One night nearly two years ago, I rocked my one-year-old nephew to sleep and cried. I looked around his beautiful room, feeling the smooth motion of the glider where I sat, taking in the bars of the crib, the changing table, the adorable wall hangings, and letting the fluffy carpet work its way between my toes. And I thought to myself: my babies will never have this.
Though newly married and not looking to have kids anytime too soon, I knew then I had chosen a life that would lead to a totally different child-rearing experience. And I grieved over this.
But the Lord spoke to me soon after that sad night. He spoke this phrase from Philippians 2:6 – that Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…” This shook me. “Something to be grasped” does not say anything about good or bad, rightness or wrongness. Just not worth grasping. Jesus was equal with God. Was this good? Yes! Right? Yes! Yet He knew it was not worth holding onto, and he let it go.
So since that time I have been doing this. Finding new things I am “missing” that really are not worth grasping at all. The adorable comfy-cozy baby room was the first of these. There have been many more. Several popped up their heads during my pregnancy. “Just wait,” both my mother and sister foretold, “you’ll be sleeping on the couch before long! We all do!” I laughed it off, saying surely I would be able to manage to sleep in my bed through the whole 9 months, but inwardly pouting, “I don’t have a couch!!!” But the Lord was quick to remind me. Couches? Lovely. But not worth grasping.
Same goes for bathtubs, Target, and dishwashers. Also clothes dryers and reliable electricity. But it holds true for much deeper desires as well. Like nearness to family. Being able to walk through pregnancy and loss together with loved ones. Attending funerals of friends. Watching nieces and nephews grow up in person. Giving our baby grandmothers, aunties, uncles, and cousins “in the flesh”, not just on Skype.
On a regular basis, I review this lesson from Jesus. I have to. And do you know what I find? Those things that are not “something to be grasped”… really are not something to be grasped! My adorable baby is lacking nothing! He takes his bath in a plastic tub and splashes on our concrete floors to his heart’s content. His travel bed is as homey to him as any traditional crib. Where carpet is lacking, we always have a few extra thin mattresses to lay out. Adorable wall hangings can be found anywhere, and anyway, do I really care? No… I have yet to hang a kids decoration. I admit, a rocking chair would be nice, but I’ve managed to nurse my infant in a variety of places and it works just fine.
Best of all, I’ve discovered that the hardest things to give up are the things Jesus keeps giving back. Did you know it’s possible to have a growing relationship with your family through video calls? Thank God for the internet! I feel as close to my three-year-old nephew through Skype as I ever could in person. He loves us – we love him! And even some of the smaller “luxuries” I’ve laid down come back to me occasionally – like a bathtub during our stay in Germany.
So here is my thanks to Jesus, who set the example in a way I know I could never perfectly follow. He willingly laid down everything he could in order to bring us to the Father. When I lay down a few things here and there, I am mirroring him in the smallest way, if I do it with thankfulness.
Thank you, Jesus. For you I will lay down whatever you show me is not “something to be grasped.”