Life

This post was written a while ago, when our little girl was still so new.
I'm just now getting around to posting it.  
She seems so much older now- bigger, more alert, more...OURS.  
Goodness, life happens so fast. 
Those first 2 weeks are wonderfully hard,
full of change and pain and healing and emotion and joy. Ahh yes..the joy.

I'm so grateful for the constant faithfulness of our Lord as
He walks through each stage and season of life with us,
which already seem to be changing on a daily basis.

Life sure can change substantially in a short period of time.  
In just under a month, life for us has been touched and shifted and rearranged
in each crevice and every corner. 
New schedules.
New chores.
New identities.
I find myself looking at the daily rhythms
that have found their way into
my home, my marriage, my errands, and my sleep,
and at times it feels unfamiliar and strange.
Other times, it feels as if it has always been. 
Comfortable and recognizable. 
Our lives were changed by the new life of our little girl. 
And gosh how alive that makes me feel!

In the weeks since her arrival,
there have been many pinpoint moments that mark this newness upon us. 

I’ve had boogers, pee, poop, and puke
(oh the amounts of spewed up milk I’ve encountered!)
come in contact with every fabric in our home and every inch of my own skin,
and never batted an eye. 
A younger me used to hide out in the garage when my brother would vomit,
just to make sure I had enough distance in between myself and that vile substance. 
Today, however, it seems so insignificant.  
We really are much more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for.   :)   

From the tub that used to provide long, deep soaks
with the occasional aroma of a burning candle,
I now find myself sitting in leftover water from a baby girl’s bath,
staring at a giant goldfish sponge drying next to me,
rushing to get clean before Taylor finishes the
drying, lotioning, diapering, and pajama-ing of our little one who is
minutes away from screams only milk can ease. 
But oh how beautiful are the sounds coming from one room over
of my husband speaking softly to his beloved daughter,
asking her to be patient and telling her that he’s got her. 
How sweet is the warmth of her body finally relaxing against mine
and the coos from her satisfied stomach.

I’ve caught myself in the bathroom looking into the bedroom that is now Lettie’s,
and feeling stressed about the trash can overflowing with dirty diapers…
and the laundry piling on the floor because
our washing machine broke 2 days after bringing home a newborn,
fully aware that clothes don’t magically wash themselves or
dry quickly when hanging them on the line is your best option. 
And then I remember all the times I looked into that room over the past 9 months,
neatly settled and precisely organized and how
I longed for this day when it wasn’t empty. 
Slowly, my heart turns to praise for a God that delivered
such a beautiful gift into our lives. 
I’m so thankful that life now fills this room. 

There have been moments that my fingers tap wildly on the screen of a phone
as I sink into the same familiar hole on the couch,
trying to distract my mind as it’s time to nurse AGAIN. 
But then I’ll glance down quickly and see
the eyes of my little girl gazing up at me,
and the phone seems like such an enemy to the moments of life before me. 
What used to feel like harmless scrolling
I now put to the side because
those eyes will not be there forever. 
They will grow,
and they will run
and play
and leave. 
And they need to know that I saw them. 
That I looked back into them and loved them dearly. 
That I prayed over her life. 
I see you, my child.

And then there is Taylor.
Husband. Father.
Rock to our little family of 3. 
The teamwork that is needed he so gracefully fills. 
The burden shared, the joy multiplied. 
The love and respect I feel for him exceeds my wildest dreams. 
The privilege it is to call him ours bursts forth from my soul. 
The strength I find in his arms when my own strength is drained is
an earthly gift from a Heavenly Source. 
He pours the grace of God into our home
with prayers and steadfastness that are unmatched,
and I can often only sit and soak it in. 
Without either of us saying a word,
he follows me into the bathroom, closes the door, and
gives me the hug that releases the tears I’ve tucked away as this
whirlwind of life spins faster and faster. 
He lets them fall, then wipes them away. 
And just like that, the bathroom door opens and life goes on,
refueled and confident.

One moment you are pregnant,
anxiously awaiting the thrill of welcoming this budding life into the world. 
You’ve talked about it, dreamed about it, prayed about it. 
You wonder about timing and parents on planes and C-sections versus natural deliveries. 
So.much.wondering. 
And then it is just here. 
In our case, it was here in a matter of 3 hours! 
Water broken. Nervous excitement. Contractions.
Wow. Bad contractions.
Call the doctor. 
No time for pain meds. 
Tell our loved ones.
Push.
I don’t know if I can do this.
Breathe.
Push harder.
Muffled cries.
- She’s here. -
Hold her close.
Stitches.
Ow.
Hold tight. Hold tighter.
A brief moment alone, the 3 of us. 
A sigh of relief. 
Finally, the gentle touch of Taylor’s hand,
a look into his eyes and then the eyes of our daughter,
and tears from two hearts that just caught up to what our bodies just witnessed.
Our daughter is with us.
She is ours,
to love and to hold and to care for.
The gift of family runs so deeply through us that it’s
unfeasible to assume we could hold back the joy from our pounding hearts. 
A bond like no other, both between us as spouses and us as parents.  

The whirlwind continues. 
Within days, our little girl was given the blessing of grandparents’ love. 
Precious introductions that my heart will cherish for decades to come. 
We soaked them up, drank deep, and took so many pictures...
both on the camera and in my mind. 
However, as is life on the mission field,
hellos always bring with them goodbyes. 
And this time just like any other, the goodbyes again found us. 
These goodbyes felt big. 
With sleepless nights behind and in front of us,
new responsibilities to bear, holidays to enjoy, and chances to watch our girl
grow and bond and change already blossoming before us,
I mourned the loss of time she would get with her family across the world.
Those planes were boarded and life here was beginning again. 
The same as always, and yet more different than ever.
I sat in our living room, just me and my girl,
the quiet creeping around us, the days ahead looking us in the face. 
And in a moment of quiet lullabies into the ears of a sleepy babe,
God reminded me that He brings life. 
There is no room for Satan to steal, kill, and destroy when we
cling to the life He is pouring over us. 
And so I’ve found the song that will grace the ears of my child
who sat so peacefully as I wept over her,
my tears falling onto her soft cheek nuzzled by my own. 

     Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
     Because He lives, all fear is gone.
     Because I know Who holds the future,
     This life is worth the living just because He lives. 

Praise God for the life we have through Jesus. 
Praise Him for the gift of a tiny babe that he sent long ago,
much like the one sleeping beside me right now. 
Praise Him for His selfless goodness and sacrificial love. 
Praise Him for the joy found in believing life is so worth it,
because He lives. 
He is good, all the time.
I am rejoicing in that through beautiful hellos, dreaded goodbyes, and
all the life happening in between. 

"I have come that you may have life, and may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

photo credits: Kate Senekal, Storybook Photography