The best hiding place

As soon as she learnt to walk, my younger daughter learnt to hide.

Blink and you’d miss her.

We’ve spent many a panicked moment in the park, the supermarket, museums. We’ve had most of a wedding party looking for her. She’s been found up trees, lying on supermarket shelves, inside laundry baskets, and wardrobes. She thinks it’s hilarious and still now at 5, she’ll jump out with a ‘Boo’ and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Unless of course, she’s hiding to avoid doing something she’s been asked or avoid being told off. As I was putting her to bed the other night she noticed I’d spotted the her Pooh Bear teddy sporting some new eyelashes lovingly added with permanent black marker pen, and the equally permanent doodles over her desk, bed, and yes the wall. Already in bed and with nowhere to run and hide, she immediately pulled her duvet up over her head.

Usually she hides from me playing or avoiding an inevitable telling off. But recently, there have been some precious moments of coming to me to hide, of seeking me as her hiding place. Playing chase with her older sister, she’ll run towards me, screaming ‘Mummy’s base’ and hide under my jumper or cling on and hide behind my legs. ‘You can’t get me’. Hiding for safety, hiding in relief and confidence.

And that is where our very lives are placed, in hidden protected, safe refuge in God:

Your life is hidden with Christ in God

Colossians 3:3

You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with shouts of deliverance

Psalm 32:7
A dear friend pointed me to these verses this week. God is our hiding place. No longer, like Adam and Eve do we need hide away from him, in shame filled guilt ridden, rebellious alienation away from Him fearing the inevitable punishment. In Christ, he has brought us near, so near that He himself as become our very hiding place, the very place of our heart’s refuge. Safe, protected, in Christ no longer facing punishment but receiving grace and mercy, no longer alienated but children safe and hidden in our Father’s abiding presence.
God himself as your hiding place. As you shelter, grasp him, take refuge in Him, as you hide and entrust your deepest desires and fears to His protective refuge, as you feel the surrounding threats of doubt, fear, surrounding problems and pains closing in, then know his surrounding you, guarding you safe, keeping you hidden from attacks that threaten, as he surrounds you with shouts of deliverance.

When doubts creep in, hear him shout out ‘Nothing can separate from my love’

When guilt threatens, his cry :’There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus’

As persecution closes in, God declaring ‘I am working all things for the good of those who love me.’

As your faith feels a failure and falters, He surrounds you declaring, ‘A bruised reed I will not break, and a smoldering wick I will not quench.’

Faced with your failure in the battle against sin, his battle cry of ‘It is by grace you have been saved… it is my gift’

While your fear for others tempts you to break free from your hiding place and solve and save on your agenda, hear His deliverance cry declaring, ‘I am the Lord and there is no other.’

As the darkness and despair begins to cast shadows creeping ever nearer to your hiding place, hear your Saviour declare, ‘I am the light of the world’

My children may run intermittently to me, seeking me as their safe hiding place, but we have an abiding hiding place. Brought near by Jesus, brought so close to our heavenly Father that he declares himself our very hiding place. Held and hidden in Him.

Never called or asked to leave him to face the enemies surrounding, never called to go out and face the falleness of this world or the devil’s schemes by ourselves.

We only ever battle hidden with Christ in God, with His shouts of deliverance surrounding us as we wage the good warfare against sin, the world and the devil. 

Only and always hidden with Christ in God.

Our hiding place until the day He brings us safely home. Where no doubt, despair, darkness or enemy will enter. When God’s shouts of deliverance we have heard all our earthly days will become our face-to-face worship of our Deliverer.

Childish Ways

I wonder how many times you’ve heard or said these words:

‘Appreciate your time with your children now. It goes so quickly.’

How those words can encourage and bless on the good days where time flies!

How those words can inflict guilt and breed resentment on the bad when time seems to stand still!

How often are those words heard or spoken now to struggling parents living without the usual socialising, support and of course school?

For all the moments in the newborn days those words just raised my anxiety and fear and increased my guilt that there was far more arduous survival than appreciation about my parenting, I can see the truth and the value in those words. For underlying them is the good assumption that we raise our children for independence, that as they grow, they do so increasingly away from us, from attachment to autonomy.

To transition ourselves as parents from enacters to equippers, from acting on their behalf to advocating for them in their own endeavours. To see our children, flourish, grow, take responsibility, create and achieve without our intervention. Our role as parents is one of seeing our children wonderfully, courageously become increasingly less dependent on us. A calling that under ‘normal circumstances’ comes with cost to our desire to cling on, to keep close, to maintain control and protection……. a calling that in the midst of relentless lockdown life and homeschooling feels in danger of regressing.

Muuuuuuummmmmyyyyy. Where is my colouring book, shoes, where’s Chestnut (the guinea pig), where’s my pencil case, my hairbrush, Snowy (the other guinea pig)?

Mummy, I need a carry

Daddy, how do I do this?

Daddy, tell me about Ancient Rome.

What is the most dangerous animal in the world?

How do you spell Nebuchadnezzar?

What’s 42-8?

Ohhhhhhh I can’t do this.

Mummy, I need you.

Daddy, can you help me?

Relentless need

Relentless demand

Relentless expectation

And yet, in the relentless need, there is a beautiful truth and child-like spirit to learn from. For while the incessant noise of our children’s appeals and demands, may resound like whinging and exhausting expectation in mine and my husband’s ears, there is a plead to a mother, to a father that rings out as worship, wonder and faith before their Heavenly Father.

Unashamed, bold, expectant, child like dependence.

Unashamedly coming to a Father with expectation of receiving.

Unashamedly acknowledging a need.

Bold confidence in the Father’s power to provide.

Utter awareness of one’s dependence on the Father.

No attempt to hide their need and helplessness.

Crying, screaming out in need and helplessness.

Delighting in the infinite knowledge of the Father.

Seeking comfort with expectation.

Pleading of the Father’s mercy with arms outstretched, confident in love within the Father’s heart always inclined to forgive, to welcome, to restore.

We long for our children to grow in confident independence from us, but only so they might grow into increasingly child-like dependence on their Heavenly Father.

As they spend less time in our arms, to rest in His.

As they walk more often without holding on to our hands, to cling and grasp their Heavenly Father’s ever more tightly with each grace dependent and Spirit led step.

As they grow less reliant on their parents’ riches and support, to become increasingly poor in spirit, living in child-like poverty, empty and needy before their Heavenly Father and his abundant grace and mercy.

As they take fewer looks to check Mum and Dad are nearby, to grow in child-like need of assurance, confidence, boldness and joy in the presence of their Heavenly Father.

This is a relentless season for parents. Through our children’s incessant, crying needs may we come in likewise child-like confidence to our Heavenly Father, who receives the cries of his children with joy, love, and a perfect, eternal delight to soothe and satisfy.