When my niece Addie was almost two, my family headed to Washington State to visit my grandparents. The 2,000-mile trip made for a long day . . . even for those of us who weren’t toddlers. By the time we drove to the airport, changed planes, rented a car, and headed over the mountains to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, we’d spent an entire day using transportation of some kind. Add that to the two-hour time difference, and we had a pretty tired two-year-old on our hands.
Gratefully, Addie was a champion traveler and charmed the entire plane. But when we got to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, she toddled over to me, her eyes plaintive. “Eppie ebbow!” she said.
I looked at her, confused. The “Eppie” part was easy—that’s my auntie alias. But “ebbow”? What was she trying to tell me?
“Can you show me?” I asked.
She dutifully pointed to my elbow, but I was still at a loss for what that signified.
Finally I called in my sister, Addie’s mom, for some clues. “What does it mean if Addie is asking for my elbow?”
Meghan laughed. “Oh, she’s asking you to hold her in a rocking position—with her head in your elbow.”
Of course! I was only too happy to oblige.
Just a few months later, Addie’s world turned upside down when her parents brought home a baby brother. She had been practicing her big-sister skills with her doll (whom she called “Pink Baby”), but we weren’t sure how she’d adjust to not being the baby of the family anymore.
Most of all, how would she respond when someone else took the prime spot in her mama’s elbow?
When Meghan and Ted returned from the hospital with their precious bundle wrapped in a blue quilt, I held my breath, wondering how the introduction with the newly minted big sister would go. Would she be jealous? Would she feel bumped out of prime elbow territory?
I needn’t have worried. The first thing she said after inspecting little Grant was “Addie ebbow.” Then she sat down on the couch, ready to put her little brother in the crook of her own arm.
Here I was afraid she’d want Mama’s elbow for herself, and she was offering her elbow to her baby brother.
At two years old, Addie was living out this verse in 2 Corinthians:
God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
God comforts us—he lets us rest in the cook of his arm, if you will. And in turn, he invites us to share that comfort with other hurting people.
When we know there’s no scarcity of love, we don’t have to hoard the comfort we’ve been given; we don’t have to be jealous for it. Instead, we can receive it with gratitude . . . and then extend it to someone else.
Have known the comfort of your Father’s elbow? If so, don’t keep that love to yourself. Find someone else who needs an elbow too, and share his comfort with them. And if you haven’t felt that comfort, know that his arm is ready, waiting just for you.
What’s your story? Has someone passed on God’s comfort to you? Or have you passed it on to someone else?
Kristen Joy Wilks says
What a wonderful way of looking at God’s love for us. Hmmmm…thinking about giving your elbow after God has given us His elbow reminds me of one of our camp counselors. Even though we have worked in camp ministry for years and years, when it comes time to send your own son off to camp it is still very hard. Our oldest had “The Thing” as his counselor and it was so amazing to see our little boy seeing a fresh new glimpse of God as he had fun and went to chapel and night games with this fun big guy. The Thing was in my husband’s AWANA group when he was an AWANA leader and so my husband helped him learn and grow when The Thing was a little boy. And The Thing’s mom was one of the only Christians that my husband knew in high school. She was a true friend and prayed for him long before he accepted Christ in college. So yes, give the comfort by which you have been comforted. It is amazing the string of blessings, the circle of blessings that come into your life because people are willing to give out of what God has given them.
Stephanie Rische says
What a wonderful story of how God can bring faith full circle! Thanks for sharing this inspiring story.
When I had a miscarriage many years ago a beautiful godly woman came along side me and walked the journey of grief and confusion. Many years later God placed me with a lady during a time when she experienced a miscarriage. I felt “God qualified” to minister to her as I had been ministered to myself. I never cease to be amazed at how wonderfully God works in our lives. Thank you for a great post.
Oh, such a beautiful, redemptive story of how God allows us to “pass it on.” Thank you, Nancy, for sharing…both on this blog and with your life!