Last Wednesday evening, my oldest son and I got to tag along with my parents to a Lenten event at our church, while my husband stayed home with two sick toddlers. It made me feel like a kid again, sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car; and having my little boy next to me, feeling more like he was my brother than my son, made me relaxed and happy. We talked, mostly in giggly whispers, the whole way to church. And hours later (long after bedtime), he held my hand in the backseat while he fell asleep. Before he fell asleep though, he asked my dad, “so Grandpapa, your birthday is tomorrow: what would you like to do special with me for your birthday?” What an adorable grandchildlike question. So it was decided that the next morning, Gabriel would take Grandpapa out for breakfast, before one went to work & the other went to a fire station on a fieldtrip. Well, the breakfast happened on Grandpapa’s birthday, and I swung by to pick up my little boy on our way to the fieldtrip, and as he climbed into the backseat (where he feels more like my son and less like my brother), he said, “Mommy I bought you a present!” At first, I thought maybe he meant the last sip of 7Up in the shiny green can he clutched against his chest. But then he held out a precious little wooden sign with a cheesy saying and a wire hanger, complete with a red gingham ribbon tied on. He spent his very own five dollar bill on it for me, for no other reason than he saw it, he thought of me, and he wanted to make me smile. I held it together, but I kind of wanted to cry. This little man-in-the-making is both tender and strong. And he leaves me speechless, at the foot of the throne of grace in thankfulness.
The memories my children carry with them into adulthood are largely up to me.
In the everyday routines of life,
I have the power to provide my children
with countless loving memories of human connection.
I also have the ability to leave my children
with a scarce supply of meaningful moments together.
~Rachel Macy Stafford, Hands Free Mama, p57~
Freedom to love and enjoy our children
flows out of the knowledge that
God saves them in spite of our best efforts,
not because of them.
Salvation is of the Lord.
~Elyse Fitzpatrick & Jessica Thompson, Give Them Grace, p53~
God started to show me how to see my son.
Not with a magnifying glass, but with a mirror.
~Lisa-Jo Baker, Surprised By Motherhood, p141~
And thus begins another chapter in my motherhood.
My dad promised my boys bunkbeds about a year ago… he’s been working on building them for the last couple months… and last night he brought them over and set them up.
No more crib.
I remember the last time we took that very same crib apart too, and I wept because I did not have much hope left that God would ever grant us another living child.
Well, I haven’t wept this time. Not yet anyway. Because I have seen God’s wonderful works, and I can praise His faithful name even in the midst of another horrible storm. That crib may stay in the basement until I have grandkids, but even if that is His plan, it is going to be okay. (right??) He has been so much more gracious and merciful than I could ever have imagined, last time we took the crib apart. His kindness is everlasting, and I am so thankful for His comforts. I am so thankful that I can rest on His faithfulness that I’ve seen before, so I know that even new difficult things will be redeemed by Him someday, some way. Even though this is kind of painful timing, as Heritage would have been arriving very soon, so we were hoping to be needing that crib for her. Siiiiiigh.
But goodness. What a blessing that we needed new beds. That we have LIFE that requires something like bunkbeds (that were so lovingly and devotedly designed by their grandparents and built by their grandpapa). That we get to use the plural boys, kids, and words like siblings and brothers. Wow. Last time we took down that crib, I did not have that comfort. And while it doesn’t erase the pain, I am the first to tell you that it is a balm, and it is a gift from God.
Time is an ever rolling stream.
I am so thankful that God is giving me grace to truly, fully enjoy my three miraculous children right now, even as I so long and pray and work toward adding to that number.
It was a year ago now that we began to seek adding to our quiver ~ really? an entire year already?! yep, it is so.
May God grant me the grace and joy to continue following where He leads with cheerful obedience, regardless of what His time limits or age gaps may be. May I have eyes to see what He sees, to believe what He knows, to embrace what He planned.
Gabriel suddenly seems more grownup all the time at 6 now. I blinked, and suddenly find myself allowing him to do big kid things: stay up later than the littles, ride his bike to Grandmama’s house by himself, play on the computers unattended at the library, go by himself in a men’s public restroom (depending on the place, mind you! small library or church, yes! public mall? probably not…).
Asher is moving completely out of the toddler stage, even though he is just 2 1/2 years old. I blinked, and suddenly he can carry conversations with anyone (mostly being understood, too), can follow directions (even if given more than one at a time), can dress/undress himself, holds a pencil/crayon correctly and can trace decently, and fully embraces his big brotherhood and dotes upon his little sister.
Evangeline, in like speed, has now moved completely from baby to nearly 17 month old toddler ~ somehow I blinked, and it suddenly happened. She never walks if she can run (don’t even mention crawling, hah), she tries hard to communicate (and doesn’t do a stellar job yet, but certainly lets you know if you didn’t catch her drift!), likes to be right in the thick of it with her big brothers, is tough and stubborn and opinionated, can identify all kinds of things (from baby doll to ball to book to belly button to blankie to shoes to outside to cow…), and is finally really catching on to routines in various venues (library, worship service, even praying before meals now finally isn’t a fight to get her to hold hands & be still).
These children are an incredible gift. Nobody could be more humbled by it or thankful for it than I am.
So as the stream continues to roll, may the Lord give me grace to jump in and splash around, body and heart and mind and soul, trusting in Him as my hope, my help, my guard, and my home. May He grant me contentment with where He has me, but never complacency; may He give me passion to keep pushing forward, but restrain me from asking for the reins. Amen.
I am so humbled that God gave me the incredible gift of little humans that show God’s incredible power, His love of drawing straight with crooked lines, His miraculous ways of bringing forth life ~ how good and gracious God is to give us these treasures to enjoy here on earth and that He entrusts them to us. May we live out the Gospel of Easter before these sweet children this week and throughout our lives, amen.
Such tangible and eternal reminders of life after death, of resurrection light following deep darkness, of joy after grief, of miracles we just didn’t expect.
Looking at my kids, I simply see “Easter” written all over them. Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
It is beautiful, and sometimes bittersweet, to listen to the conversations held by a 5-year-old.
I love listening to him talk to his brother and sister, sometimes instructing, sometimes encouraging, sometimes telling stories.
And I love listening to him talk about his other brothers and sisters too.
Lately, he has not shied away from talking about Heritage Peniel. Today, in fact, he told his cousins about his baby sister, her name, and told them confidently about how the baby’s body died but how her spirit (he worded it like, “her new heart”) is alive in heaven. It wasn’t a very short conversation. He likes to talk about her. And I love to hear about her.
It is bittersweet music to this mommy’s ears.