I remember the last time I sat on my mom’s lap. I was out of sorts. There was nothing really WRONG with me, I was just out of sorts. I was frustrated to tears and dropped to the floor in a fit when she scooped me up into her lap. For a moment I pretended to fight her, but then I just…rested. My mom’s parenting style was more cry-it-out than cuddle-it-out, so I think that’s why I remember this so well. She smelled like Chantilly and suntans and she was humming. She was probably humming along to the Linda Ronstadt record that was playing, but I just remember her voice, so soft I could feel it more than hear it. We rocked in her bentwood rocker as I half-slept, but mostly just rested, feeling her breathing. Feeling her humming. Feeling her profound affection. Even all these years later, I remember wishing dinner wouldn’t have to be made and I’d never have to be anywhere but there in her lap.
A few months ago, I was there again – out of sorts. Inside, I had fallen to the floor in frustrated tears and just then, Jesus scooped me up into His lap. I fought Him. I told Him I was tired of wasted, unanswered prayers. I asked Him to let me go. But He held tight, rocking, humming, a voice so soft I could feel it even though I couldn’t hear it. It was the first time I had ever rested in the Lord’s presence. I had tried before, for years, but I had so much to say, so many things I wanted, so many expectations. This night there was nothing left. I had nothing to say and I was nearly out of hope, so I was finally still (Psalm 46:10).
I look back at that time as though it was one of my deepest valleys, yet there was no tragedy. Life had just gotten to me. I felt trapped and lost, overwhelmed and unproductive, frustrated and tired. Everything was wrong, but I didn’t have any problems. I felt inadequate, ill-equipped to manage my own very comfortable life. I was restless. God had stirred my soul.
Since then, I have learned that when God stirs the soul, it is a gentle call to chase Him into the shadows. He is tugging on your sleeve, hoping you’ll follow down the next path (John 12:26). He is asking you to follow on the journey of a lifetime.
As promised, once I put Him first and began to follow Him, God started cleaning up the dusty corners of my life. Things are so very much better than they were just a few months ago. But we’re never happy, are we? I long to be back in His lap. While I enjoy this blessed season, I yearn for that honest intimacy that comes from desperation. It’s that perfect prayer in the desperate hour that Keith Urban talked about. This is what James spoke of when he said he counted all things joy that his faith would be refined by trial (James 1:2-3). Jesus wants to minister to us, and when He does, when the Savior of the world wipes our tears, the world pales. Like Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, when we call on Him in sorrow, we see His glory.
In those moments, there is an exchange. We offer up the broken pieces of our life and He takes them and restores them to something better that looks a little more like Him and a little less like us (John 3:30). Suddenly the brokenness doesn’t seem so tragic or hopeless. When we look back on our lives, it’s those valleys we treasure. The laughter is fun to remember, but we understand that the laughter would not have been so rich had we not grown in faith.
Many of our happiest moments could not have come if we hadn’t continued to trust when we didn’t dare to hope.
We appreciate joy because we held the door open for unwelcome disruptions and let Jesus show us the precious blessing that comes from hospitality.
Letting Jesus scoop me up into His lap changed me much like that last time I sat on my mother’s lap. Instead of indulging in a self-destructive fit, I found restoration and calm – a hope for the future and a peace for this day (1 Peter 5:10).