Climbing back in the highchair

I've read about regression after stressful life events, but I've never witnessed it so dramatically in my own children. Amelia has been climbing into the high chair and asking for a bottle or "so-yo" (cereal), stammering and making a lot of pre-verbal sounds instead of speaking to me, requesting to "lay in my arms" like a baby. Rosy is sucking her thumb, having nightmares, wetting the bed, cuddling much more than usual. Caleb is continuing to try and nurse on me, although it has been almost 6 weeks now since I weaned him - I foolishly thought he would have forgotten by now. Katy is fussing, in ways which she hasn't for years, and asking me to cuddle her while she falls asleep.

All this reminds me that this is the state we willfully put ourselves in, as children of God, in the long periods that we separate ourselves from Him by stubbornly choosing freedom of flesh over freedom in Christ. I am the regressed child, long stumbling through the desert of loneliness, huddling now in my Savior's arms. I am the newborn babe crying for milk, I am the toddler stumbling over words, I am the preschooler terrorized in the night, I am the child fussing for attention.

What amazes me about this analogy is the love Christ has welling over for me, the prodigal returned! As the mother of Caleb, Amy, Rosy, Katy, I delight to meet every need in these days of renewed exuberance over our relationship. I am so thrilled that they need me, that they recognize their need for me and beg for me, it matters little whether or not they are maturing, whether they are living at the potential I have seen in days past. What matters is that we are back together. My heart is filled with boundless joy because I have the chance to serve them again. I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge. (Ephesians 3:17-19) Parenthood has been a season of learning what it means to love unconditionally. I am learning daily, as I tend to my children, what it means to love someone, regardless of how they smell, look, feel, act, or what little they are doing for me. It is an exercise in being selfless, and I am blessed that God has given me this opportunity to glimpse the sufferings of Christ. And the beauty of the homecoming of His beloved children in His eyes. Even if we are serving Him daily, there is daily at least those momentary lapses that require repentance and restoration to fellowship. If we are not serving Him daily, there is an exuberant, desirous Father waiting at the threshold of our hearts, just begging to be ushered in for a joyful reunion like the one I am experiencing with my children! Yes, we will regress. And yes, our Father loves us in spite of, perhaps even because of, our little human weaknesses. For isn't it the very childish mispronunciations, and lisps, and regressions, that most endear our children to our tender hearts?