"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

01 December 2005

The Gift of Children

Our older daughter is expecting her third child, our twelfth grandchild. The mystery of new life never ceases to awe; each child is unique and blessed; the reaction is always the same -- how wonderful!

Yesterday a dear young woman I haven't seen or heard from in several months stopped by. I hugged her and as she stepped back I saw the tell-tale bulge and hugged her again.

Every child is unique and blessed -- but some are longer awaited and add a special blessing of faith and hope. A and her husband, after finding that she has medical problems that might have kept her from ever having children, waited and hoped for years, coming before the Lord both with the strong desire for a child and the trust to accept His decision. When I first met A, her quiet faith in the face of a possibility that tore at her heart encouraged me many times.

Because a child seemed not be in the plan, they decided to move to New Orleans so he could go to seminary. Easy, for just the two of them -- she could keep teaching, they could live on peanuts for a few years. Then, just before moving, they discovered a child was, after all, part of the plan. And then Katrina destroyed the seminary plans. And now they are back here, living with relatives while waiting for a house, he working contentedly at his old job, she savoring the months of preparation she thought would never be hers to savor.

She knows something of what Elizabeth must have felt when she found she would bear a son at long last, after hope had died. What wonder and amazement. What deep joy. What awe as a baby kicks and somersaults in a womb believed to be unable to carry him. What a special blessing in the lives of his family, a blessing of gratefulness and wonder given to those who wait with faithful hearts.

Children are a gift from the Lord, indeed.


Cindy said...

I, who always declared I would never have children, am finding out daily how much fun they can be. A week doesn't go by, now, but what I turn to Great Scott at some point and say, "I really like our girls! Is this normal?!?" :)

Thank you for this post, Beth. It's lovely and encouraging through and through.

(BTW, my sister just told us she's expecting again. Due in July. :) I love being an auntie.)

amelia ruth said...

I find myself dreading the prospect of having children more and more as marriage looms ahead of me. I know how much I daily hurt my own mother, and I wonder how I will ever be able to endure the pain and exhaustion children will bring. Your words have encouraged me to trust in the Lord's goodness and perfect timing--thanks.

Lisa (Froggyhead) said...

Thanks for the reminder. I have one that is a gift and another that,I'm sure, will be some day. (giggle)

Your site looks great! Your words, as always, are thought-provoking and really tugged at my heart this evening.

Thank you for always being so totally honest.

Fieldfleur said...

Yes, I must remember that my teenager too, like the dear sweet compliant baby, is a gift as well, even when she's screaming about something. Seriously, I do need to work on that. Thanks, Beth! Hope your holiday break is near.


alaiyo said...

We all need this reminder now and then, don't we? :) And thanks to all for the kind words.

LuCindy, of course you like your girls; you and Scott are their parents: how could they turn out anything less than enjoyable?! (Congrats to your sister, too; aunthood is even more fun than motherhood, 'cause you can spoil them . . . :))

Amy, dear, watch for a new post this coming week, just for you. The gist of it: never fear risks.

Lisa, I know what you mean! I recall a comic that went around when I was teaching in grad school -- a bunch of little monsters at school desks doing monstrous sorts of things and a caption that read "the little joys of teaching." Parenting is like that at times, too, isn't it!

Teri, blessings are sometimes well disguised, aren't they? :) Keep looking for the tears in the mask.

Cindy said...

:::grinning at the unintentional double entendre the word "tears" provides in your last comment:::

alaiyo said...

Ooh, you're good, LuCindy. Definitely unintended, but pretty cool. Tempting to take credit . . . :)

GrumpyTeacher1 said...

I'm not as witty as Cindy but congratulations too.

alaiyo said...

Thanks, Scott!