Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Father's Strong Embrace

Aaron's explosive temper has been well-documented in this space. Amy
has instructed me that the approach she wants us to take is bear hugs:
smother his arms and legs, which simultaneously comforts him and lets
him know we're stronger than him. I've had ample opportunity to try
it this week, as Aaron's had plenty of moments.

One sticks out. It was a weekday morning, and Aaron was having a
particularly tumultuous day, the kind where nothing is going right. I
was doing my best to roll with his punches, but had to admit not a
little impatience, given that I was on a time crunch to get out the

So when Aaron started swinging from his seat in the kitchen, I grabbed
him and took him to the isolation of the next room over. I sat down,
squeezed his legs between mine, cinched his arms against his chest,
and held his body tight to mine. Of course, the smothering only made
him all the more enraged and loud. I repeated his name over and over
again - "Aaron, Aaron, Aaron" - as if hoping he would snap out of his
freak-out show and realize he was safe in his dad's arms.

It occurred to me that our Heavenly Father can and does hold us tight
to Himself when we are flailing away. Even as my love and tenderness
for my son mixed with mental impatience and physical fatigue, our God
does not grow weary of waiting on us or of holding onto us. As I held
my sobbing and spent son, I imagined God being available to me all the
times I was sobbing and spent, calling me by name.

Life can seem as tumultuous to me as it must to my two-year-old. How
assuring that we have a God who will bear hug us, who is longsuffering
enough to wait out our tantrums, and strong enough to hold us in when
we are flailing. May I remember that when I need to; and may my son
experience, in his father's strong embrace, an even stronger embrace
from an even stronger Father.

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