It’s 4.45 in the morning. I’m already up. My sleep patterns are shot to pieces. I get a text from upstairs; the little one is awake and not going back to sleep. That’s not unusual. He is what we affectionately call our latest “drugs baby.” No one response works more than a couple of times, so I have to quickly decide what to do.
Fifteen minutes later and he is asleep in my arms and I am sat in my IKEA rocking chair. I am frustrated: I can’t reach my once hot, now lukewarm coffee; I can’t reach my iPad; I can’t reach my book; I can’t even reach the TV controls – bad planning.
I intermittently hum and “shh” the little one, while gently rocking in my chair. The very slight creak warns me I need to tighten the bolt, top left hand side, but for now it is part of the symphony. He then adds the gentle snoring sound to the rhythm that starts to emerge. And as I sit there, Papa emerges in the darkness. I sense he strokes the little one’s hair and then squeezes my shoulder. And then I get it. The power of rhythm.
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
And as I continue the rhythm that soothes the little one, offering him safety, security and love, the words of Yeshua the Christ come to mind. I love that phrase “the unforced rhythms of grace,” and on this morning, in the darkness, I discover the power of them all over again.
You will find rhythm wherever you go – the sea washing up on the shore, the gentle breeze rustling the leaves on the trees, the drone of the plane or the car. Little ones love the white noise of the washing machine or the hoover – there is a built-in rhythm that soothes their fractious hearts.
In the next forty-five minutes I enjoyed the stillness and the gentle rhythm along with the quiet joy of loving this little one back to life. But more than that, I enjoyed listening to the heartbeat and the gentle breathing in and out of my God, who knows me better than I know myself, and who knows that I flourish and live and love when I am living in the unforced rhythms of his grace.
It is part of the The Great Adventure that I find myself facing, a journey of discovering the vastness of my God’s heart and the endless oceans of his love for me. It is not what I expected; no, it is much better than that and learning to rest and settle into the rhythms that he provides for me is part of keeping myself mentally and emotionally safe while at the same time giving me more than enough to share with the next one.