Fairly regularly, my eldest will call to me after I have put her to bed for the night.
When I ask her what she needs, she will say, “I just need you, Mommy. I just need you for a moment.”
I will crawl into bed with her, she will wrap a strand of my hair around her finger, and we will snuggle for just a moment.
My little ones need my touch. They need me to look into their eyes, they need to feel my skin touching theirs.
Why is this so necessary for them? Not just desired but truly needed.
Every mother knows this instinctively, that their babies need their touch, but it is also a documented subject of research studies. A 2009 Cochrane Reviewof studies found that infants who have their skin stroked regularly cry and fuss less than those who don’t. Science also has shown that skin-to-skin contact lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Funny how we need science to prove to us what we already know: that we need connection.
Why do we need this connection, both with others and with God?
One clue is in how we were created.
As God created everything in our world – light, sky, islands, dolphins, lions, sparrows – He spoke. Powerful, yet a bit impersonal.
When God created man? He breathed.
His face leaned in close to the dirt and His breath brought us into being.
That closeness is what we need, what we crave. That connection is what we were created to need.
God’s intention, though, was for us to always have what we needed, to always have a perfect connection to Him. In a garden, long ago, we threw it away.
So He once again gently leaned in close to us and became a soft, touchable baby. A baby that we could touch and hold and kiss.
A baby that would once again breathe on us and in that final breath on the cross, reconnect us to our Abba.
What will we do now that we once again have that perfect connection with God? Will we again throw it away, or will we cherish and nourish it?
Will we continue to seek to know God as intimately as He knows us so that our connection with Him can flourish? Will we lean in close to those we meet and breath grace on them so that they, too, can be connected?