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About 5 months ago, I decided that my 3 year old needed to give up his pacifier. Notice I did not say, he decided to give up his paci. My daughter was never really attached to one and by the time she was 6 months old, I don't think she ever gave one any attention. She went to bed awake and put herself to sleep. I would have cradled and rocked her for hours if she wanted, as I thought that's what you did with babies, but it wasn't her personality.

pix of pacifiers This little boy was different. He wanted one from the day he was born. If he lost it in his sleep, I had to get up and put it back in. It quieted his cries, and calmed him like nothing else. I would line up a lot of these in his bed at night to be sure that when he had the motor skills necessary he could grab one and calm himself. I'd leave a light on in his closet bright enough for him to be able to see these pacis fast enough as not to wake up too fully and call me. Yes, I like sleep. Call me crazy.

He turned 3 though and I thought, it doesn't look like he's going to just give this up on his own any time soon. We've done other things, like stop the bottle, so surely we can live through this. I looked at amazon.com to see if there were books on the subject of ending paci addiction for your child. I did a search and saw this book with the name of diapers, pacifiers and other holy things. I thought, this is the book for me!!

Here a book that understands how important it is to a child to have a paci even going as far as to call it "holy." When it came in the mail, along with a book or two about teddy bear giving up his paci and Kermit, I think it was, doing the same, I was surprised to see it was actually 30 different devotional type chapters for moms. I read it anyway.

And I've really enjoyed this book. Of course, it doesn't mean that everything in it is correct, or whatever, but the chapters are short and that's important when it's hard for a mother to read for more than 10 minutes at a time without being interrupted. There's a section about that by the way in here, too. I got the general idea of today's devotional out of this book.

A pacifier is defined two ways by Webster: a nipple or teething ring for babies, or a person or thing that secures peace. Peace is a perfect word for what that little plastic thing brought to Brandon. I started thinking, if this thing can bring so much peace to this little guy, why don't I get one for myself? Maybe I wouldn't snack so much during the day.

The author of this book draws the comparison to us with the cross of Christ. What He did for us there: the grace, the forgiveness, the love He showed. We have comfort from His Holy Spirit when we are obedient and become His child. He gives us peace.

I love the hymn Peace, Perfect Peace, each verse is a question and then the answer.

  • Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
    The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
  • Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
    To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
  • Peace, perfect peace, though sorrow surging round?
    In Jesus presence nought by calm is found.
  • Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
    In Jesus keeping we are safe and they.
  • Peace, perfect peace, with futures all unknown?
    Jesus we know and he is on the throne.
  • Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
    Jesus has vanquished death and all it's powers.
  • It is enough and struggles soon shall cease
    And Jesus calls us to heavens' perfect peace.

Our comforter and our pacifier.

Brandon wanted his paci when he would be left somewhere without me, when he fell down and hurt himself, when he didn't get what he wanted, when he was going to sleep, when he woke up and was alone in bed. In other words, almost all the time.

Scientists have done studies that show that a pacifier calms a baby's heartbeat, slows their rate of breathing, settles them down with more focused moves instead of flailing about the way they do when troubled. It's a security attachment for them. We may not run into walls much and cry or throw a fit in the store, but we do get the same feelings of being alone, or rejected, we are reminded that we have sin in our lives, we get bogged down in these earthly lives and troubles that pick at our peace. Our arms may not flail about, we may not get red faces and scream at the top of our lungs, but we, too, crave that peace.

We are so lucky to know we need a hope to cling to even if it is at times hidden deep within us. Our comfort is found in God's love for us. And where is that love more demonstrated for us than in what He did on the cross for us?

Brandon's pacifier was just a piece of plastic. I read a study on the Internet that called it a "non-nutritive sucking device." That doctor may never have had a child who used one. It may not have nourished Brandon's body, but it calmed his temper. That was enough for me. There does reach a point that a baby needs to give it up, I'm sure it's before your child is old enough to debate it with you.

He has "given it up" now. About 6 weeks ago, I had to do it. He had been promised a trip to the toy store when he went without it. He didn't want toys. I asked him if there was anything that would make him feel better? Stuffed animals, sleeping with me, anything?
"No, just my paci, I love it, I need it, I can't sleep without it, I can't I can't."
"Oh Brandon, honey, you can do it. You are big. I will help you."
"No, Mommy. Let me have it. Don't take it away. Where is it? Just tell me."

At one point when I was in there with him, he got out of bed, stood next to the bed and said through tears, "Look at me. I'm standing up and I'm just little." See when they are old enough to talk, you don't just hear cries when you take them away. You hear what they are thinking. Not good.

I would hope if I felt my peace slipping away and forgetting that I had it, I would fight as hard as this little guy fought to keep his. I would hope that if I started to get so bogged down in earthly troubles that it was hard to stay above water that I would remember quickly the most important thing is peace with our Maker. All of our heartaches and problems here won't be solved the way we want and we won't get our way just because our eternity is peace with Jesus, but that is our promise that won't be denied. Nobody can take away our soul's true Pacifier.

Romans 8:35ff Who shall separate us from the love of Christ, Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, for their sake we are bring put to death all day long, we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height , nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What God did in His Son on the cross gave us security that lasts eternally in heaven. We won't have peace here on earth. We've been studying Paul and I think we can see He sure didn't have peace here, but in being secure in his faith of eternal peace in heaven, he was able to accomplish great things.

On the cross, Jesus secured my peace, strangled my wretchedness and extinguished the fire in my soul. The next time you see a child sucking peacefully on a pacifier, stop and thank God that He sent Jesus to pacify your sins by dying for you on a cross.

Ann Combs

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Ladies Bible Class, 19 October 2004

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