“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”
This may be my perception, but it seems like we are never closer to God than when we are infants or the moment we are edging nearer to the end of our lives. It just seems these are the times we have absolutely no guards up or pretenses, demands, or influences. It is a purity of state when we are laid bare and all that is before us or all that is behind us loses its hold over our thoughts and feelings. We are His clay and we are more malleable during these moments than any other time in our lives.
I have two daughters, and I remember holding them at birth. They were lost and frightened when not within my grasp, but once they returned from a nurse’s check-up and wrapped back in my arms, their worlds fell into place. They were safe.
Neither of them had an agenda or notion of the world outside of my arms. They weren’t influenced by anyone other than the comfort and love of their caretakers. Looking at their sweet innocence, I knew the blank slate would soon be written upon by my own triumphs and shortcomings as a parent and the big bad world I couldn’t protect them from. For now, their faces were still freshly kissed by God and each day they awoke set them on a course that would shape and chisel them one life experience at a time.
I feel like the definition of our life between birth and death is equivalent to being a teenager. We think we have it all figured out, we know what is best for us, and our opinions of people and world happenings are ironclad. Just read Facebook and you can see how set in stone one person is from the next regarding everything from politics to the best way to make Beef Stroganoff. Is there really only one way?
During these in between years, we are molded by so much more than our Father. Our culture has taken a hold of our attention and won’t let go until we pass. Each day in the progression of our lives we fall further and further away from the kiss on the forehead from our Father who picked the time and place He would send us here in order for us to find our way back home to Him. How scary it must be to send His children off into the world knowing our decision will ultimately bring us back to Him or away from Him for an eternity.
I am witnessing the end of life for my mom, and it struck me how much we revert back to the beginning of our lives when our independence is not formed but our dependence is necessary for our survival. I recently bought a baby monitor for my mom so my dad could hear her during the night and be there when she needed him. Her bed was moved downstairs because the stairs were too hard to navigate. I felt fear that she was sleeping downstairs on her own. What if she cried out during the night?
Our independence can pull us away from our Father just like our children’s independence causes them to pull away from us. The one-year-old walker tries so hard to outrun us as they head towards the one thing in the room we don’t want them to have. Our dependence makes us softer and more pliable and willing to hold the hand of the one who is caring for us. It makes us migrate towards the source of the warmth and safety of the security they provide.
My mom is unable to read my book. Her focus is limited and reading wears her out. She asked me to read it to her, and it was one of the most precious experiences I have ever had. She closed her eyes as she laid in bed and I read the words to her. She was softly breathing and once in a while I slowed down to see if she was asleep. She cracked open an eye to look at me and then I would pick up where I left off.
I sometimes wonder if I wrote the book for my mom. The timing is just too perfect for me not to wonder. When I read it, I believe it gives her peace hearing about how much her Father loves her, and the purpose of our life is to learn of Him and know He is waiting for His children with open arms if we are just willing to find Him.
I pray that God allows us the time for me to finish reading to my mom. Her heart is so ready to hear of His love for her and how His forgiveness makes us as clean and lovable as a newborn baby. She is soft and pliable, and I can feel the hands of our mighty Father molding His child, holding her in His arms, and feeling her dependence on Him to protect her from the shadows of death. Christ defeated this and is slipping His Shoes of Peace onto her feet. I pray that I allow myself to be this open to my Potter during these in between years, and I can’t wait to feel His kiss on my forehead once again.