Sunday, June 1, 2008

Crawling into the Lap of Love

By Rachel Harris

The essence of peace. Complete security and comfort. Rest. These are words that describe my memory of lying across my father’s lap as a child, rocking softly in his blue Lazy-Boy recliner while he lightly rubbed my back. That was my cherished spot because in those moments, I knew I was cherished.

I was at a spiritual retreat in December, and toward the end of the weekend, we were led in making a covenant with our Lord for the upcoming year. We were asked several questions, the most important being, “How would you describe what you would like your relationship with God to look like?” As I was waiting for my turn, I reflected back on the things I had learned during the retreat. One of the recurring themes was that our relationship with our earthly father, and how we view him, is often intimately tied to and resemble how we view our Heavenly Father. Unfortunately, for most attendees, this was a negative relationship, so the focus of that statement was tied to overcoming the past, and letting go of the harbored anger and anguish. But, that was not my experience.

Growing up, my father always worked so hard to be able to provide a comfortable home for our family. As hard as he worked, he put even more effort into creating quality family experiences with me, my mother and brother. Playing putt-putt in freezing temperatures --completely alone, I might add, since no one else was crazy enough to be outside in that weather, playing board games, having crawfish boils and barbeques, and dancing around our kitchen table on Christmas morning. We went on tons of family vacations, and for each of them, the fun shared during the long drive in the confines of the mini-van was better than arriving at the destination! But for me, none of those experiences compared to the memory of lying in my daddy’s lap, feeling completely secure and loved.

When it was my turn to create a covenant, and to say how I wanted my relationship with my Heavenly Father to look this year, I chose to honor the earthly father that He blessed me with. I realized that God knew me before I was born, someone who has always accepted His unconditional love for others, but has struggled with believing in it for myself. He knew I would need that example in my life to really start to grasp and understand His personal, intimate love for ME! That reality is so amazing, so precious, that it is still difficult to believe at times, and hard to put into words, yet I tried. The statement that I created, my covenant for this year (and beyond) is that I will “Crawl into my Heavenly Father’s lap and LET Him love on me daily.” Don’t we all need to do that?

As a home schooling mom, it is tempting to think it is my job to lead my two little princesses to God. After all, I am the one that is with them all day, everyday, teaching them His word, singing songs about His love and faithfulness, reading bible stories and acting them out. All these things are great – and necessary! But, the reality is that their relationship with their daddy will have the most impact on their Christian walk. I have realized that in everything I do, in everything I say, I need to remember that fact and honor my husband. I need to continue to build him up in their presence, make sure that they know how much he does for us and how much he desperately loves them. I need to create opportunities to allow him to share in our learning experiences and adventures, and not feel left out when they have special ‘Daddy dates.’ I need to respect the relationship they share and do all that I can to help cultivate our own special family memories that they can later look back on and reflect onto their ultimate relationship, the one with their Heavenly Father.

Father, God, I thank you for loving me before I was born and giving me such a beautiful example of that love. I realize today, God, that many may be reading this who do not share those wonderful memories of their earthly fathers, and I pray a special blessing upon them. Let them experience your presence today in an intimate way and bring healing to their hurting hearts. And, Lord, I pray that you give all of the parents reading this wisdom in how to help lead the little ones you have entrusted to our care back to You. That they see Your love for them shining through all of our words and actions. Help us to all learn how to set aside time to just crawl into your lap and allow you to love on us daily. It is in your Son’s precious name I pray, Amen.

Rachel Harris, married to the love of her life, resides in Texas with their two preschool princesses. Rachel is a writer and assistant at Heart of the Matter Online, and also journals about their homeschooling adventures and day-to-day life experiences at her personal blog at