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On the Side - March 2018

On Your Hip

by Carol Mason Shrader

We are settling in to our new normal around here—early Monday morning airport runs as Dad commutes to Delaware for his new job; seizing moments on Facetime each night. We cherish when my college girl has Wi-Fi so she can keep us updated on her adventures as she studies abroad this semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Trying to keep everyone feeling connected and cared for up-close and far away seems to be my new full-time job!
So I got tickled this week when I stumbled across an old blog entry about the baby of the family, our Cate. Cate wasn’t quite three years old when after her dad and I had to travel to a conference she woke up unusually fussy. She was grumpy and grouchy and not sure she was willing to forgive me for being away. She fussed about getting out of her bed. She cried, even. And then she looked at me and said very determinedly, “I do want to get up. And I want on your hip.”
For 12 years of life, Cate has been fiercely independent. As a toddler, this child went around town in a princess dress one day and a Spiderman costume the next. She has known what she wants to wear and how she wants her hair since before she could talk. She was merely a 2-year-old the first time she climbed out of her high chair in order to wipe the ice cream off the face of her 10-year-old brother in his wheelchair. She is strong-willed, independent and fierce in her determination.
But when that girl wanted to be held, she would just look at me and say, “On your hip, Mommy.” And that was that. I have cooked entire meals, vacuumed, swept and made beds all with that child on my hip—and delighted in every single minute.
Today, in the midst of so many changes, so many miles between me and my loved ones, so many more changes to come, I am struck by the fact that this is exactly the plea I need to make to our Heavenly Father.
Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (NIV 1984).
Make no mistake. I am fiercely independent. Medical marriages often require us to parent alone for seasons: surgical residency and three preschoolers for instance. Medical marriages can mean we are responsible for keeping the finances of the home straight, or the maintenance of our house, or taking care of the cars. Let’s face it, sometimes we might need our own superhero costume to believe we can actually accomplish all that must be accomplished.
How grateful to have a God who says we can do all of this from the refuge of His hip—ok, under His wings. But Psalm 91 does continue by encouraging us to call on the Lord as our refuge and “…he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11-12, NIV 1984).
I don’t know about you, but that totally sounds like they are going to carry us right on their hip!
I am praying for you today, dear ones. Whether you are awaiting the upcoming Match Day, or smack in the middle of all your training, or just in a weary season after years of being a medical wife, I am asking God to remind you that He alone offers that perfect refuge for whatever season faces you! He alone can provide the shield and comfort—and, like me with a toddler on my hip, He will delight in every second.
Carol Mason Shrader

Carol Mason Shrader lives in Mississippi while her triplets finish their college years and her Cate continues middle school. She is wife to her wonderful Wade, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in Wilmington, Delaware. She has been assured that at 12 years old, and already two inches taller than her, Cate would gladly carry her on her hip if needed.

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