If you spend much time with a baby in the midst of your soul awakening to God’s mercies everlasting, ever present, always renewing, you realize that gratitude is a natural human instinct.
Eyes wide with wonder, mouth full-open, bursting smile, hands outstretched, squeals of glee … he cannot speak the thanks, but his face expresses it all. Whether it’s the newness of a game of give and take, peek-a-boo, a sibling walking into the room, Daddy coming home from work, eyes rolling back and blinking thanks while nursing and then sleeping, smiling, settling back in mama’s arms all milk drunk in love; a baby’s whole being says thanks and he is eager to keep the “game” going.
Somewhere along the way he will lose this innate gratefulness. Please and thank you will need to be taught, but seeing the natural giddiness of a thankful heart — what better gift to give your children at a young age than the practice of gratitude; for the lapse of instinctual thanks to be brief, that they would not come of age before realizing the overwhelming joy that comes in recognizing His face in the world around them.
Life has a way of snatching this most basic instinct from us. I live in a world that since the fall, is inundated with sin … that which has grabbed the joy and replaced it with suffering, pain, loss, fear.
And we are in the world, but must we be of it?
In the last month, I have been searching, and it is not difficult, to find Christ’s face, His Breath, goodness, blessings all around me. As I’ve done so, I’ve noticed myself grow in joy, laughing to the point of tears, relishing the simple things and quiet moments.
In the word’s of that Christmas movie “Love actually, is all around” and the giver of love is our Creator and He, actually, is all around.
But what of the moments when I cannot see Him? Is He also there?
Was He there when I started in my fourteenth school?
Was He there when we lived with my grandparents one summer waiting for the doors to open at another church, with another position for my Dad?
Was He there when I had to start at a new school, across the country in my senior year?
Was He there when I was told I may never have children?
Was He there as my grandfather’s mind dimmed to this world, as he became trapped in a body yearning to join his Maker?
Was He there when doctor’s tried to tell me I was experiencing a threatened miscarriage, when I knew I would never hold that baby in this life?
Is He there when doctor’s diagnoses are grim or incomplete, causing angst and wonder?
Is He there every time a baby loses its life to a woman’s choice?
Is He there when war rages?
Is He there when work is impossible to find?
Is He there when we give way to our addictive nature?
Is He there when the good suffer?
He was and He is …
And He is always the Redeemer.
And I am called to find Him in all things, and sometimes it is difficult and I am not the soul owner of all the hurt in the world to offer reasons or reassurance of His presence, but when He conquered death and the curtain that separated our wandering hearts from Him was torn in two, the pain was not taken away, but I, we were invited to find Him in all things beautiful, peaceful and glorious filled with hurt, pain, and causing fear. He is in all things.
I hold my Nicholas and realize that all these things are gifts. That he is not mine, but His and I, through pain, suffering, loss, more pain, but greater still rejoicing have been invited to take part in this grace. That were I to hold my third baby, I would have never held His Nicholas. And that, and this faith, is paradoxical.
If we look for it, we will find His glory, but it is weighty, and it is difficult and it is far above our capabilities to understand, but it is there and in all things I am blessed.
24. the birds singing outside my window
25. zenias everywhere
26. daughter’s heart to hold and mold
27. husband’s strong arms around me
28. the anticipation of brother-in-law visiting
29. other moms to learn from
30. coffee percolating
31. Bethany wanting to wear dresses all the time
32. the sound of His people desperately seeking Him
33. blueberry batter cake
35. how cute Nicholas looks in his gdiapers
36. the very kissable indentation just beneath and to the side of Matt’s left eye
37. the little mole on Lucas’ neck
38. opportunity to comfort kids in the night
39. Robin’s brisket … mmmm
40. moments of prayer while walking with Allison
41. reading my friends’ blogs
42. a clean house
43. kids all dirty with sidewalk chalk
44. baby with skinned toes and dirty from playing outside
45. finding Matt’s wedding ring after it was missing for 3 months
46. my kids, whether six years old or newborns, and how beautiful they are
47. Johanna Geesey — how I will miss her.
48. Praise Baby dvds calming kids and baby
49. the stillness of the house before the kids wake
50. puffy clouds in a blue sky