Deep belly laughs followed by shrieks and the thud of heavy footsteps across the carpet mean only one thing: Daddy is chasing.
Suddenly my youngest sweeps into my bedroom, rounds the corners of the bed, and grabs for me. My husband is close behind and Josiah yells, “Mommy is the Safe Zone! Mommy is the Safe Zone!”
I lean down and wrap my arm around him. I l-o-v-e being the safe zone.
Daddy respects the invisible force field now protecting my baby from his tickling fingers and I’m instantly transported back to when my boys were toddlers. “Mommies are safe!” was the battle cry of the day. The boys would snuggle into my arms, hide their faces, then slowly peek around to see where Daddy was lurking before waddling out of the room as fast as they could.
Mothers have an instinctual need to keep their young safe, even if it’s just to give them a break from a wrestling match or tickle time. Even animal parents demonstrate this inclination. Cheetahs move their babies every few days to remove any scent trails. Strawberry poison dart frog mothers will move their babies individually into separate waters so the tadpole siblings don’t eat each other, and the daddy frog pees on the babies to keep them from drying out.
Beyond protecting our kids (and hopefully not peeing on them), we have eighteen years to prove to them that we are their safe place. One thing I teach my kids is that no matter what they do or how badly they mess up, I will always love them. That no matter what they do, God will always love them.
The disappointment level dips but the love never does.
This message is verbally repeated to them when they’re in trouble, but beyond saying the words, I have to prove it’s true with my actions. I can’t hold a grudge if I’m upset with them and I can’t throw their mistakes in their faces.
God does the same for us. We sin on the daily, yet Jesus’s overwhelmingly beautiful love for us covers that sin. He doesn’t throw it in our face. Instead, He allows us to bear the consequences of our actions and then drops it and we move on.
What a gracious God we serve. What a safe place He is.
What a glorious God we serve. Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” God offers us safety and protection when we seek Him, the same way that when our kids need us, we kneel down and open our arms to them. The next time you feel afraid, weary, or frustrated, just remember that God calls us to Him and wraps us in His love so our spirits can find rest.