I’m a new mom.
Of a four-month-old.
My daughter has a total of 5 activities that pretty much make up her days—eating, pooping, peeing, playing, and sleeping. And I’m there for all of them as she cycles through each one.
Putting make-up on, making dinners, and writing blog posts might wane for me in this season, but that baby is going to be well-fed, well-napped, hugged and kissed a whole lot, sung to over and over again, and held so much that my body aches by the end of the day. Priorities are priorities.
I love her tiny hands, tiny nose, tiny feet. And tiny as she is, she’s already speaking big to me. What is it about this little person, with her 5 big daily activities, that moves my heart so much? I mean, she can’t talk to me, can’t yet say “I love you mama,” can’t hug me, can’t reach for my hand, can’t help me around the house (…but in reality, creates a little more work). Those things will come in time, but for now she just is.
She can’t do anything for me, but I love my girl just because she’s my girl.
And somehow, that sweet little lump of cuteness, who can’t even sit up on her own, gives me gifts all day long. Because her giving is in her receiving.
She sounds a delighted squeal when I bend over and kiss her cheeks; she smiles a huge toothless grin when I reach down to pick her up each morning; she rests her head in the crook of my arm and lets herself fall asleep there; she calms her crying when I pick her up and hold her close.
I could care less about the pile of dishes in the sink or that it’s 3pm and I haven’t yet showered and there’s dried spit-up in my hair. I just want to love on her, and watch her take it in.
She simply receives. And this mama’s heart is undone.
So there I am in the night’s wee hours, hearing her wake, and I bend over to look at her in the dim lamplight. Her head turns towards me, her eyes lock with mine, and a smile explodes between her two chubby cheeks.
I melt, just because her eyes looked back into mine.
And I feel God tugging at my heart—the heart of His little girl. And I hear Him ask, “Do you know how I feel when you look up at Me?”
The answer is in the question, and in the moment, and in my daughter’s smiling eyes.
He is undone.
Not because I did something great for Him. But just because I looked up. I stared into longing eyes that had been waiting for me to stare back.
But sometimes the worker in me, the weakness in me, forgets to simply glance upward.
Because sometimesI forget that He’s looking downward.
When I’m laid out in a crucifix, arms taped down, IV’s pumping in, and the c-section I never wanted is happening—God are you looking now, seeing this trauma?
And when I’m sighing out prayers that have left my lips literally thousands of times—God, are you looking, seeing hope tempting to faint under disappointment?
And when I’m curled up inward and outward, my Bible open, but my eyes who are mothering a newborn are too weary to read—God, are you seeing this weary mom? And does this count?
And sometimes I forget that my looking towards Him matters.
In a season when all feels drained, when I’ve got nothing to give, when this mama isn’t going to be leading any big ministry or doing any great exploits any time soon–when all I can do is offer my eyes, upward…
I reach to remember there is a Father, bending over the edge of Heaven, with eyes moving to and fro around the earth, searching for hearts that are His—hearts that know who He is, hearts that respond, hearts that will keep looking at Him in the midst of trial and disappointment and wearied days.
There are seven billion people in the world, and most of them aren’t even thinking about God. What does it do to His heart when we turn our eyes towards Him? Even weak glances, as trial and trauma and hopelessness are tugging at our eyes, but still we are fighting to look up?
We can only imagine.
In a world that has not known Him, has not understood Him, has not received Him—He looks for those who will look back and receive His gaze.
He loves His children simply because we’re His—not because of what we can do for Him or give to Him. God already had myriads of angels who served Him.
He fashioned us and bled for us because He wanted family. Children. Ones who will receive, who will delight to live under His smile, who will let Him hold them when they cry.
We might do great things or small things under the banner of giving to God. But truth is, before we can truly give anything to Him, we’ve got to receive from Him.
First, and then always, we receive. We open our hands and take what He longs to pour out and lavish on us. And then we grow into giving.
One day, my daughter is going to be grown enough to wrap her arms around me and return an embrace. One day she’s going to open her mouth and say, “I love you, too, mama.” One day maybe she’ll help me fold a little laundry (Here’s to hope!).
But first, and then always, she will receive. I will always keep pouring out on my baby girl, even when she’s thirty, and with all my heart I hope she keeps on receiving from me.
And today there is a Father, looking for receivers. He’s looks upon the weary ones, the heavy-laden ones, the busy ones, the disappointed ones, the broken ones. And He looks for eyes who will look back at Him, looking not for workers or mighty men who will do big things, looking not for the healthy and put-together, looking not for the strong ones who have life figured out—but simply for children who will let themselves be enfolded in His huge embrace, who will let Him calm them with His love, who will find themselves dependent and helpless without Him, who will open an ear to His whisper, who will let His “I love you’s” sink in.
For it is these ones, the receivers, who will grow into the mighty ones who can do great things for God.
(*All photos compliments of the amazing Cherish Andrea)