Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Heaven on Earth

Heaven is in the face of my little boy, the innocent love in his clear blue eyes, the way he says "mommy, I love you in your heart." Heaven is in the face of my oldest child, her songs and laughter filling my heart with joy, her strong will humbling me at times. Heaven is in the face of my third-born babe, her brown eyes lighting with mischievous plans as she races down the hall, the way she hugs me tight when she knows that I am sad. And Heaven is in the face of my baby girl, her dependence on me to sustain her life, the smell of her skin imprinted in my mind. Each child I have, every time I say 'yes' to God, I am that much closer to understanding the beauty of Heaven. Every child is a gift and I am in awe of the glimpses of Heaven I receive each day just looking into their faces, getting lost in the wonder of Heaven on Earth. How can you tell me that I have too many children? Are you just jealous that you don't get to see Heaven as much as I do?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Broken Pottery

For almost 6 years I've been immersed in the most difficult assignment I think God has ever given me. And I have examined it from every angle, dissected it at times, analyzed it and experimented with it....And yes, maybe even ignored it a time or two. To say that I was adequately prepared for this assignment, or even remotely conscious of what it would entail, would be an overstatement. At least, at first glance. When I was first given the knowledge of my assignment, I was a different person. Sort of dull and scuffed and broken in some places, I resembled a piece of old pottery that had been buried beneath some dirt, weighed down and damaged by the shifting earth.

It took a lot to even want to be pieced back together, a mottled past blinding me through the cracks and crevices it created in my heart. But I was given an assignment and I knew I had to obey. In total recognition of everything that I was, everything that I am, and everything that I aspired to be, I was not too confident in my abilities to complete the assignment at all, much less in the way I knew I was expected to. But I had to try, didn't I? I knew somewhere deep down that I would be given what I needed to not only complete the task but complete it well.. But could I search for these virtues, knowing the road would be trying at times, feeling like I was far from the perfect person to do this job?

Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." But back then, I did not know Christ, not really. I knew of Him and had a slight understanding of the Love He had for me, but did not know what that Love looked like in my own life at that time, as the sinful person I was, as the broken and scarred soul which I knew He saw. I did not know that He wasn't done with me yet, and while I may have not been exactly ready, may have had some cracks here and there, a blemish or two and a dull facade, He was the Master after all, and I was clay in His hands.

First, He took the broken pieces of my life and shined them up like new. Then He put a mirror in front of me so that I could just glimpse the smallest idea of what He really saw in me. Then He told me He was going to crush me. And I was not afraid. I had already been buried under the weight of my life, fragments scattered around, dirty and shattered and waiting to be pieced back together. But He had a much different plan than the one I had imagined. He did crush me. And it felt amazing. After that, the pieces of my life He thought were too big, He made smaller. The ones that were too small, He made bigger. He shaped and refashioned me, molding me into His image of me, and then shined me up even brighter than before.

And then He stuck me in front of a mirror again. "I am still not done with you yet," He whispered "I still have much work to do, but this is a start." As I looked myself over in the mirror, I felt His breath warming within me, new air in my lungs and a fire in my heart. And as I traced the line of stretching skin around my belly, which would grow bigger with each passing month, I knew I would also grow bigger as He filled me with everything I needed to complete this assignment.

I don't remember exactly what day that was, when I decided to parent the baby growing within my womb. All I know is that was the day that my life really began.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Time Flies On The Hem of a Dress

It's that time of year again - the seasons are changing; Winter has reluctantly released its grasp on the world and Spring is in full bloom! The weather is warmer, the sun seems brighter and it's just about that time to break out the kids' shorts and flip flops. But anyone with children knows that breaking out those shorts and flip flops also means the long process of packing away the Winter pants and boots, sorting through clothes that might still fit from last year, trying to decide who will fit what. And in that time of loading up bins and trash bags of outgrown items, pulling out old and buying new and bigger ones, there might also be a few trips down memory lane, a tear shed, a laugh enjoyed, and especially for this Momma, an aching heart shifting and sighing as it adjusts to a newly-acquired fray: discovering how fast time flies.

In my recent days of clothes sorting, I came upon a cute little pink and orange dress and I was instantly transferred back in time to last summer. Barely gracing the tops of Angelina's knobby knees, this dress could be seen flitting about in the warm breezes as she danced by us in her bare feet, chasing butterflies and laughing with her brother. In it's heyday, this dress saw daylight at least once a week, if not more, always the favorite to wear while spending the afternoon in the sunshine and pulling up dandelions, and even on the occasional search for worms. Many times, it would be dug out of the dirty clothes basket just to be worn indoors as she raced through the house singing and dancing until bedtime.

I think about the times when I have pulled out Angelina's hand-me-downs for Bella, reminiscing about how small Angel used to be, the cute outfits she wore, how young she really was. And how Bella has grown to fit them already. And how putting away these clothes at the end of the year always leaves me a little sad, and yet a little hopeful. This pink dress is too short for Angelina this year and it will be returned to the bin for Bella when she is a little bit bigger. It will get a second life and I will get one more year of memories and laughs before I am putting it away once more, exchanging flip flops for Winter boots and remembering just how fast time really does fly.