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My two year old spends most of his days trying to cling to me like his entire life depends on it. It doesn't matter if I am homeschooling his siblings, unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, or taking a nap. His only objective is to be close to me. This often brings me mixed feelings. One part of me cherishes his desire to be in my arms or to give my cheek sloppy, wet kisses. The other part of me just wants to escape the thirty pound trap cementing my leg to the floor. Can't he see how busy and exhausted I am? 

I know this won't last forever. In fact my other three passed through this stage far too quickly in hindsight, so I try to enjoy it. Sometimes, I stop the never-ending chores to cuddle with him before he doesn't fit in my arms any longer. I ruffle his floppy blonde hair as I try to walk across the kitchen like we're in a three-legged race. I spend a few extra minutes savoring the feeling of his tiny hand in mine as we walk across a parking lot. 

On especially clingy days, I'm so grateful that God understands. In fact, the authors of the Old Testament often use "motherly" terms to describe God's love for his people. A couple examples:

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the hand,
but they never knew that I healed them.  I led them with human cords, with ropes of love.
To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws;
I bent down to give them food. 
Hosea 11:3-4

As a mother comforts her son,
so I will comfort you,
and you will be comforted in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 66:13

God interacts with his children with faithfulness, steadiness, and constant availability. Many of my interactions with my children are based on moodiness, exasperation, and human limits. Even on my most "motherly" and loving days, I am just an imperfect image of the perfect parent. 

My mommy limits have been teaching me two beautiful truths lately. First of all, I am happy for my toddler to cling to me and long to meet his needs as much as I am able, but I am not his perfect savior. My role as my children grow is to urge them to cling to someone far more dependable than me. I will fail them. I will not always offer the wisest advice. I will lose my temper and push them away. They need someone greater than me to depend on. My prayer is that they will learn early on the value of seeking the presence of God to fulfill their need for love and comfort whether I'm available or not. 

Secondly, I must cling to Him. Psalm 63:8 says, "I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." It is such an incredible image to me. As my fussy son is desperately clinging to me, I can be clinging to Christ. As my teen and I struggle to understand one another, I can turn to Jesus who understands both of us perfectly. As I fail to reflect God's kindness and gentleness in my home, He continues to pursue my heart with a perfect, focused love. As I parent, I am being parented. As I comfort, I am comforted. As I give, I receive abundantly more than I can imagine. 

He will hold me fast.