “in case you get any funny ideas about leaving me alone in this bed.”

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Of course, tired as I was, at one point I got brave and changed his diaper without bothering to put my glasses on.

Oops.

Projectile poop aaaaaaaaaaaall over me and the bed. Of course. And I can’t even see what’s what, but I know everything is covere in it. I think I cried. In fact, I’m pretty sure I did. Everybody up, lights on, let’s change the sheets. Back down again, nurse baby yet another time. Attempt to put him down and get a look something like this:

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So I pick him back up again. Repeat the sleepy time process that seems to be working better on the adults than the kid.

By about 4am, when I’d reached my point of sheer exhaustion, I laid this child on the bed between Vince and I and looked down at his bright-eyed little face that should have been sleeping, and said, “you rotten little bugger.” He blinked twice, then his face broke into the hugest dimpled grin I’d ever seen.

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And you know what? I smiled back. I looked down at him through bleary eyes aching for sleep and my heart melted.

Some people cannot understand the nature of God’s love for us, and I’m right there with them. It doesn’t make sense to me why a God like that would want anything to do with any of us. In fact, when I was in my twenties and God reached out to me in a huge way, I couldn’t wrap my head around why He’d do it. Not at all.

Apparently, He sent Levi to help us better grasp the idea.

Levi came into the world one day in August bringing nothing, able to do nothing, yet already in possession of our love in abundance. He can do nearly nothing for himself, his needs are frequent, and he can offer nothing–not even gratitude–in return. Yet we planned for and welcomed him into our family and looked forward to his arrival. Before he can even understand the concept, he’s been showered with kisses and sacrificial love. And if this little boy who’d done nothing but be born needed a hug, a procedure, a KIDNEY, you better believe we’d be right there pouring out everything we had to give it to him.

That’s just a very human version of God’s abundant love for us. So often we (me included) feel like God really wants us doing certain things or being a certain way. And He does, don’t get me wrong. But more than that, much more than that, He simply wants US. Just as babies are precious in spite of the massive upheaval they bring to our lives, we have God’s love before we even understand what that means. We don’t have to DO anything–it’s already a fact. We didn’t earn it, don’t deserve it, but it exists. It’s there for us to reach out and accept, just as a baby reaches out and clings to the finger of his loving parent. And just as I have sat and looked down into my baby’s precious face for much longer than is practical, God enjoys us. He loves who we are. He delights in us.

What a different view of God. Honestly, I did know all this about Him before, but I’ve gained such an experiential knowledge of it through this beautiful, terrible, heart-wrenching piece of motherhood. All my children did to make me love them was…. be born. (Ok, I loved them before that, but you get the idea.)

Of all the names God calls Himself, the one that has become the most precious to me, the one I understand best, is FATHER. I’ve recently started addressing Him as Father instead of my usual “Lord” or “God” in our personal talks and it’s amazing the sense of intimacy it invites into those conversations. The feelings of being loved it evokes. And all I did was… exist.

I’ll just say this to end my thoughts–love at first sight does exist, and it’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.

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