For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry “Abba, Father’. Rom 8:15 NIV
Maggie was petite, with a head full of blonde curls that bounced with her every step. She gazed at the world with the biggest, deepest blue eyes I think I have ever seen and, oh yes; she had her Daddy’s heart wrapped right around her little finger.
I had flown into Atlanta to help my sister pack and load her family’s belongings for an upcoming move across the country. My first day there we worked like crazy: packing, shifting, loading, and cleaning. In the middle of the sweating though, there was plenty of laughing. It was a long day and hard work to get as much done as possible before the neighborhood crew showed up at five to help load the truck. So, let there be no doubt, when the dinner bell rang, I was ready.
Sitting at the table with my sister and her neighbors, I delved into a full plate of southern hospitality. Maggie toddled right up to my lap and grabbed my knee with both hands. She made a half whining, half giggling noise as the dog behind her both frightened and delighted her. She reached toward my lap for security. She reached for my lap for safety. She reached toward my lap for assurance. She reached toward my lap for her parent. As her tiny fingers landed on the side of my leg, her beautiful eyes gazed up to let me know she was in a little distress. She needed to latch onto the familiar to conquer this unfamiliar situation. She wanted strength to stand there or a way out. Either way, she reached out.
As our eyes met, and in one millisecond of time, the reflection in Maggie’s eyes changed from a little bit worried to downright fearful. She looked at me, I looked at her, and she realized I was not her daddy! In a split second this toddler gasped for clarification, expressed true doubt, grappled with the realization that what she thought was one thing was truly another. She panicked, inside first and then it started to show on her outside. The peaceful innocence of this beautiful little girl was in a series of very tiny steps, replaced by fear, doubt and then panic.
Little Maggie made me think of my self and my heavenly Father. I considered in that moment my big brother Jesus and my wounded past. Like Maggie, I was toddling through my life, most of the time in unfamiliar territory. Initially I was pretty secure because I knew my Dad and I were in the same room. So, I went about my business of everyday life; exploring, learning, growing, falling down and getting back up and taking lots and lots of spiritual naps. Like Maggie, I eventually found myself toddling into new environments, some I had no business walking through in the first place. And, like Maggie, in one moment of time, I found myself facing a huge, hairy, heavy breathing monster moving toward me, probably to swallow me up. I was afraid. I also scurried toward what I thought was protection. I too aimed my steps to where I thought I would be ok. I too hurried my way over to a natural place of safety and security. I reached out for comfort and realized I had grasped onto the wrong source of strength.
This was not my Father’s knee; it was the lap of destruction, a place of demise, a broken seat of safety! My emotional eyes began to reflect the horror of the realization that I had been too busy sneaking into places I should have never been. Only when confronted by terrifying tangible danger did the realization overwhelm me that what I had willingly walked into and grabbed a hold of was anything but safe and secure. My heart filled with fear. My body filled with anxiety. I began to panic. Where was I? And where was my daddy?
Almost immediately I heard a sweet, calm voice. It said “Maggie, here I am, right here”. With that, Maggie mustered her remaining strength, moved toward that voice and was lifted into the safe, secure, loving arms of the dad who was her entire boundary of safety and perfect peace. Maggie’s little body sucked in as much oxygen as it could on the lift upward, and then let out a long sigh of relief as her head lowered against the chest wall of the one who loves her like none other. She could hear the beating of the heart that assures her unconditional love no matter the monsters. That moment reminded me of my moment with my heavenly Father; when all I could do was cry out and He lifted me out of my pit and into His arms.
Maggie and I are both very content now to be right where we should have been in the first place. Safe, secure, warm, and peaceful, we are wrapped in loving protection no matter where our toddles might take us in the future. And yes, in case you were wondering, that is my Heavenly Father’s heart wrapped around my little finger.
Janice N. Hart
Pass the Grace; copyright 2009