Twenty-two years ago today I gave birth for the first time. She was a healthy baby girl. I remember gazing at her sleeping in her little bassinet next to my hospital bed. I was suddenly overwhelmed with the gravity of the situation. My husband and I had chosen to have a baby. We had done all the prenatal care, childbirth classes, and reading we were supposed to do, but suddenly it was real.
To be fair, my husband brought a delightful young boy to our marriage. He had been through this experience before. It was not new to him. And, for over two years, I had been sharing the responsibility for our son’s life, but this was different. This was flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.
What if I messed up?
Well any parent out there who is alive and breathing knows that in twenty-two years I have indeed ‘messed up’. Parenting isn’t pretty. It has beautiful moments, true, but as a whole, it’s a series of decisions, hugs, tears, guesses, steps, missteps, apologies, kisses, and prayers. And somehow, miraculously, we are blessed with human beings that in some ways resemble us, in other ways surpass us. They make us proud, worried, amazed, confused, and humble.
The one we are celebrating today has a very tender heart. Her name, which we gave her, means ‘full of grace, mercy, and prayer’. She has the kind of grace that loves people. She especially loves those who have been overlooked, especially children who have been overlooked. She has mercy on them. She sits down with them, looks them in the eyes, and listens to them. She prays for them. She prays with them.
She’s not perfect. She’s kind of loud, she’s pretty goofy, and she’s clumsy. She’s pretty hard on herself.
So today I pray for her that she will see the One who loves her, even when she feels overlooked. I pray that she will sense Him sitting down with her, looking her in the eyes, and listening to her. I pray that she will know that I am praying for her and with her.
She’s not perfect, but she’s perfectly His, and amazingly ours.
Children are a heritage of the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.