The Gift

Most nights somewhere between the hours of 8:30 to 10pm things start to settle down around my house.  Teeth get brushed, dogs get fed, spelling books get tossed into backpacks, and the rush of the day finally begins to peter out.  We get the girls tucked in and kissed good night, everybody gets out of bed for that last drink of water that they just have to have or they will totally dehydrate before morning, and then finally Luke and I start our snuggle time.  As I turn on his turtle night light and send stars spilling across the ceiling I start singing the words to I love you a bushel and a peck.   I gladly sit down in the fuzzy brown armchair and feel the day start to end.  The weight of those sweet little arms around my neck reminds me just how blessed I am as he burrows his forehead into my neck.  As I start into Amazing Grace I notice he’s already broken out into a light sweat.  That always happens right before he tumbles into never never land, and by the time I’ve finished the second verse he’s a goner.  But things are just starting to get really good because now it’s almost totally quiet.  For the first time since 6 am I can hear myself think.  The only two sounds I hear are his breathing and mine.  And so there in the quiet stillness, with one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever been given I begin to thank my God for all he’s done for me, for all he’s doing for me.  I’m humbled by his goodness and my words catch in my throat.  As I bury my face in Luke’s hair and breathe in the sweet mixture of baby shampoo and little boy I cannot help but be overwhelmed with the thought of my other son.  And so I pray someone is rocking him to sleep too.  I pray that God puts someone in the gap until we get there.  And for awhile I just cry silently.  Because sometimes there are emotions no words can express.  And just then Luke wakes up and needs another song so I sing Jesus Loves Me while lightly rubbing his back.  After our song I pray some more with him and before long the sound of my voice has lulled him back to sleep.  I’m rubbing the outside of his right foot while thinking how little he is and how hard it would be if the new baby was here right now because how would I divide my time between two such very tiny people? Especially when one of those very tiny people has some big life adjustments to make?  Then it hits me.  It’s a Gift.  This waiting.  It’s a gift from God himself.  This entire year that we have been saving and working and preparing paperwork has felt like a punishment, a nightmare, really, but it’s not.  It’s a gift.  It’s the time we need to become the family God designed us to be.  It’s time for us to grow.  It’s the time frame that he has envisioned for us.  It’s hard to admit but I’m not the mom I need to be for these children yet, but with God’s help and some time, I will be.  And what about our children?  Maybe they’re not ready yet either.  Perhaps this waiting period is the essential time they need in order grow and be able to wholeheartedly embrace another sibling.  Is it possible that God has given me this time with them as a gift before the next little one comes?   
I think about work and all the challenges we’ve faced over the last year, the challenges we’re facing right now and I sigh knowing God is working those things out too. 
Perhaps God’s doing what he does best, giving us what we need before we even know what to ask for.  And so, as that realization sinks deeper into my heart my tears take on a different meaning.  Gratitude.  And I began to wonder how many times in my life I have viewed waiting as punishment.  When what God had intended was a Gift. 
Infertility, Separation from family, a Layoff, Financial struggles…….
We endured each thing (sometimes more than once) and I can see now when looking back it was a gift.  It was a gift of time.   It was a chance to allow God to work in a way only he can to arrange things in our lives into patterns of greatness for his glory.  It was a chance for us to grow into the people he needed us to be in order for his work to continue.  And isn’t that what our lives are really supposed to be about?
 So as I sit with my sleeping little man I have new words to say to my Father.  Thank you for not answering every prayer exactly the way I want it.  Thank you for “wrecking my plans” so you could design greater ones.  Thank you for having patience with my impatience.  Thank you for loving my stubborn heart enough to give me what I need and not what I want.  Thank you for using me in your work, even if I can’t always know or understand how you’re working.  Please just keep using me!  And Lord, while waiting for our son to come home from Ethiopia may be hard I’m guessing it was a lot harder for you to wait on yours to come back home to you.  So if some days I forget that you’ve already written my story and know the ending please forgive me and help me to remember that, “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28