Throughout our adoption trainings (and there were A LOT of trainings!), we were told about establishing the practice of "time in," the opposite of "time out" that most children receive as a form of discipline. During a "time in" the parent holds the child close during the time of discipline as an act of nurturing versus sending the child away to be alone. I have to admit when we first learned about this, I thought it seemed strange and wasn't sure how it could help or work. But the more I thought about the reason for doing a "time in" with a child that hasn't received proper nurturing due to living in an orphanage, the more it made sense.
Well this week, I got to do a "time in" with Jenna and now I can see the beauty of it.
Jenna is very much a typical two-year-old. She knows what she likes. She knows what she doesn't like. And this week, she is enjoying playing with her new brothers and sister SO MUCH that she did NOT want to take a nap one afternoon in particular. She began to cry, kick, and writhe about in my arms as I carried her up the stairs, away from her beloved new playmates and toys.
The crying, kicking, and writhing continued as I laid her in her new ladybug bed. I have been laying with Jenna at naptime and bedtime until she falls asleep, which is encouraged by our adoption agency to help develop trust with your child. So I crawled into the bed with my little peanut and sure enough, she continued to fight me...but I pressed in and held her close. She didn't like it at first, but within a few minutes, the crying and kicking stopped. I continued to hold her close and realized for the first time the gift of a "time in."
Jenna needed me to hold her and let her know through my nurturing touch that everything was okay and that I'm not going anywhere despite her "tantrum."
And then it dawned on me...God does the same for me! He loves me even at my worst. He desires to hold me close when I'm kicking, screaming, and writhing about like a little two-year-old who doesn't want to take a nap. He wants me to crawl into His lap and hold me with His loving arms. He is the perfect Father and yearns for me to have a "time in" with Him. He loves me with an everlasting love and draws me to Himself with unfailing kindness.
Thank you, Father, for already teaching me more about Your love through my new daughter, Jenna. AMEN.