How did my daughter go from "out cold" at nap-time to...
"Daddy can I get my new Elsa doll?"
She had taken a long-enough nap, already. So I decided to wake her up. I walked into her room; she slept through it. I turned off her noise-maker; she slept through it. I kneeled beside her bed and put my upper body weight on her mattress; she slept through it. I crawled onto her bed next to her; she opened her eyes, turned to see it was me and immediately said, "Daddy can I get my new Elsa doll?"
(Side Note: Elsa is very valuable to my daughter Bethany. The whole FROZEN movie is very valuable to her. She sings, "Let It Go!" at least 20 times a week. And on that particular morning her grandparents dropped her off at our house with a new Elsa doll in her hand from Toys'R'Us. It was that new Elsa doll that was on her mind when I woke her up from her nap.)
These pics will help you see how valuable Elsa is to her:
Here's Bethany dressed up as Elsa:
Here is Bethany enjoying a McDonald's treat but always making sure Elsa is close by:
Here is Bethany with 5 other Elsas (the fifth Elsa is the doll in her lap):
Although I do like it when Bethany gets to play with her Elsa things, after this particular nap time, I thought it would be best for her to relax a bit before playing. "Golly," I thought, "just snuggle with Daddy a bit before you move on to Elsa, Elsa, Elsa...play, play play. Give yourself time to wake up and enjoy Daddy's arms."
So I told her just that. I said these words:
"Bethany before we go play with your Elsa doll, I want you to rest on Daddy's shoulder for a little."
And when I said those words, I was thinking these thoughts:
"Before moving on to all of life's busy activities it would be good to relax, a bit, in the safety, peace and shelter of Daddy's arms."
I got her in place...gently laid her head on my shoulder, and softly made my hand rub her back.
She didn't like the hold-Daddy time.
She wiggled. She made little whining sounds with her voice. She tried to lift her head off my shoulder.
Her movements and sounds were telling me, "I don't want to be in your arms, Daddy. There are more interesting things for me to do. Instead of being right here, I want to play with my new doll."
Even though she wanted to wiggle away, I knew that it would be good for her to stay in my arms. I knew that, even though she didn't realize in the moment:
- ...she needs Daddy's arms.
- ...she needs Daddy's arms more than she needs to have fun with Elsa.
- ...toys, fun and activities can wait.
In this moment, what you really need is to let Daddy's arms do what Daddy's arms can do.
So, as Bethany tried to wiggle away...I insisted. I gently held her head against my shoulder. I whisphered to her, "Stop wiggling. I hear your whining noises and I want them to stop. There will be times for Elsa but, right now, it's good to be in Daddy's arms for a while. Bethany, rest in Daddy's arms."
She quieted down and got still. And I let my hold and caresses and humming melodies tell her the following things:
"It's important to spend time in Daddy's arms."
"Daddy's arms can tell you things."
"Daddy's arms can say, 'I love you.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'With me you are very safe and secure.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'I enjoy being with you.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'You are very sweet to me.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'I really like it when we are close. I like spending time with you.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'No matter what anyone else says...YOU ARE PRECIOUS and valuable.'"
"Daddy's arms can say, 'No matter what happens later in your life, Daddy's arms will be a safe place. Daddy's arms will be a place where you can find love, rest and safety.'"
God says the same things to me.
Sometimes, in the moments when I say things like that to my daughter, I remind myself that God says the same things to me.
"Caleb, there are a lot of things, in life, that you can give your attention to. There's a lot of things to care about. There's work, finances, caring for your family, ministry obligations, reaching out to neighbors...there's fun to experience and friends to be with, etc. But there's one thing that's needed. It's the one thing (one place) that will allow you to find a shelter for your emotions. It's the one place that you need to return to often. It's the one place in which you need to spend long amounts of time. It's my presence. It's the safety and shelter of my arms. It's a place of remembering what's true. Take moments throughout your everyday activities to remember who I am. Remind yourself of who I've made you to be. Tell yourself of the privileges that I've extended to you in Christ. Don't forget that I've made you my child. I've adopted you. I've made a covenant with you: that I will never stop doing good to you.
When you do things like this throughout your day, you'll be letting yourself "spend time in my arms." That's what being held in my arms feels like. When you do things like this, you will experience the same things that your daughter experiences when she's in your arms. You will realize that with me you are safe. You will realize that with me you are loved and precious. You will realize that no matter what happens in life, you can run to me and find a safe place with me. Realizing these things will change your emotions. It will take fears and axieties away. It will deal with moments of depression. It will take care of fears of the future. Caleb...rest in my arms."
I'm writing it down because God invites you (the reader) to the same thing. God calls you to let yourself be held by him.
If you find yourself drained, tired, stressed, too busy, and overworked...take some time to let God gently put your head back on his shoulder. Let him tell you, "Elsa of Arendelle can wait." Let him hum his melodies over you and carress you in his arms. Let his arms do what his arms can do.
Let his arms give you rest.
P.S. I like to listen to this song while I let God's arms give me rest. (Click on the link to open the song in Spotify) Sometimes I'm so weary that all I can do is lay on the floor (usually in my kitchen after the kids are in bed). I just listen to this song and let my mind start reminding itself of who God is and who God says that I am in Christ.