Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 16

I've always been a self-described "Touch Me Not". That sounds harsh and most people don't realize it as I strive to be less awkward when people reach out to me. But inside I feel it in most social situations. It stems from some things in childhood and young adulthood and at times it still affects me as a wife and mom. Are there any other "Touch Me Nots" out there? Surely I can't be the only one.

As I've practiced this over the recent years I've found that it can become second nature. I've worked really hard in this area with my children. As a mom it's fairly natural to grab up my kids and hug and kiss them. I do that a lot. But other days, when the busyness of life creeps in (an attack of the enemy), I literally have to remind myself how much physical love and attention they need.I want them to feel safe and secure and loved and with children touch is paramount. And I don't want them to grow up as "Touch Me Nots" but I also don't want them to grow up seeking physical touch in inappropriate settings and relationships. So I practice when I find myself separating from those around me. Don't we all have areas in our lives that we have to practice being better at? This is one of mine. My hope is that eventually it will be second nature.

I remember a few years ago being quite upset about something and a friend unexpectedly stopped by. We talked at length and I remember her saying, "I think you need a hug." And without even thinking twice or tempering my words I said, "No I really don't." I disagree with that now. Touch is necessary. It's healing in all facets of my life - mentally, spiritually and emotionally as well as physically.

Did you know that our skin is our body's largest organ. While our other senses are located in specific parts of the body, our sense of touch is all over. Touch literally connects us with the external world. I believe that touch is crucial to our human experience. It's why with my kids it's become fairly second nature. It's necessary. It's healing. It's connecting. It's intimate.

But to a "Touch Me Not" it's terrifying. I think most of us self-diagnosed "Touch Me Nots" desire touch but the literal idea becomes too much. It's overwhelming. It feels so very out of control. But when I relax and give in to it - it's healing. I want that continued healing.

I also think that physical touch brings me closer to God. If I have these "touch me not" walls on the outside - could I have similar walls prohibiting me from fully experiencing God's love?

This is where my thoughts becomes more abstract. For a person who is fairly black and white, this can be a struggle. So why is it a struggle? As I think this through I think it has to do with how I view relationships. So in my effort to re-define how I view relationships, I decide that the best relationships are mutual. They are open and full of intimacy, sharing and respect. Relationships in general mean really knowing someone intimately - physical touch is apart of that intimacy.

My relationship God should be similar to those with my loved ones. I want to be as passionate with God as I am with my children. More so. I want it to be intimate and in order for it to be intimate somehow physical touch must be brought in. But here again is where it becomes abstract - how can I physically touch God?

For me solitude is bringing me face to face with God. It's been mere glimpses so far but I know He's here in a physical sense. One day I literally hit the floor in reverence as I felt God's presence flood the room. Then this past Monday when I was driving home on a 2 1/2 hour drive, I literally felt the presence of God with me and His spirit comforting me and giving me peace.

I FELT HIM! Yet I didn't literally see Him. But it couldn't have been more real. So I am completely convinced that there is a huge correlation between what we experience physically and spiritually.

Here are just a few scriptures that touch on this idea:

"I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you" (Isaiah 41:13).

God promised to “lift up” his people and “carry” them (Psalm 27:5; Isaiah 46:4).

Perhaps the most appropriate metaphor is God’s promise to transcend even a mother’s love: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

Then there are images of God carrying, nursing, and playing with His children(Isaiah 66:12).

Therefore it's possible. Just "different" than what my black and white mind can understand. But I do not have to understand to feel.

I don't want to be a "Touch Me Not". Therefore I am committed to continually work on this. As I said previously, I do fairly well with my kids and am working on that with my husband. Eventually I'll branch out from there and hopefully find balance and wholeness.

Today's Reflection:
Raina, my four year old, has been sick the last two days with H1N1. Anyone who knows my youngest daughter knows she is seldom still. Yet she's amazingly lovable. She gives the most AWESOME drive-by kisses and hugs. And then takes back off to play and explore. She's literally been known to run inside from jumping on the trampoline and say mommy kiss. We kiss and hug and she takes off. But while being sick she's needed constant touch. And I mean constant. I've realized it's just as healing to her as my prayers and the medicine prescribed for her. God is using all three holistically to heal her.

Today I laid down with her for a nap. My goal was to lull her to sleep and eventually get up. We laid under the covers and I held her in my arms. She sucked on the fingers of her left hand and with her right hand she played with my ear. I have to admit at times this annoys me but today I realized how endearing it was. How connected we were. As her usual she wouldn't wear clothes to bed so she was laying right beside me in her undies and she wanted my shirt off. So I laid there beside her skin to skin. I felt her breath on my face, her sweet and tender touch and could literally feel her heart beat against mine. It was beautiful. It quietened my mind and my soul. I thanked God for this beautiful moment. I felt peaceful and at rest and without realizing it I fell asleep and didn't wake for 2 hours. It is so not my norm to rest and nap. Yet her I was resting in God's presence while my precious child was wrapped in my arms. We both were at rest.

God I long to continue to feel this connection with you. There glimpses of you I feel and see at work in my life sustain me. I know you love me even more than I can imagine. More than the love I feel for this beautiful sweet girl. As I lay there with her today, I realized you were at work even then. I felt Your presence - Your Touch - and it lulled me to rest as I lulled my sweet baby to rest.

Your Touch - What a beautiful gift.

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