Bedtime is my favorite time of day. Trevor and I have such a routine down that we could do it in our sleep (sometimes I think we actually do). Ainsley has a bath, she gets dressed and I feed her and snuggle her to sleep while Aidan has his bath. I put Ainsley to bed, and Daddy reads Aidan stories and it's his bedtime.
The only hitch is that sometimes I really miss putting Aidan to bed. Don't get me wrong; there's nothing that fills my heart with love more than seeing my big manly husband using a stuffed animal as a pillow curled up on the twin bed next to my (not so) tiny boy. But I miss those days that when it came time for sleep, only Mommy's lullabies would suffice.
He's getting so big so fast. When people warned me that he would grow so quickly they never gave me any solution to keep it from happening. As he gets older he picks up the subtle cues society throws in his direction and adjusts accordingly. I stopped singing to him at bedtime because as he ages he gets embarrassed easily.
Where did he learn to be ashamed? It made me think of a chapter I read in Jon Acuff's book, Stuff Christians Like. He told the story of his little girl feeling silly and he likened it to Genesis 3, where God asks Adam and Eve "Who told you that you were naked?" (Read the blog post from the link- it's awesome).
It breaks my heart that Aidan's freedom from shame has been tainted. So, to keep him from feeling silly, I stopped singing. Thankfully cuddles from Mommy are still on the list of approved activities. Tonight I sneaked in his room after Daddy tucked him in for the night. I hopped in his bed and snuggled with him while I told him how much I loved him. Today was a rough day for him and I wanted to encourage him and affirm to him that my love for him was unchanging.
We lay there for a while talking about Bible stories and whose birthdays are coming up (one of his favorite subjects) when he asked me to sing a song. I tried to hide my excitement as I asked him what song he wanted me to sing. He answered "the one about the boat." I started a rousing rendition of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. The most beautiful thing happened when I repeated the song. He joined in with me.
Unbidden tears slid down my cheek when he asked me to sing another song. And another. Together we joyfully sang all of his favorites: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jesus Loves Me, Father Abraham, The Lord's Army, Pharaoh Pharaoh, and My Redeemer Lives. I thought about how I used to skip verses to the songs so they would go faster and I could head to bed sooner. This time I drew them out as long as I could.
In that minute my little boy was my little boy again. He didn't have to be afraid of what anyone would think of him singing silly songs with his Mommy. He didn't have to worry about feeling ashamed. His heart was open, pure, and beautiful. I wasn't anxious to let the moment end.
I wonder if God sees us that way. Desperate to show us His father's heart, while we're afraid to admit that we need the arms of a father. Desperate to soothe our fears, to give us His peace. Desperate to let us know that His love for us is unchanging.
Put aside the shame.
Put aside the fear.
God will not reject you.
He will not condemn you.
He will not make you ashamed.
Open up your heart to the love of the Father.