Hold-a my hand, Mommy.
We sit at the lunch table. Her chubby fingers reach out. All I see is unnaturally orange mac and cheese. A mess ready to spread from one person to another.
My detrimentally practical side spoke first. The side of me that would ask Jesus to stop teaching long enough to eat my gluten free vegetarian meal. No sweetie. Look at your hands. Not until we clean up.
A holy voice questioned Is that really most important to you? Avoiding a cheese mess at the price of holding her hand? What does that teach her about her Father? Clean up first. Scrub off that sin. Then I'll love. Then you can enter my presence.
Seeking to undo damage I'm so sorry Baby. Please, can we hold hands right now?
Her sticky fingers wrap around mine, squeezing cheese and pasta glue into cracked skin. She looks in my eyes. I like you, Mommy. So quiet I might have missed it.
I like you, too Baby.
We hold hands, and I sing silently:
Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall.
If you tarry til you're better, you will never come at all.
So many years spent cleaning up so I could present my hand to God. Read my Bible or God will never let me feel close again. Tithe or never find a husband. Attend church or flunk organic chemistry. The idol of religion. A god who exacted payment in the form of Christian behavior, waiting to strike with acne and break ups if I didn't perform. Not the God of grace. Not the God who is love. Not the God of the Bible.
The grace God, true God reintroduced himself as soon as I realized I couldn't live up to my religion god. The throne cleared. The idol booted for the King. The true king didn't demand that I put everything right before coming. Let me do the job only I can do.
So I sing:
Come ye sinners, poor and needy, weak and wounded, sick and sore.
Jesus ready stands to save you, full of pity, love and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus. He will embrace me in his arms.
In the arms of my dear savior, oh, there are ten thousand charms.