Little Katelyn's mother's words ring in my ears today. "She was given to us for a reason. God has a purpose for her life." What faith, what trust that God knows what He is doing even in the midst of struggles, tears, and mourning hearts. Our earthly hearts cannot fathom the depths of love that God pours onto His children. All we see is the here and now. We are people of feeling, taste, and touch. Yet, the family continues to trust the Lord and believe all things work together for good. I was listening to my mp3 player all day today, feeling like I needed some good music to encourage my heart. The words to this song came up, one I had not heard in so long. I searched it on the web and could not even find the lyrics anywhere. So, I quickly jotted down the words and wanted to share them with you.
When you cross that river Jordan,
When you enter the Promised Land
You’ll find peace that passes understanding
You’ll find rest in the Father’s hands.
Do not tarry when you cross that river,
Do not wait for me to reach that distant shore,
Someday I’ll follow your path down to the river,
Then I’ll be with you forevermore.
When Jesus calls your footsteps homeward
Rest assured I’ll not be far behind
So keep your eyes upon the gates of glory
And keep your heart full and love you will find.
Here is my own poem I wrote to help my heart too:
She's in the arms of Jesus,
Laughing, singing, praising.
Her legs are walking,
With muscles quite strong,
Her hands, I'm sure, she's raising.
Our God knows what He's doing,
Though earthly wisdom flees.
Her short life had a purpose,
Of that we can be sure.
God sent this angel for a reason,
Her mother's words ring clear.
Comfort our hearts, oh Lord, we pray,
As we remember her face so dear.
Dear Jesus, please help this family who needs You to hold them close. Surround them with your love and make Yourself real to them. Comfort their hurting hearts and let them see the sunshine through the clouds. In Your precious Name, Amen.
I was listening to the loud sound of the garage door close beneath the bedrooms this morning and I could not help but think back to the days when we had first moved in. My oldest son was about four years old. I was pregnant with my fourth child, which meant four children, four years and under, and three of them still in diapers. The move had caused some insecurity in the children, and they wanted to make sure their daddy would return to the same house (our new house!) when he was finished working for the day. I am not really sure what went through my son's head that first morning, but to this day I can still hear his loud, I-am-dying cry ring in my head and it makes me shudder! I raced out of the room to see what was wrong and he was sitting on the couch in the living room sobbing as he looked out the window.
"What happened?" I asked him, looking for blood or something that would cause such a ruckus so early in the morning.
"He did not kiss me goodbye! And he did not wave to me!!!" Big tears dripped all over the pillows leaving little puddles.
It took some reassuring, plus a phone call to daddy to get him to settle down and then he was fine for the day. And so began a trend that caused my heart great stress every morning. And it was all the garage door's fault...that thing was (is) so loud that it echoed through the bedrooms rousing even the deepest of sleepers. Joe did not want to wake the children to say goodbye because that meant an earlier morning for me, and he knew I needed my sleep. My children were good sleepers (after they passed the one year mark) and since I am not a morning person, I appreciated every extra minute they gave me to sleep a little longer. Some nights were rough with the newborns, well, actually, many nights were rough with the newborns, so sleep was a precious commodity in our home. Maybe you can sense my apprehension about the loud hum of the garage door, but as soon as it began, I would hear the thud of little feet hitting the floor, heavy footsteps racing down the hallway, and the panicked voice of a four year old calling, "Daddy! Don't go! I need to wave to you!"
The front door would fling open and slam against the wall, and then the storm door would bang shut as he raced outside. Sometimes he caught him and other times he did not. If he did not get a wave back, then the tears flowed abundantly and my heart ached with the sounds of his cries. It became so bad that I had to ask Joe to slip out the front door, quietly closing it behind him so he would not wake the children. And it worked! As long as Joe remembered to go out the front door, which I reminded him every morning when he kissed me goodbye, everything was fine. (I find it ironic that now it takes almost every ounce of strength to drag JJ out of bed - forget the garage door or waving to Daddy now!)
I am not sure why I remembered that particular memory this morning, but the topic of little ones has been a subject extra close to my heart this week. I love my children dearly, and love (almost) every new adventure we go on through life, yet I miss those babyish years, when they were constantly saying funny things to make me laugh, or giving me their toothless little grins. The family with the four children from church whom I used to watch quite often, moved away and I miss their happy faces. Joe's sister is moving away with her two little ones and though I do not see them very often already, I will miss their cute faces and little giggles as they play with their cousins.
I guess I just miss little ones. I know I got irritated and angry many times, but the struggles of those days are like distant memories now. I thought the days of little children crying and arguing would never end, and that I would never ever be able to sleep through a night again, but here I am getting full nights of sleep, though I would not say the days of arguing are over. Children are children no matter how old and constantly need lots of prayer.
But seeing what one of the families in our church is going through right now puts the entire matter into perspective. Hearts are extremely heavy as we share their burden that their precious baby girl might see Jesus's face sooner than later. I cannot imagine having to endure that kind of heartache. I lost a baby due to miscarriage after my second child, but I was only six weeks along and never did get to see, hold, or kiss the face of that little one. Baby Katelyn is almost a year and cannot walk, nor even move her little muscles due to the nasty disease of muscular atrophy. Yet, she smiles and always looks so happy in her pictures. We are praying for a miracle for this little one, and would love to have you join in our prayers. Take the time to love those around you. Do not let little minor issues take your joy away from enjoying those special moments with your children. Kiss their faces. Laugh with them. Snuggle with them. Keep them close to your heart. You do not know the plan God has for you or for those children that He has given to you on loan. Do your best with them. Teach them the ways of the Lord. Write down everything they say and do or else you will forget. And give more hugs and kisses. Never let a garage door stand in your way. Just give those kisses whether they are sleeping or awake. Because one day, it will all be a distant memory, for this stage shall pass all to quickly.
I know. The picture is of a banana peel and not a fruit snack. That is perfectly fine, because it all comes from the same attitude. Besides, finding a picture of a fruit snack is extremely hard. Anyway, it gives you an idea of what I deal with all day: cookie crumbs, spilled juice, pieces of paper from art scattered everywhere, glue stuck to the tables and desks, glitter, glitter, and more glitter (will it ever stop appearing? Never again!!!!), small balls of brightly colored nerd candy, popcorn seeds, chalkboard dust, drops of hand sanitizer that leave white spots all over the floor, and of course, fruit snacks! You would think after having five children so close together would have caused me to not care about messes, but my desire for neat rooms has not dissipated. I admit I have lightened up quite a bit, but when a lumpy piece of sticky fruit snack ends up under my shoe, sometimes even I cannot take anymore. It had been a crazy day already with our field trip to the apple orchard. We went on a hay ride and got to see a petting zoo that really was not a petting zoo at all. The ponies cooperated and let me pet their ears, but the goats remained inside their barn and just stared at me through the door. The poor ducks and chicken in their small pens and muddy pool water only looked at me with sad eyes that said, "Please let us out to run!"
Do not get me wrong - it was great to get out of the classroom. It was very enjoyable to view the beautiful autumn day and gorgeous leaves that dotted the landscape with a rainbow of color. Every so often I see a tree that takes my breath away with its vivid color that simply makes it pop. I have no idea when Connecticut will be at its peak color, but I am sure it will be soon, and then will come the drab, brown nakedness of winter. I am enjoying the last bit of vibrant color while I can.
So, I made chocolate chip cookies tonight. It seemed a fitting end to a long week. The first batch was gone before the last one ever hit the cooling rack. The children, and our neighbor Don, enjoyed them straight out of the oven. It was what we all needed. Comfort food. Kind of like the chicken pot pie I made yesterday for dinner...cooler weather plus rough, sticky weeks at school equals comfort food. Especially after having to do art class with the kindergarten through second grade twice in a week...now THAT calls for some thing to ease the stress off my shoulders. Hearing twelve children calling my name at the same time every second they needed help with their Christopher Columbus boats was a bit nerve wracking. Usually I do art with the children on Monday afternoon's, but we have next Monday off, yahoo!, so we decided to do next week's project today. Glad that is over with!
I am so glad that even in the midst of craziness and artime chaos I can be sure that my Lord is with me, waiting for me to call on His Name for help any moment of the day. God's love for me is so deep that nothing can separate me from it; not even a fruit snack stuck on my shoe can ever change that.