Something about spending time with children softens my heart…

Riley’s visit yesterday morning was so special. Just the two of us, we were able to enjoy a beautiful Spring morning without any hurrying or specific purpose beyond simply enjoying our time together. We sang in the swing, read all his favorite books, danced and giggled and talked…of course we talked! He filled me in on all the latest with an update on the passy war he is having with “Mama,” his recent fall and resulting knee boo boo that occurred in his back yard, visits with Tecey and Bo. It was delightful!

After playing and snacking for a spell, I noticed his great big yawn and took him back to my rocker where I cradled him in my arms with a blankey and commenced to sing the old hymns that instantly come to mind when I settle there. As I sang, I was reminded of those long months I spent in anticipation of his birth. Looking back with him nestled in my arms it was as if I could see myself carrying him in love and prayer through that time before I ever saw his precious face or touched his soft, sweet baby skin. The bond was forming through a process to wondrous to articulate.

I well remember how I held onto the the hope of Christ for this child during those days. Considering the world he would come into, I had to place my trust in God’s power that has not diminished and to lay a foundation of prayer for this baby to land upon at the time of his birth. I sang “Jesus keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain, Free to all a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain!” I sang it over and over, again and again with hopes for this precious baby to one day know the truth of the gospel and to be a child of the King.

I never hear or sing that song without being reminded of my time becoming a grandmother and how I found strength in the words of the song. Last night we were singing it at church and the tears came as I considered how dreadful the cross was to me as a child. Such a horrid thing my Lord had suffered and it frightened me to think of it all those years ago. Somehow last night, for the first time I can remember, I pieced together how I had to believe in the absolute goodness of God, the unfathomable mercy and grace He has, or I never could have approached the cross. What love, what amazing and boundless love He demonstrated there and even as a young child I knew I could never deserve what was done for me, yet He loved me anyway. I think I had to become a mother to even glimpse an understanding of such great love.

The first time I held Riley in the hospital after he was born when we stole a few moments of quiet, alone time together, my heart moved me to whisper the words of the song, “Jesus keep me near the cross! There a precious fountain; Free to all a healing stream, Flowed from Calvary’s Mountain.”

On many long days that first year of Riley’s life, I was blessed beyond measure to be allowed to keep him while both his parents worked. On those days we visited my rocker where he heard again and again the words that had been my comfort the year before. I’ll share the verses below. May this bless you and remind you, too, that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The hope in Him will never perish or fade or weaken. He is able to save them that will believe…

Near the Cross

“Near the cross, a trembling soul, Love and mercy found me; There the bright and morning star, Sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross, O Lamb of God, Bring the scenes before me; Help me walk from day to day, With its shadows o’er me.
Near the cross, I’ll watch and wait, Helping, trusting ever; Till I reach the golden strand, Just beyond the river.”

chorus: “In the cross, in the cross, Be my glory ever; Till my raptured soul shall find, Rest beyond the river.”

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