It’s baby season in our town. They’re popping out all over the place. Beautiful and precious babies that are poised to learn all kinds of things from this world and the people around them.That’s both terrifying and promising in the world we have created for ourselves.
I remember sitting on the edge of my bed watching news reports about the Kuwaiti oil fires, holding my brand new baby girl and crying massive hormonal tears over the state of the world I had brought her into. It was a mess.
It still is.
While I was pregnant, I also remember hearing words that made me furious but that I also understood. “I could never bring a child into this world.” (Never say that to a woman who is pregnant, by the way.) I wonder if people have thought that same thing throughout history. I mean, we’ve created a world that can easily cause us to be hopeless, fearful and jaded but history proves that many had reason to feel the same way throughout the centuries. To be honest, mankind has always had an amazing ability to be horrible, evil and hateful to one another. All of us.
I’m older now and, although I fight suffocating fear (at times) over the state of our world, I have seen and realized something powerful and beautiful. Something that reflects beautifully on my loving, forgiving, gracious, redeeming and restorative God. The beauty is that, sometimes, these babies grow up to be amazing men and women that can change the world for good.
My girls for instance. I am so in love with each of them and I am proud of how they each are learning to love people – fiercely. They fail sometimes, but they’re resilient and determined to get better at it and, although stubbornness runs in our blood to a fault, they’re each willing to humble themselves in order to love more like Jesus does. I’d like to think they saw me screw up and apologize enough to realize it isn’t awful to fail. What’s awful is to fail and not recognize or admit that fact.
But, lest you write me off as an annoying mom that thinks too highly of my children, I’d like to tell you about the other “children” in my life. The babies that I watched grow up alongside my babies. The friends that blessed our home with laughter and joy and love over the last 27 years. The teens that have grown into some of the most amazing adults I’ve ever known.
When I start to worry that our world is full of selfish, uneducated, disrespectful, lazy young people, God is quick to correct me and bring them to mind.
I’ll start with the handsome Godly young man who was born 2 days before my youngest and has been a treasured friend of hers’ since that day. He’s also my best friends baby and I cried at his graduation as if he were my own. Because I have girls, most of the friends that came into our lives were girls but this young man is worth mentioning first and foremost. He is smart and kind and such a hard worker. He treats women with respect and is strong and funny. He gives me hope because a generation of men like him could turn everything around.
There’s the group of girls that accepted my oldest when she changed schools and knew no one. They’ve grown into beautiful, intelligent loving women. Two are nurses and give of themselves daily. One is on the other side of our huge state but can melt my heart with a text that says, “Happy Birthday mama.” And they are loving, level-headed and Godly women.
There’s the golden-haired beauty that has been my middle’s best friend their whole lives. (She also happens to be my niece.) She’s resilient, loyal, super smart, driven and totally focused. She brings light and love wherever she goes.
There are the sisters of the before mentioned young man. The eldest is sensitive, humble and selfless like no one I know. She and I are kindred spirits. She devours books, sends people hand written cards, prays for her patients as a nurse, loves with abandon and glows with a beauty you would be blessed to see. The youngest is one of the best friends my youngest has ever had. They are more like sisters. They fight and argue sometimes but they love each other and have one another’s backs even when they disagree. She’s a force. Seriously. And the world will not ignore her.
There are many more that I could mention. Many faces that I can picture rummaging through my frig, watching movies on my couch, keeping Steve and I up late at night, taking pictures before dances, celebrating with or hugging us after a soccer game, getting sick at a sleep over, listening to Steve affirm and love them when they didn’t have a man in their life to tell them they should be treated like a Princess (he really loved them all like they were his own), having conversations about dating, school, life, God……there are so many people and so many memories that I treasure. This is one of the blessings of being a parent that you aren’t told about…and it’s precious.
And then there’s Zoe. Sweet Zoe. Her family came to our church when she was just a little girl. Her mom has been one of the most influential women in my life when it comes to my faith and becoming a woman of God. Zoe has seen me at my worst, at my best and everywhere in between. She’s seen me yell, she’s seen me jump to conclusions, she’s seen me love and worship Jesus, She’s seen me fail and (I hope) she’s seen me apologize and try to learn from my mistakes. I’ve seen her grow through difficult times. I’ve seen her run hard after truth so that she could stand on her own two feet. I’ve seen her love and befriend two of my girls at different stages of life. She’s been my youngest daughter’s best friend and roommate for 2 years and she has been a stabilizing force for her when life has been less than stable. She wants to be a doctor for special needs kids. She will. And she’ll be great.
Zoe’s getting married next week. She found an amazing young man that proves there are other’s out their like Will (the one I mentioned earlier). Steve is honored to do the wedding and I’m positive I will cry. This isn’t the first marriage for one of these “children” of mine. These kiddos that I’ve watched grow up in our church and in our home have become adults. I’m in awe of them and I’m so glad their parents chose to bring them into this world. Not only have they improved my life, I have no doubt that God will use them wherever they go.
It’s still scary…this world I mean. We have too much hate to go around and not enough love. But, I find hope in the flow of God’s love in and through the lives of His people. People like these “children” of mine.
Did I mention there’s a precious baby growing in my first baby’s tummy? That could be why I started down this train of thought, I guess. I think about that baby a lot lately as well as all the ones being born around me and I realize one fundamental truth…life is uncertain. It always has been. But then I realize another fundamental truth…every baby brings hope into this world.
What a difference it would make if they were all loved. If they were all taught to love. If they were introduced to the author of love. A generation raised to become an army of light. Not of prejudice, hate, pride, greed or judgement.
Because I remember so many babies that I’ve seen grow into beautiful human beings, I am able to find hope again. Hope that each child can make a difference. Each child is important. Each child can be the hands and feet of God and help lift someone out of the darkness.
And then I pray that we all would remember that of ourselves. And chose to live accordingly.