“I can’t wait to be in the courtyards of the Lord’s temple. I really want to be there. My whole being cries out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2)
18 months ago:
After strolling through the florescent lit aseptic cancer wing with my two-year-old granddaughter, Emma, we entered her sister’s room. Fully garnished with cards, gifts and drawings from little friends the room sheltered Miriam who was reclining drowsily. Life for the moment surrounded the three-year-old cancer patient. And so it must be and was.
Delighted to see her, Emma beamed, a smile widened on her face. Her mama, sitting by her sister, opened her arms and welcomed Emma to come to her. As she approached her mama, eyes twinkling, she expectantly cried, “Up.” Her mama lovingly swept her up and closed her in her arms. Her face against her mama’s face—Emma rested with contentment…the long day’s events were put in perspective.
As I settled in the background I savored my second son, Stephen, and his precious little family softly chattering and musing together. Now that the four of them were reunited momentarily my grandmother heart took retreat and pondered lessons from little Emma’s actions.
Emma knew what she wanted. She knew that one word would get her there. And that word was, “Up.” But, what did Emma really want? She wanted to be held by her mama. This would bring her to a place of tenderness and well-being. She wanted to be close to her mama’s heart. For in taking up that space of her mama’s physical presence she would be secure and feel safe. She wanted to see the room from a higher perspective. When she was up in mama’s arms she could hear her mama’s voice ever so clearly and view her injured world that now included cancer from a higher perspective. She could view it, feel it, and know it from her mama’s perspective.
As I watched Emma relish her position in her mama’s arms their reunion captured my heart and reminded me what I long for each time I meet with Jesus. Like Emma’s mama, He welcomes me with open arms to our time together each day. I want to approach Him desiring intimacy, saying, “Up.” I trust that He will lift me up and hold me close.
- He wants me to settle expectantly in his arms close to His heart. And, so I do.
- He wants me to see my day from His perspective and feel the breath of his voice on my cheek as He speaks to me from His Word. And so do I.
- He wants me to gaze in His face knowing there could be no more wondrous or secure place to be! And, it is so.
Our visit completed, Emma and I happily held hands as we walked toward the elevator. Her “love-cup” had been filled by her mama’s embrace and her bright spirit could move through another day. I knew that by the next afternoon she would be eager to return to these hallowed hallways where cancer seeks to reign. And once again, Emma would rush to her mama, expectantly cry, “Up” and, they would gladly rejoin their spirits together in love.
Now, a year and a half later. Miriam is cancer free! And we are thankful. She will continue to have cancer checks until she is eight years old. As we are walking through a new season of grief after the sudden loss of our first son, Michael, I find that my habit of “UP” with Jesus over the years has cushioned this loss because I have in the past frequently and desperately cried “up” to Him. As always He has met me. And though the loss of our son has left a deep cavern of sadness within me, Christ whispers continually His sweet words of comfort to me.
Dear mamas, If I were to add another bullet point to the habit of “up” it would be this: Make the prayer of ‘up’ be frequent, habitual and with a great abandonment to Him. Mamas, know that as you lift your little ones up today and give them care and perspective, that He longs to lift you up too. And as you pour yourself into women in your ministry, point them “up” to Him.
|Michael with Tom and Dana in 1977
Grandma ‘D’ and Tom have been on staff with the Navs for 38 years and married for 44 years. They enjoy 7 grandchildren with one more on the way due in August. Recently, their oldest son Michael went to be with the Lord. They were blessed to have Michael on earth for forty years. Though they have two remaining children: Amy and Stephen…they regard the spouses of their children, Joy, David and Hannah to be their children as well.