Short on volunteers for the summer, I ended up taking a shift in the nursery this morning at my church. This morning, one of the little girls wanted nothing to do with leaving her mom. I knelt down beside her, looked in her worried eyes, and felt compelled to say, we’re going to have a lot of fun this morning! But tears are okay here, too.” I saw her mom visibly relax, reassured that her daughter’s distress was not a burden to me or the rest of the nursery staff. All emotions were welcome here. And though the child didn’t have words to convey a response, I could tell her little heart was comforted by kindness for she let me pick her up and hold her as she cried when her momma left to go to the service upstairs, and she held me tight as she buried her tiny face into my shoulder.
Sometimes the kingdom of God looks like holding the little ones and telling them that their tears are okay. As I reflected on those words I spoke over her, the Holy Spirit whispered how incredibly true they were. Not just in that moment with the babies, but with God. How in my own tears, the Father pulls me close and let’s me rest my weary head on His shoulder. That he whispers, “I’ll hold you as long as you need and as long as you’ll let me.” When the world is scary and moving and shifting and changing, He delights when we see that His arms are a place of safety and security.
I ended up holding the same little girl for the entirety of the hour—each time I even knelt down to see if she wanted to play she would cling to my arm and tears would begin to form in her sweet little eyes again. So I held her and swayed with her and spoke words over her she may be too young to understand but that I know will plant seeds of truth in her heart as she grows. “You are so brave.”
And isn’t that what God does? He speaks the language of love into our identities, and he patiently speaks the truths we desperately need until they settle in our souls as the truth about who we are.
In all honesty, I didn’t really want to volunteer this week. It was my second to last Sunday before moving across the country for grad school. But the moment someone reached out and asked if I would be willing to serve with the babies, I felt in my spirit God had a desire to meet me there. So eagerly, I said yes. And He met me there so, so sweetly. So tenderly. He reminded me that the kingdom of God belongs to those who come to him like little children. As I prepare to move and head into a new season where familiarity and earthly comforts will be stripped, I will need to remember the arms of the One who brings comfort and whose words pour forth the identity I so long to hear: daughter, highly favored, called. Who scoops me up in His arms when my vantage point is too close to the ground to feel safe. And I hope you see yourself in this story, too. How God who loves you is patient with you. He is not burdened by your feelings of sadness, of being overwhelmed, of loneliness, of fear. No He kneels down beside you and whispers, ” your tears are okay here. I will hold you as long as you need and as long as you’ll let me.” Rest easy today, friends.