Tonight the sun is glowing orange, painting red and purple lines across the mountains. I took my camera and walked the farm with the cool of the day at my back. I was snapping photos of the pigs and the donkey and Kitkat and the way the light shimmered through the hay fields, enjoying the slivered moments of perfection. And in the quiet the past weeks and days caught up with me.
It was two days ago when I realized that I was fighting a silent battle with God. That deep in my heart I was waging war on the transformation and surrender He was requiring of me.
A month had passed since I publicly asked God to give me children. A month since the day that I broke the three year silence and finally asked Him, again, to grant me my heart’s desire. I did it with a nonchalant air but in truth? My hands were shaking. So quickly and effectively, I pushed it all from my mind. I lived day-to-day with a shield around myself because deep down I was so afraid that He would say no.
Have you ever done that? Stepped out in faith and then cowered in fear?
In the weeks that followed, mountains moved. It started with an early morning call and then life turned upside down as I found myself caring for a little three year old boy. Just an afternoon. Then another. Days ran together and our lives opened and pulled in this hurting little one.
I drove to town one day and glanced at the backseat full of boys; the two that I’ve watched for years and this new child. I was singing a silly song about being eaten by a boa constrictor and they were giggling and kicking their feet in glee and something warm and gentle said, “This is your family. All your boys together. Now teach them and love them.”
I should have stopped the vehicle right there, raised my hands, and offered praise and glory to the God who works miracles and hears broken prayers.
But I didn’t. I grew silent and angry.
I gathered up this new little one and told him that Jesus loves him… and I closed my heart tight to loving him too. Because this wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want my child to have another mother. I didn’t want to give myself over and over again to a little one that may be here today and gone tomorrow. I didn’t want to pour love and affection and dreams into a baby that will probably disappear from my life in the future, who will never call me Mama, who will most likely unlearn everything I teach him. A child that would feel like my own but I would still have to stand by and watch the parents make all the decisions without any say.
I’ve already done all that, you know. Over and over and over again. Children come and leave and forget. People shrug their shoulders and say that I could never understand true mother-love unless I had a child of my own. And some days I hate it so much that my heart cracks with the agony of it.
I knew what God would say. I knew the questions He would ask and the gentle way He would turn my heart back to light and truth. So I turned my head and walked on, choosing to stumble on the leftover stone piles from the mountain that was no longer in place.
But truth has a way of pushing itself in, even when we don’t want to face it.
And the truth is that sometimes loving hurts but we are still called to love.
All children are gifts of the moment.
All children come and go. They can accept or reject what you’ve told them. They can be here today and gone tomorrow,. But that doesn’t change what we are called to do for this moment. We are called to love. Without thought or worry for our own hearts.
For it is in the loving that our hearts are transformed.
It is in the loving that our eyes are opened to the miracles.
The moment when I smile and call him “my boy” and he wraps his arms tight around me. The moment when I whisper stories about Jesus and he looks up at me and says, “Love?” and I get to rock him back and forth and say, “Yes, yes. Jesus loves you. He does. He does.”
It is teaching them how to wash dishes and plant gardens and the day when he says, “What animals do I have?” like all the creatures in the barn are his very own and he has a place and belongs.
And it doesn’t matter if it only lasts today. Because today is really all we have. Today to worship God. Today to honor Him and bring Him glory. Today to love with His love.
It still hurts and I hate the thought of preschool starting and my littles being sent off to other teachers and influences. I hate the knowledge that tomorrow none of my babies may show up and there is nothing I can do about it. And my love, this aching part of my heart, will travel with them wherever they go, just like all the little ones that I loved before them.
But I’m not loving them for me.
Isn’t that the end truth that eases the hurt?
I’m not loving them for me. Because selfish love isn’t really Love at all.
I’m loving them for Him. For the Creator of the little boys who sit each day in my car seats and laugh when I sing silly songs. The One who carefully knit them together in their mother’s wombs. The One who has a plan and purpose for their lives. The One who is, even now, working to draw them to Himself.
And I want to take this moment to do what I should have done weeks ago: to glorify and praise the wondrous God who works miracles, moves mountains and hears the desperate broken prayers of my heart.
The God who filled my home with children, even if it is in different way than I desired.
The God who, once again, made me a mother.