Lessons From My Little Girl: Grace and Shirt Sleeves

My little girl is now 6 weeks old. I’ll be honest, looking back on the hazy, sleep-deprived adventure that is the first 42 days of Ella’s beautiful life, I don’t know how time has gone so quickly.

Every day is a new adventure. A new lesson. A new gift from my bright-eyed girl.

Ella’s sleeping pattern is as consistent as any given politician’s campaign promises; it depends on the night.

There are times when she sleeps most of the night (for which we are deeply grateful!). But, there are also nights when Ella turns nocturnal, and decides to share her new sleeping habits with us. Elizabeth, being the food source, takes the brunt of this hit.

One thing I love about my girl is her dedication to whatever her need is in that particular moment. Some babies work their way to a full cry. Not my Ella. As my brother-in-law says, Ella goes 0-60 in 5 seconds. She goes from beautiful smile to bright red and crying in 3 seconds.

She’s committed to explaining her feelings with the world.

When Ella hits full throttle, I am usually doing my best to do whatever I can to soothe her cries; Often times stubbing my toe  on the nearest inanimate object along the way.

Soon, Ella finally gets what she desperately wants and needs…


It’s a funny thing. When Ella gets impatient, she waves her arms frantically. Pushing away Daddy, or Mommy (usually Daddy…I lack the plumbing that she is looking for) she will usually fight against the one person who wants to give her the nourishment she desperately is crying for. She sucks her hand, or her shirt sleeve, the closest shirt or forearm (which is pretty funny to see). When we try to feed her, we often times have to go about different ways to calm her down in order for her to be calm enough to eat.

As her father- the one who want to take care of her- I desperately want to give her the food that will allow her to grow healthy and strong. She doesn’t need to fight me for the thing she wants. I want what she wants, and I will give it to her.

Though, in her short-sightedness, she knows only her hunger, and nothing else. She knows her tummy is craving relief.  So she fights.

She fights the giver.

As I watched this small battle take place the other day, I began to realize how often I am Ella.

Something is not right in my life, and I know it. I know it deep inside me; though often times I cannot put words to what I feel. I know I need help, or healing. I know that what I need cannot come from me. It must come from “The Giver.”

But in my desperation for relief, I fight, and I delay the relief I crave. I fight the grace God wants to give. I will look for short-term relief, my equivalent of a shirt sleeve or forearm, only to realize that my needs are unfulfilled and I am left with the same ache in my soul.

Only grace given, and grace accepted can make a lasting difference. Christ alone can supply the thing I need most in those vulnerable moments.

I would do anything for Ella. I would starve before I would let her go without food. And like my love for Ella, there is nothing (that promotes true health in my life) Christ would deny me if or when I ask. I would never deny my little girl food or love, and likewise, Christ will never deny me His grace and love.

So when I find that aching in my soul growing, and my desperation matching it step for step, may I remember that I have a Giver that wants to supply what I desperately need. In my frustration, may my hands stay still, and my trust remain relentless.

And may I never settle for a thumb, when so much more is available to me.


5 thoughts on “Lessons From My Little Girl: Grace and Shirt Sleeves

  1. Michael,

    Well said. When we are open to listening to God’s leading he gives that to us from unexpected sources sometimes. Ella will help you see through a father’s eyes and in turn you will learn to see God through the eyes of a child. We fathers are blessed, aren’t we! You and Elizabeth are doing a great job as parents.

  2. Pingback: Lessons From My Little Girl: 5 Things I Desire For My Daughter | Michael Palmer

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