A Child of Grace
She was capering around the house like the wild child she is some days, all hopped up on too much sugar, not enough sleep, and the promise of a special evening with her daddy. I watched from the other side of the room as she did laps around the coffee table, messy hair and clothes streaming behind her. Naturally, her bare toe found the coffee table, and the injured toe was promptly lifted up on the couch while its semi-proud owner hopped on one foot and whined about her “boo boo.” But the energy was not nearly expended yet, and she couldn’t hold still enough to balance on one foot.
I started to call out, knowing she would fall, and too far away to catch her. Sure enough, she landed with a crash, and a moment of breathlessness was followed by ear splitting wails.
My husband was quicker and closer, scooping his silly little bundle of 3 year old energy and emotion up in his arms, cuddling and comforting. I came a moment later, having emptied my arms and needing to see that she was alright. As I patted her hair, her little hand pushed me away. “Me ok, mom,” she got out between sobs. “My…daddy…pick me up.”
I was stunned, struck forcefully by words that suddenly crystallized all of my own needs, condensing them into toddler speak. And the tears suddenly streamed down my own cheeks, to my husband’s great bewilderment.
But – there it was. Her daddy picked her up when she desperately needed him.
He comforted her when her own silliness caused her hurt, and held her through self-inflicted pain. He didn’t leave her to cry and fix herself just because she wasn’t wise enough to keep both feet on the floor, or talented enough to balance on one leg. He loved her just as she was, in spite of (maybe because of?) her silly antics.
Long weeks of crying out to my heavenly Father, begging and pleading for Him to come to my aid, help me in my humanity, had yielded nothing. I decided that the heavens were closed to me, that He was telling me to heal my own hurts, fix my own inadequacies.
I kept forgetting that I am His child, bought with His blood, adopted into His family.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” Romans 8:14-15 ESV
There it was, from my daughter’s mouth, words of wisdom and faith: “My daddy pick me up.” No surprise in her mind – she knows how much her daddy loves her. Why is it so hard for me to remember, to trust? To believe He loves me in spite of my stubborn, independent, hardheadedness?
Over and over and over again, Scripture shows us real people, crippled by their humanity, who are transformed by His grace.
- Abraham, the “friend of God,” failed to trust God for safety in Egypt – twice.
- Moses, the Lord’s servant whom He spoke with face to face, repeatedly questioned the call of God in his life.
- David, the “man after God’s own heart,” managed to make a gigantic mess of his family affairs.
- Simon Peter, the “rock” of the church, denied Christ – not once but three times.
The main narrative in each of their stories is grace – undeserved, unearned, and extravagant.
And in my life? The light broke through one day, and we received two very specific answers to specific prayers. We thanked the Lord for His love and care. The next day brought unexpected bad news, followed the next week by a complete retraction of the answers we thought we had received. As I write this, I feel like I’m doing an ungraceful balance on one leg, and the crash is imminent.
But those words keep echoing in my head: “My daddy…pick me up.” I believe His love transcends my fears and inadequacies, and I choose to believe that He is very near, even when my (ridiculously human) faith is weak and I can’t see.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then with Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
-Edward Mote, c. 1834