Bob came home from Alabama last night bearing gifts. He had spent the week caring for our grandchildren Benjamin, Joshua and Hannah while their parents were in the Ukraine still working on the adoptions of Oleg and Anastasia. The whole process has taken far longer than expected and Julie had come home to spend a week with the three in the States before she had to fly back for Oleg’s court date. David then came home for about ten days so that he could go back to work and save up some of his leave days for the completion of Oleg’s adoption. There was a gap in between their comings and goings when someone needed to be there for the kids, and Grandpa stepped up to the plate. He did a mighty fine job, too, by all accounts!
Anyway, back to the gifts… Julie had brought back Mother’s Day gifts from the Ukraine for her grandma and me, and souvenirs for Robbie and her sister Laurie’s family and sent them home with Bob. We eagerly dug into the bags of goodies knowing that whatever was inside would be unique and different than any gifts we had ever received before.
We were right. Grammy and I each received beautifully woven silk tablecloths –gorgeous for display but too delicate to eat on. Robbie got a handpainted wooden Ukrainian doll with a jingle chime inside. Laurie’s family got Ukrainian chocolates, little wooden doll ornaments and wooden doll pens. And we each got a set of the traditional Ukrainian nesting dolls. You know whatI’m talking about—the five or six beautifully painted wooden dolls that fit one inside the other. (I looked for a picture that was similar to the set I got but I couldn’t even come close to the beauty and uniquely interesting family of dolls that Julie gave me, but this will give you an idea.)
I sat down this morning to look at them more closely. They are a perfect little family—papa, mama, boy, girl and baby. Papa is playing a bandura—a Ukrainian type of guitar that looks more like a mandolin. Mama is holding a basket of peaches and the children are holding different pieces of fruit as well. The workmanship on them is exquisite. What intrigued Matthew and Mandy most today, though, was their nesting. Over and over they took them apart and put them back together again.
They really are a perfect little family, I whimsically thought to myself as I watched the children play. They dwell together so closely unified that they know the very hearts of one another! Papa takes care of them all and they are safe and secure in their little family unit. How wonderful it would be if all families were as close as these little wooden nesting dolls!
My thoughts moved on to our relationship with our Heavenly Father—how very loved we are; how safe and secure. I remembered what Jesus said in John 10:27-30, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” Picture this—we are cradled in the Father’s hand. We are covered by the hand of Jesus. He and the Father are One and so we are safely contained, protected from all harm for eternity.
He has loved us with an everlasting love as well (Jeremiah 31:3) and tells us in Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The nesting dolls made me think of being so close to the heart of God, and so secure in His loving care. I looked up the words nested and nestled in my thesaurus this morning. Nested—cradled, incubated. Nestled—cuddled, snuggled, settled down, sheltered, snug, close to, huddled against, curled up to. Those words conjure up thoughts of comfort and peace, and most of all, freedom from worry. How can I fret when I am nestled in His love? How can I be afraid of the future and what it brings when I am cradled and covered by His hands?
Matthew 6:25-27 says, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
Nestled in His loving hands—it’s the safest place on earth to be!