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Held in Love

My daughter, Zoe, and I go to the library once a week. We love it there! Zoe enjoys being cooed over by all the staff as we walk in. She gives them her royal wave as though they are all there just for her. (With COVID restrictions in the UK it is actually all for her as no-one else is in there!) She gets to go in a lift which is nothing short of magical for her and once we are in the kids section I get her out of the buggy and she crawls around squealing with delight at all the books. Then she starts to pull them off the shelves and crawl off with them faster than I can tidy up behind her. She loves the library. 

Recently on a visit to the library we had a lovely conversation with a young librarian (that story is a testimony in itself!). She shared quite a lot with me about the last 18 months and how hard it had been for her. She also told me about a book she had read when her little boy was a similar age to Zoe. She had been very moved by this book and wanted to share it with me. I borrowed the book with all the other stories Zoe chose, and read it when we got home.  

The book is called ‘Held in Love’ by Dawn Casey*. It is a lovely book…all about a mother’s blessing that she speaks over her child. The words are beautiful:

“May your feet skip and leap.
May your hands work and play, give and receive.
May your ears listen, and hear the singing…and the silence.
May your lips smile.
May your belly laugh.
And when tears flow, may peace follow.
And may your eyes look to the stars and know…
that you are held in the arms of the universe, 
held in love.”

When I first read it I could feel the emotion of the words as I imagined speaking those words over Zoe. I would love to instil into my children the need to listen as well as hear, and that there is a lot to be heard in silence. To teach Zoe that when tears flow it is really imprint because peace can follow. I could feel this blessing building to something wonderful, and then as I read the last line about being ‘held in the arms of the universe’ my shoulders dropped. I could feel all the weight and emotion of the words drain away. 

We aren’t ‘held in the arms of the universe’!!! We aren’t supported by the nothingness of space (more than 80% of the observable universe is nothing…not even air, just nothing!). Don’t get me wrong the universe is pretty impressive!! And I would be among the first to say being out in nature and seeing the wonders of Gods creation is marvellous! But we aren’t held in the ‘arms of nature of the universe’. We are held in the arms of the one who MADE the universe. We are cradled in the hands that flung stars into space. We are supported by the one who taught birds to sing but also to be silent. We are scooped up by the one who gives peace that passes all understanding. We are held in love but not some vague universal love that encompasses all the nuances of 21st century western culture. The bible tells us God is Love. Not God made love, not God feels love, not even God loves x,y,z. God IS love. 

Armed with that knowledge what are you going to do!? What part of this blessing are you going to take away and think/pray about? Maybe you are listening to all the noise around you but you need to instead be listening to the silence. Maybe your hands have given a lot and worked hard and now you need to rest and receive. Maybe you have received lots and now need to give out. Maybe you are in a place of flowing tears and now you need the peace that follows? If that is you please do get in touch. We would love to pray with and for you. Maybe you just need to know you are held, gently but firmly, lovingly and compassionately held!

What am I going to do? I’m going to go to the library with Zoe this week! I’m praying God will cross my path with the young librarian again so I can tell her how much I enjoyed the book and how lovely it was. I also want to share with her that she is held in the arms of one infinitely bigger, more powerful and more loving than the universe! She is held in the arms of God, the arms of Jesus who died for her and that she can be the arms of the Holy Spirit sharing that with her little boy and all she meets. Please join me in praying for her, that I would have the words to say and that she would have the ears to hear and the heart to receive. 

*Held in Love, Dawn Casey, Lincoln Children’s Books (7 Feb. 2019)

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner and Prayer Coordinator for the Inspire Movement. 

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