Deep in conversation, they huddle over Legos in every shape, size, and color. I ask what they’re building. “A house boat!” he answers with pure enthusiasm.
It makes sense now. His orange and black speedboat has been transformed into a home. She’s the mom and he’s the dad, I gather. Adding a pink Lego, she leans back to admire her work. “I’m making it beautiful, Mom,” she tells me, beaming.
He says they need “shooters,” (for protection, I assume). He makes blasting sounds as he eyes up his imaginary target. Next, he snaps wings in place on either side. He is ready for adventure. She grabs clusters of flowers, a cat, two dogs, and a horse. “We can’t leave them behind,” she tells her brother.
What’s important to each is plain as day. He values adventure; she values beauty. She nurtures; he defends. She protects with her love, and he protects with his strength.
Moses’ blessing over the twelve tribes of Israel is found in Deuteronomy chapter 33. Benjamin was Jacob’s youngest son, Israel’s baby. This verse speaks so tenderly about the heart of God and has become my own security blanket.
About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV)
The shoulders, in one context, refer to the boundaries of the tribe of Benjamin. The temple, where the Lord would reside, was to be built within its borders. God was intentional about His dwelling place. It was constructed according to meticulous detail, right down to the stones etched with beautiful palms and flowers in full bloom. And now, because of Jesus, there’s a more permanent home between my two shoulders, right here in my heart. And there’s peace in knowing that God’s Presence is the only protection I need.
Strong shoulders bear heavy loads, and it’s God who protects me from hauling around my own burdens. Jesus carries what I can’t, and His strength shields me from the weight of my failure, my sin, and my weakness. God is strong and powerful, fully masculine. Yet God is also relational, compassionate, and every good thing we long for in a mother.
Another translation of Deuteronomy 33:12 furthers illustrates the heart of God. Instead of using the image of shoulders, it reads like this: “He protects him all the time, and the Lord places him on his chest.” (NET)
It was just five months ago that they placed my baby girl- hot pink mess of blessing- right on my chest just seconds after she was born. My whole body shook with joy when I saw her tiny frame and heard her scream with all her might. When I nursed her for the first time, I fell in love. I sang to her the way God sings over me.
My boy’s been singing this new song he learned at school. It’s sung to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me,” his favorite bedtime song. It’s simple and it’s sweet and it says a whole lot about the One who displays His love within the boundaries of family.
Mommy loves me this I know
For she always tells me so
She holds me when I’m scared or sad
She understands me when I’m mad
Yes, Mommy love me
Yes, Mommy loves me
Yes, Mommy loves me
She always tells me so
Both maternal and paternal, God is the perfect parent who nurtures and protects and understands. He binds beauty, adventure, mystery and strength together into this solid, steady cord of love that pulls us close to His heart. We are God’s beloved children, held safe and secure inside arms that will never let go.
Happy Mother’s Day!