My tiny, five week old granddaughter has already taught me a lesson. (She has no idea what a fine little educator she is. Maybe someday she’ll want to be a teacher like her Mimi.) Here’s what happened.
Miles, Harrison, Arianne, “Trey,” and now Harper have brought more delight to our lives than we imagined possible. With them all being age two and under, we have jumped into this “grand”-generation with a boom. Just recently, I asked my husband how in the world that young couple on the mission trip “just a few years ago” could possibly have become grandparents so soon. He didn’t have a good answer either. Certainly we’re not that old! Are we? But we’ve decided this grandparent gig does live up to its hype. And we love it!
I look forward to the babysitting opportunities I have with these little people. We spend the time reading, building block towers, playing cars, throwing balls, splashing in bubble baths, coloring, counting, and watching “Daniel Tiger.” (And changing diapers, lots and lots of diapers!) I love whispering into their cute little ears, “Mimi loves you so much, but Jesus loves you most!” I hope when they grow up, they will remember some of the things I have tried to teach them, especially about Jesus.
But it was the youngest one who taught me a valuable lesson last week. It happened while I was giving her a bottle. At just five weeks, she spends most of her time sleeping and eating. (Her big brother is still befuddled that she has no teeth, though I’ve assured him some day she will.) For now, all she needs and all she wants is milk. No teeth required. She is already on a fairly good schedule. She doesn’t need to be reminded of her feeding times. She reminds me. At first, she becomes only slightly fidgety. However, as mealtime draws closer, she becomes more restless and frantic. Eventually, the pacifier no longer pacifies. Her distress carries loudly across the room. She begins to cram her little hands and fingers into her mouth, desperate in her attempt to satisfy her longing.
Once I have her bottle warmed, I admit to adding a bit to her anxiety by taking time to tuck a little bib under her chin and offer a quick prayer of “Thank you, Jesus, for my food. Amen.” But then I am faced with another problem. I cannot get the bottle into her mouth. Her mouth is already full of tiny fists. Holding the bottle allows me only one hand to draw her two hands out of the way. Usually when I pull one away, the other quickly replaces it. I often laugh when I realize she is fighting against what she desires. Once I can finally get her to take the bottle, she relaxes and gulps hungrily, ending with a happy burp when all is finished.
In time, this little one will learn. She will see me coming with her food. She will hear my calming reassurances. She will know by experience that I will not let her down, that I will feed her. Eventually she will anticipate her meals by smelling them cooking. She will offer her own prayers of gratitude in childlike confidence that she will have her needs met. She will understand the value of patiently waiting.
Suddenly, I realized how often I respond exactly like this precious newborn. In recognizing my needs, I fret. I fiddle with unsatisfactory substitutes. I noisily voice my concerns to anyone who will listen. I complain. I often plunge into downright panic!
The Lord must see me as I see my granddaughter, wondering at the way I push aside His goodness. While He longs to meet my needs and knows exactly what I need, He watches as I seek satisfaction in ways which will never fill my appetite as He can. He sees my anxiety and hears my complaints. Surely He must sigh as He reminds me gently, “Linda, you’re in the way of what I want to give you. Please step aside and trust me. I have what you need.”
Oh, how I need to grow up. I must value the waiting. I need childlike faith. I must learn to expect Him to give me only what is best. I have seen Him do it over and over. Isn’t it time to learn?
Yes, baby girl will soon learn. She will grow up.
But will I? Have I?
I’m working on it.
“Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.
My soul, wait though only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”
Psalm 62:1, 5