My daughter has one of the most peaceful gentle spirits of any baby I've ever known... unless I put her down... in which case she screams like she is being tortured.
She likes to be held. She feels safe in my arms... her favorite place to lay her head is near my heart and she nuzzles herself in... clutches my clothing to get just a little closer... and she smiles... She doesn't like to be alone. She doesn't do well alone. She feels peace in the holding. And although I've gotten every piece of parenting advice known to man in the last month...
"Let her cry. Crib train her. Soothe her. Don't soothe her. Let her sleep with you. Don't let her sleep with you. She needs to learn to calm herself. Calm her. Do this... Oh make sure you don't do that..."
With all due respect to Ezzo and Sears and Spock and the Author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" I've decided I'm throwing out the parenting books. :)
We're just going to dance it out.
And so night falls and we dance while the sun goes down and the world gets quiet... I dance my daughter to sleep while we sing songs to the Maker of heaven and earth and I tell her about the Jesus who saved her mommy in every way a person can be saved. And I tell her about the God who carried her... kept her heart beating... the One who has counted every hair on her head and has numbered her days and has written her story.
I dance my daughter to sleep while the tears of gratitude fall and the love in my heart overflows and spills out into words of thanks... I have so little to offer Him... The One who has kept my daughter... kept me... turned our fear into peace... And there is nothing better than this...
To dance her to sleep while I tell her of the love that saves a life... and sing her songs about the One who heard the cries of my heart and gave me her. And there is no love like a mother loves her child and I'm sure of this as I kiss her face and hold her hands and smell her hair and love her more than I ever knew I could.
And she has made me braver than I ever knew I could be... and because of her I've learned that every day is precious and life is fragile and I'd be wise to never let the things of this world cloud my heart to what is really meaningful... And this is all that is sacred and true and real in life and I don't ever want to forget all I've learned.
And I feel Him move my heart towards the things of heaven... and all the things that felt impossible feel possible. And I realize that vulnerability is a beautiful thing and sometimes all people really need to see Jesus is to hear your honest heart. Sometimes people don't need a sermon... they just need your hand. They don't need theology... they need to hear how you walked through the valley and He held you the whole time. And because of my daughter I want to forgive the person who will never ask my forgiveness and I want to write the letter to the friend I hurt... and I want to listen well... and love far beyond the point when it hurts... and I want to preach the gospel without any words and I want to cross the distance from east to west to make amends and offer mercy. And I want to live out the story of the women who washed His feet with her tears and loved so much only because she knew of how much she had been forgiven. And I want an undivided heart that loves Him with everything...
Because I don't want to get to heaven and hear Him say... "I really wish you would have..."
I only want to hear "well done". And life is fleeting and he's given us a story and I want to shout ours from the rooftops to anyone who will listen.
He still moves the mountains. And I dance a miracle to sleep each and every night and all I have and all I am is because He is. And any good in my heart comes from Him and the ashes He's made into beauty. And I think of the day I drove that road and told Him I'd love Him even if I didn't get to keep her... and I think of the day I married her daddy and the day we found out we'd made her and the road that led us here...
And all I have is gratitude... for all of it. Every single step. Every song in the night. Every tear we cried and every time our hearts ached because it's made me take nothing for granted. And it's given me hope because even when I was faithless He was faithful... even when I left He stood.
And today her daddy held me in the kitchen and I held her and I realized we can't possibly stop here because we have so much love to offer and when we got married we knew we wanted to be a mommy and a daddy to babies who didn't have parents... and we knew we wanted to give peace to children who'd only known turmoil and we wanted to show them they are well loved by a God who knows the stories they cannot tell.
And so we're starting the paperwork to be foster parents because life is short and ours is crazy and it's full but when you are part of God's family there is always another seat at the table and always enough to go around.... and we've been blessed beyond measure with a beautiful marriage and a big house and the knowledge that we are nothing without Him but if we let Him he'll allow us to be His hands and feet here.
And for us that means rocking babies and watching Sesame Street and sweeping cheerios off the floor. And we're ready to step into the dream God has laid in our hearts to show a child what it is to be loved by a family and in that to show them the love of Jesus.
And we're young and we've got a lot to figure out about raising babies but I know how to dance them to sleep and sing them songs about their Maker and tell them about the God who redeems all things. And in the end isn't that all that really counts... that each and every night I lay them in the arms of Jesus?
So that's the next step in the journey... and I'm terrified.
But everything meaningful should be scary because it forces you to trust.
And perfect love casts out all fear and at the end of the day you find yourself standing in a place you never knew you could.
And I realize my daughter is living up to meaning of her name... "wise"
She knows it's better to be held than to do it on your own... She knows peace is lying in arms that are safe. She knows that if she just lays her head on my heart she'll be safe and I'll keep her there as long as I can.
And I pray she never stops. I pray she never tries to walk out life alone and that she lays herself in the arms of Jesus each and every night. That her heart never stops reaching for His heart and that when she finds it she will keep herself there for the rest of her life. That she will never forget that peace lies only in His arms and that we never walk alone. I pray she grasps His hand... yields her heart to His... and dances with Him all the days of her life.
And as for me... I'll dance with as many babies as God allows.
Thank you for walking with us... for being part of our story... May you rest in the arms of God tonight knowing that's where peace is.