Six months! Where, when, how? But somehow, over 180 days of holding this sweet boy in my arms morning, noon, and night, and I still can’t get enough of him. None of us can. He was instantly the dearest thing and yet grows more dear every day. Isn’t that amazing? Love is like that. It’s vast and complete, but then the details get filled in as time goes on.
He’s a solid 27 pounds, which just causes anyone who sees him to break into laughter. Who knew baby thighs could make anyone and everyone laugh out loud? His fat little hands are my favorite. He has a mouth-wide-open smile for anyone who makes eye contact with him, and his deep blue eyes are so friendly and inviting. He rolls but still doesn’t sit without help, and I’m assuming he’ll just be on the slow track with all that movement stuff, as was his similarly-round brother, William. His siblings adore him, his daddy adores him, and I certainly do. And when we see the way he lights up at each one of us, we’re fairly certain the adoration is mutual.
He is a treasure, and my soul is fairly bursting with the wealth that’s been poured into my lap. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over — a house full of children formed by God, put into my hands to love and nurture and steward as disciples. It’s overwhelming — and I don’t just mean in the 5pm dinner is burning the baby is crying and there is noise everywhere kind of overwhelming. I mean I am overwhelmed by the bountiful goodness of God. It is so much.
And yes, the treasure and gifts of God require something of us, and when He expands our territory we find ourselves stretched further than we’ve been before. There is weight to it, soberness in it, the sense of stewarding the treasure of another. I’ve been tempted to say about so many things, “I’m not sure I’m really up for this,” but then I catch myself and think, “What are you talking about?? Serve the purpose of God in your generation! Now or never!” And suddenly it all becomes clear again: I just need more Jesus along with the increase of blessing.
Yes, I have grown. I have been expanded. I am probably more wise, less frantic, and don’t react to every seeming crisis. But also?? There is fruit. God knows what He’s doing! Our house is so loud and busy but it is teeming with capable children who delight in one another and in serving me. I’m pretty sure 28 year old me would have an emotional meltdown at the level of “lived-in” my house daily achieves, but that makes sense: 28 year old me had to stay on top of it all by myself. And now? Now we are a team.
But so much more than the practical blessing I’m living in (pinch me, is this real?, I think whenever I walk into a clean kitchen after guests leave and I spent the whole evening visiting and didn’t lift a finger), there is fruit in their hearts. There are young men who I simply enjoy, who make me laugh, who I lean on for help and encouragement. Daughters who spill joy and kindness everywhere they go. Little ones who are caught up by older ones, taught and read to and led by example. I know that I know that I planted seeds and watered and weeded for day after day after week after month for years, but this fruit that I see? I can’t begin to take credit for it any more than I look at the stunning beauty of my favorite peony and pat myself on the back for my stellar planting job. My part and the result just don’t add up, until you factor in the faithfulness of God. It’s Him.
That is the bounty that makes me want to weep in thankfulness. And it gives me hope for tomorrow, because guess what? I am so far from a perfect gardener when it comes to my children. I do my best, by the grace of God, to show up and ask for help, but repentance is my most-often used tool. The skill is all Him. His Spirit pursues their hearts as I apply faith and diligence. I never feel that these children are somehow mine, or my doing — I am so aware that these are people God crafted and called, and is asking me to serve in a truly precious and unique way. But as they grow, and I see softness and humility and forgiveness flowing from their hearts, I marvel even more at the things God has done, and what a tremendous honor it is to be used by Him.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”