“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” I Peter 2:2
I was scheduled to volunteer as nursery attendant this last week during church services. I am not often scheduled in this area; so, I feel a little clumsy in there and I’m never sure of what to expect. This time it was just me and a 10 month old little beauty named Gracelynn.
Like I said, I’m not in the nursery often; so, these little ones see me around the church, but they aren’t used to being left in my care. Gracelynn surprised her parents and me, however, by reaching for me to take her right away. We adults took advantage of this by separating quickly – they headed up to service, and I carried the little one over to choose our fun in the toys that were there.
I learned very quickly that she is in the early stages of talking. She told me some things that I couldn’t quite make out about her “dada,” and I’m pretty sure she told me something else about her “mama”, but poor little Gracelynn grew a little upset because my part of our conversations weren’t what she expected them to be, and she got a bit worked up when a dear friend of mine came down to pay us a visit and took part of my attention off of her. We tried to console her, comfort her, and cuddle with her, but she would have none of that. Finally, my friend retreated back upstairs, and I announced, “Well, Little One, it’s down to just you and I.” I expected her to wail over my words unhappily, but she smiled for a moment and patted my face instead. Gracelynn is a one-on-one kind of girl. She’s got something to say, and she needed my whole attention to say it. She wanted to be listened to, not just heard. I finally understood what she was trying to tell me was that it isn’t easy exercising this new gift that she’d been given, but she had chosen me to exercise it with her and she would appreciate a little respect.
Let me just say, I love her! She has a great spirit in her that I am attached to. We did finally figure out a rhythm of gestures and words which helped us communicate and get along. More importantly, we had a lovely one-on-one time together.
I remember being a parent with babies at home, on my hip, in a sling, in a car seat, in a cart…you catch my drift I believe. I also remember the feeling of exhaustion that I felt, and I know this quite often came from the constant one-on-one time a baby needs and demands. These moments are some of the most joy-filled and also the most tediously frustrating memories I have of my children’s early years. Without these moments of one-on-one, however, my babies would not have grown, learned, and matured into the nearly teen, fully teen, late teen, and leaving teen my four babies are today.
Our Christian life is like this. We are born again through our belief and submission to God into his family. From our infancy we then require one-on-one time with God in prayer, in His Word, in worship, and in discipline. Like babies we want to “be built up until we all reach unity in faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12b,13) This takes personal initiative to seek growth, courage to exercise our faith always, and boldness to share it. I pray Gracelynn comes to Christ at a young age and is born again. I believe she has the initiative, courage, and boldness to go out and win and disciple the lost for God like a true Christian warrior.
God, thank you for the babies, for the precious new lives you are still giving out in a world so torn by evil and all kinds of sin. As in Ephesians 4 we have a subconscious desire in us from birth to no longer be infants, “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” May we all, instead, grow up into Christ, our ultimate and most worthy goal. I take great comfort in the promises You have made throughout your Scripture, but today I remember this promise you made to the Israelites through Isaiah: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you.’ Thank you, Abba. Thank you. Amen.