"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."  
Isaiah 49:15-16

I always wanted to get a tattoo.  I didn't do it and probably won't at this point in my life, but I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a part of me that wanted one.  For a few years, I tortured my parents with the idea of this, although considering what I wanted, they could have had it worse.  I wanted a daisy.  On my big toe.  Doesn't that sound cute??  I thought it sounded really cute, until a tattoo artist told me that I picked an incredibly painful spot for some ink.  Apparently, there isn't much "meat" or flesh on your big toe.  Who knew??  Needless to say, the idea of extreme (and unnecessary) pain was enough to derail my plans.  I didn't get my daisy tattoo and honestly, I haven't lost any sleep over it! 

But that's not the point of where I'm going with the post.  

It fascinates me to see what people choose to engrave on their skin, permanently.  Or not.  It's equally as amazing to know that should you indeed break up with the one whose name is inked across your bicep, you can actually get that removed.  Or altered.  For a price, but still, removed.  Hmmm, parents around the world should breathe a big sigh of relief over that advancement in technology!  

Again, I digress.  

I suppose because I'm nursing a baby or maybe because I'm tender to the subject, but as I read those verses from Isaiah today, I sat in my living room, amazed at the permanency with which my Lord loves me.  It's easy for me to identify with the intensity of the bond between a mother and her nursing infant.  My entire day right now, revolves around Carter and his needs.  If I'm not feeding him, then I'm getting ready to or I'm watching the clock until it's time.  I am fiercely protective of my little helpless babe and my mama-bear instincts are in hyper mode right now.  There is just something about a newborn that keeps his Mother never more than a few seconds from his defense.  My own eating, sleeping, waking and playing are pushed aside for the needs of my baby.  And yet...

Because I am human, and extremely tired, it is possible to sleep through a feeding or mis-judge a cry.  It's possible to get distracted by something immediate or lose focus of who needs me and why.  It's even possible for my selfish nature take over and resent the fact that my own needs are not being met.  

But that's just me.  And to the glory of God, thankfully, that's not Him.  Even as strongly as a nursing mother cares for her child, He cares more.  He remembers always.  And He never forgets.  In fact, He holds his children so closely in His hands that they are engraved in has palm.  Tattooed on his flesh. 

I find great comfort in that for many reasons, but today it especially ministered to me.  Over Thanksgiving we were able to reconnect with some of my extended family that we hadn't seen for years.  It was good and sort of awkward and very unexpected.  But mostly good.  One of those reunions in particular was especially difficult for me.  Difficult because for years, someone whom I loved and knew very well, essentially fell off the face of the earth and had no contact with us.  And it hurt.  Deeply.  Mostly because after 23 years, it was as if they just forgot about us.  About me.  I couldn't understand it, didn't understand it and still don't know what to think of it.  But, because life is short and grudges aren't worth their weight, an opportunity presented itself and we took it.  And it was bittersweet.  Good to see them again and yet, full of emotion that comes from being hurt.  In an instant, a lifetime of memories came flooding back and we were able to catch up.  It's not perfect and there is an undeniable gap of time that has passed, taking with it some of the most significant milestones in my life.  

As I thought about the sadness of that broken relationship, I could not get past the promise of knowing that no matter what our lives hold or the choices we make, we have a Heavenly Father who holds us tightly in his grip.  He cannot forget his children and He has no needs, only ours.  He has tattooed me on those nail-pierced hands and there is nothing regarding my life that He has missed.  

I'm not sure what the holidays are like for you, but for most families they aren't perfect.  There are people we love and some we struggle to tolerate.  Some of us are blessed with families and memories that are dear, but not always.  There are opportunities missed and relationships that seem beyond repair.  Generations of grudges may abound, but we each have the opportunity to be a cycle-breaker in our own way.  I hope it's as comforting to you as it is to me, to know that no matter what your holiday season brings, you can rest in knowing that there is One who will be the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He will keep His word and He won't let years go by without outrageous attempts to win you back.  

I love this time of year and I'm incredibly grateful for the many blessings in my life.  I can't wait to experience Christmas with 2 babies this year, the emotion of that is sweet and overwhelming.  But I want to be sensitive to the many who struggle through December and whose hearts are full of more than joy.  You are not forgotten.

Not by me...

But especially not by Him.  

Take comfort in knowing that today.  There is someone who carries your name, tattooed on his palm...He knows everything about you and loves you just the same.  Invite Him to carry more than just your name.  Let Him carry your hurts and your expectations and your pain.  Don't let another December go by with wasted time and unresolved hurts.  Forgive.  Reach out.  Make amends.
Life is short.
And He can redeem anything and anyone.  

As I type this today, I'm thinking of you and praying for your December and for mine.
It can be the most wonderful time of the year...If we let it be.
After all, it's not about the presents or the traditions or the snow.
And it's not even about us.

It's about Him.  
It's about hope being born in a hopeless situation.  
So if you need a gentle reminder or a little nudge this year,  than consider this your love tap from a girl who needed one too.  Love well this Christmas.
  Not because we have the strength to, but because He does.  

Ready or not, Happy December!


Mary said...

Beautiful post! Loved reading it and leaving feeling encouraged! Thank you!

Kaycee said...

What a wonderful post, thanks for this.

Toni :O) said...

Great post and I LOVE the pics of Carter that you added to your blog design!So adorable! Have a great weekend!

Peggy & Ron said...

Amen, my sweet "daughter-in-law".