Audrey cut another tooth last week–a cuspid. That’s one of the sharp ones. And it hurt. A lot. Add to that the frustration of a broken arm. Then top it all off with entering the separation anxiety stage at bedtime. I’m not too sure turning 19 months old was all that exciting to her. She had a rough week.
The past few nights Audrey has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with her crib at bedtime. She wants to be with us or be held and rocked. Once her cries have proven she’s not going to fall asleep and reached their feverish intensity, I will go to her and as soon as she’s in my arms, the hysteria fades. I tell her over and over, “It’s okay, Mommy’s here.” And she calms, her cries softening to gentle hiccups. She lies on my chest, her arms wrapped around me, unmoving while I sing to her–“All The Way My Savior Leads Me”. When I finish, Audrey will sometimes hum quietly to let me know she wants me to sing another song. More often than not she is still, content to lie in my arms with my cheek resting on top of her head, rocking.
Audrey doesn’t say many words yet, but she knows how to communicate quite well. If I lift my cheek off her head, she will raise her arm and pull my head back down. When I say to her, “Are you ready to get in your bed?” she will do one of two things. She will either nod, sit up and point to her crib, or she will gently shake her head and pat my chest as if to say, “I want to be right here with you.” How can I say no to that? I don’t want to say no to that! I am treasuring these moments with her.
When I do leave her room and occasionally let her cry to sleep, what Audrey doesn’t know is that I’m still there, right outside her door, listening to her every cry, often crying with her and waiting. Even though I tell her, “I’m still here.” she can’t comprehend it, because she doesn’t feel my presence. Sometimes I go down the road I don’t want to… the what if I’m not here for her one day soon? I don’t know if I have 5 minutes, 5 months, 5 years or 5 decades with her, but I know the One Who does.
In John 14:1-2 Jesus says, “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
I read this last week with new eyes. I’ve read it a hundred times before, but the line that struck me was this: “If it were not so, I would have told you.” Jesus is saying, “You can trust me. I will tell you the truth.” He’s taking care of me and loves me and wants to be with me. He’s preparing a place for me even now.
How like little Audrey I am! I don’t want to be left alone in the darkness. I want to sit with my Jesus and be still and know and feel His presence. And like Audrey has mine, I have His words, “I’m still here. It’s okay.” Only He is perfect, and He will never fail me. On those days when I struggle to sense His presence, He’s right there, waiting, listening to my every cry, crying with me, ready to show Himself in mighty ways in my life. Sometimes He lets me cry myself to sleep, but He’s still there. Sometimes He gives me Brian’s arms as a tangible way of showing He is there. Sometimes He gives me a strong sense of His presence as I experience His faithfulness time and again. And just as it is for Audrey to see her Daddy or Mommy or Grandma in the light of the sunrise each morning, every dawn when I wake, He is there.
If it were not so, He would have told me.