I still rock Caleb to sleep. I do it, not because I have to, but because I want to. He’s two and a half, and I know what all of the experts say, but it doesn’t matter. I relish my time with him. His soft, chubby arms wrapped around me. The gentle rocking of my chair. Warm, sweet breaths fill the air. The quiet beating of his heart. There is nothing in the world quite like holding a sleeping child. The peace is overwhelming. My world stops each night so I can hold my baby.
There will come a night when he decides he no longer wants to be held. I will take a deep breath, gently tuck him into his bed, pray with him, and turn out the light. But not yet. Right now, I want soak in his innocence, his childhood. I want him to know he is not alone. In my arms he is at peace. He is safe and protected while curled up in the crook of my arm. His little world may crumble during the day, but in my arms, at least he knows he is not alone. For me, the lesson in this is powerful. Being held is powerful.
I can still vividly remember lying on my couch five years ago in the depths of depression thinking it would never end. My daughter was three, so the days of post-partum were long over. I had lost 30 pounds and was running regularly. I was taking a few seminary courses at a time, and living my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. Prince Charming and I were living happily ever after. There was absolutely nothing in my life to be depressed about, and yet, there I was, feeling as if crazy had come to stay.
It was awful. Why God was allowing me to go through such a dark time? I mean, I was a good Christian girl. I kept thinking, “If I just have enough faith, if I just pray harder, I will feel better.” And yet, there were days I would take Ella to preschool and just crawl back in bed, effectively shutting the world out for a few more hours. God could not have felt further away, and yet, in reality, He was right there…just waiting to hold me. Waiting to tell me I am not alone.
After a trip to my doctor, I was faced with a decision I thought I would never have to make. Prince Charming, a true rock for me, was not there the way I expected him to be. It’s not his fault. He simply just didn’t understand, and I hadn’t really been able to tell him. I’m not the type to call others when I am struggling, just ask my sister or my mom. Even they have to drag emotions out of me, and then they aren’t completely successful. I remember sitting in class that night realizing I was alone in a sea of people. I had hit rock bottom. There was no were left to go but to the arms of Jesus.
I had a poignant conversation with God that night. It basically went something like this: I have no idea why you are allowing me to go through this. Honesty, I’m pretty ticked off this is part of your plan. But Lord, I have nowhere else to go. Please, please, oh please dear Father, let me just sit at your feet and learn whatever it is you want me to know during this painful time. Let me sit in your lap and feel your arms around me.
During those dark days, I literally would picture myself wrapped up in the arms of Christ. I know without a doubt, He held me. With open arms, my Jesus held me. His arms did not promise immediate healing. Swimming up from a sea of depression was a painful process that, for me, did include necessary medication for a period of time. His arms did not promise protection from the dark moments of depression, but they did promise a place I was not alone.
So you see, dear friends, think about all the times you hold your children. They may not fit in your laps any more, but you still hold them. Or maybe it’s wrapping your arms around a dear friend in the midst of personal crisis. We can’t always take away their pain. We can’t always guarantee their safety. Our arms can’t always make their world right. But our arms do tell our children, our friends they are not alone. In the same way, the arms of our sweet Lord wrap around us tightly and tell us we are not alone. I am not alone. You are not alone.
You are not alone
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.