Close to heaven…

Today I held on to you for just a bit longer before bedtime.

We were going through our normal routines and I was soaking up the remaining drops of you for the day.  I was saying my prayers for you, as usual, but suddenly the moment shifted.  I’m not sure what snapped me out of my normal train of thought, but suddenly I realized I was in holy territory.  Snuggled up in that glider in the corner, I was completely overcome by the awareness of what an absolute treasure you are to me.  My senses went on high alert and I tried to absorb every detail I could in that time.  I listened to your sweet, shallow breaths and watched your chest rise and fall.  I smiled at your legs stretched out with your feet crossed at the ankles.  I felt your precious hand rubbing mine and your hair tickling my arm.  Exhausted from a day filled with adventures, you melted into my lap and for but a brief moment, we were one.  I could just barely make out your profile in the light being cast from the hall and it literally took my breath away.  I thanked God over and over for this day, for this gift of you, and for the divine privilege of being your mama.

You are living grace to me.

For with all of my shortcomings, all of my flaws, my mistakes, my missteps…

With all of the ways I fall short, say the wrong things, and fail to love as selflessly as I so wish I could…

With the knowledge of every bit of this, God still gave me you.

Grace.

Divine grace and something I don’t ever want to take for granted.

I didn’t deserve you, but here you are…the weight of you in my arms reminding me of how incredibly blessed I am to be a child of His and a mama of yours.

So tonight, I lingered.  I closed my eyes and held on to you for just a little bit longer.  I breathed you in and with that, drew as close to heaven as humanly possible and said thank you for the millionth time for God’s incredible gift of you to me.

Letters to William

Oh my sweet babee…we had the best conversation on our walk today and I just had to write it down.  The day was beautiful–waning sunshine in the late afternoon sky and a refreshing chill in the air.  We took our usual loop around the neighborhood and what can I say?  God showed up.

I started pointing out how God has blessed us so abundantly through nature.  He could have given us only a few different animal species, but He didn’t.  He flooded the earth with millions of different types of creatures and as a result, we constantly encounter a variety of animal friends.  He could have limited our experience with one type of weather, but He didn’t.  He has given us seasons (yes, even in Florida!) so that just as we are tiring of one type of temperature, another is ushered in giving us a renewed energy and enthusiasm about where we live.

From there, we started talking about how incredible it is that the God who created ALL of that and more, wants to have a personal relationship with us.  I shared a verse that was a part of my morning Bible study–Jeremiah 33:3 which says “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”  Wow.  We definitely camped on that thought for awhile.  I pointed out that this one little verse tells us so much about our great and loving God.  First, it shows us that we can talk to Him.  We can do this wherever, whenever, and however.  Sometimes this means praying out loud like we do when we say our nightly prayers.  Other times this means praying in our minds when we are in the middle of a crowded room.  The means doesn’t matter, the fact is that we can always talk to Him.  This verse also shows us that God listens and hears us!  In order to answer someone, you have to hear what they say, so that means the Creator of Heaven and Earth is actively listening to our every word when we call to Him!  Is that amazing or what?!?  Finally, it shows that after hearing our calls to Him, He responds.  This relationship is not one-sided–we talk, He hears, and then He answers!  While the verse doesn’t promise that we will hear the audible voice of God, it does tell us that He responds.  Sometimes this is in that God voice we have in our heads and hearts while other times it is in things that happen around us.  I can attest to this firsthand, my love.  God speaks to me in both of those ways all. the. time.  He will do the same for you–keep your eyes, ears, and heart open.

Since we were on the topic of prayer, I shared another verse from my Bible study with you.  James 5:16 says “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  While it might seem CRAZY that God would listen to our prayers and answer them, the fact is He does.  Not only that, we can ask Him for ANYTHING that is on our hearts.  When you pray for something and God gives you what you asked for, please be sure to thank and praise Him!  We did this just this week because you had a cold and we prayed that God would make you feel better.  He did and we said THANK YOU to God for answering our prayer.  Just like I would expect you to thank a friend or a family member when they give you a gift, we must be sure to thank God when He gives us the gift of answered prayers.

That said–and please learn this early–we don’t always get what we ask for in prayer.  In the same way that I don’t give you everything you ask for because I know what is best for you, God answers our prayers according to what is best for us.  Yesterday you wanted to put the Christmas lights in your mouth.  I said “No” and you screamed in protest.  You just couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t let you do that–it looked like so much fun to you!  I think we can both agree, since you are alive to read these words, that I made the right choice in not giving you what you asked for.  ;0)  God works the same way.  We don’t often understand why He says no, but we can rest in the fact that He is faithful.  We can trust that if He says “no”, it is always for our benefit.  Oh lovebug, sometimes those “no’s” are SO hard.  I have cried many tears over requests that God has said no to over the years.  It’s so hard to understand why He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want Him to in the moment.  But every time that happens, after I stomp my feet and ask him “WHY??”, I rest at night knowing that He loves me and I trust that while I don’t understand why He said “no” I trust His will for my life.

We talked about how sometimes God answers prayers with “yes” other times with “no” and finally we have to talk about when God says “Not now.”  Sometimes God is willing to give us what we are asking of Him, but He wants to wait to give it to us on His time.  Oooh this is hard too.  Waiting is SUCH a bummer.  When we come up with something we want, we almost always want it immediately.  When God says “Not now” we have to be patient and trust that His timing is better than ours.  This is a hard concept to grasp, even for adults, so I broke it down a little further for you with the following example.  Let’s say you asked me to take you to Disney World.  I said “Not now” but you REALLY pushed and I gave in and decided to take you.  When we arrived at the park, the skies opened up and we were plagued with torrential rain for the rest of the day.  We ended up having to leave the park after only an hour because the weather was so bad.  Now…replay that same scenario, but this time I stick to my “Not now.”  I know the weather forecast and it’s going to be a horrible day to visit the park.  Instead, I opt to take you the next day and the weather is absolutely beautiful.  We are able to enjoy a full day of fun–something we would have missed out on if I honored your request on your timeline.  Remember: God ALWAYS has WAAAAAY more information than we do.  If He says, “Not now” it’s because He can see a benefit to waiting that we can’t.

Oh how I love these little chats with you.  You kept glancing up at me and cooing in a way that melted my heart.  Someday you will be an active participants in these talks and that just blows my mind.  I love you so much, lovebug.  Thanks for being incredible you.  I am beyond blessed to be your mama.

Letters to William

Babee Boy,

I hope one day you will know with every cell of your being, how much I delight in you.  Sure, I’m your mom and moms are “supposed” to love their babies, but saying that I love you doesn’t capture every dimension of the way I feel for you.  Because you see, I don’t just love you, I genuinely ENJOY you. I have spent every day with you (today marks 225) since you were born and I literally can’t get enough.  There is no where else I would rather be than hanging out with you on any given day of the week and I thank God constantly that He has blessed me with the privilege of being your mama.

Each and every day, you make me laugh and smile from deep within my heart.  Yesterday, we were playing in the backyard and Liza started to run around you.  Your eyes sparkled as you watched her tear around.  While you can’t yet walk, you were stomping your feet and pulling my arms as if you wanted to chase her.  Without warning, you let loose a series of giggles that brought me to my knees!!  You do joy so well, bud…I’m learning a lot about that from you.

You amaze me with your intelligence (already!) and I love watching you learn new things. You have loved books since you were just a couple of months old.  You will sit in my lap and let me read story after story to you and I absolutely treasure that time.  You recently started turning the pages as we read and I get so tickled by it.  When you are officially “over it” your page turning speed increases exponentially, further proving your exceptional problem solving ability.  ;0)

You melt my heart with your hugs and snuggles.  You stretch your arms up for me and when I scoop you up, you have this way of burying your head in my neck that makes me tear up almost every time.  When I lean in for a kiss, you put your sweet hands on my cheeks and pull my face to yours.  Honestly, I could cry just thinking about it.

When I hear your chirps in the morning, I don’t get to your door before a smile has overtaken my entire face in anticipation of seeing you.  I get positively giddy when I hear your little laugh of relief, knowing that you are being rescued from your crib once again.  I soak up every minute I have with you during the day and I’m going to be honest…when I lay you in your crib at night, there is a little pang of sadness in my heart knowing that our day is over.

Reading this, you might think that I love and delight in you for all of the things you do to make me smile.  You would be right, but only partially.  For you see, today was a tough day for you.  The tooth that is coming in is giving you fits and had you feeling tired and cranky.  There weren’t many laughs today and the smiles were labored.  Our playtime was dotted with fussy spells and you just weren’t yourself.  Even still, I found myself flooded with gratitude that I got to spend the day with you.  I didn’t wish the clock would hurry up or that bedtime would come sooner.  Even in the midst of a cloudy day, I still wanted to be no where else but doing life with you.  That, my boy, is delight.  It isn’t dependent on your mood or what you have to offer me.  I delight in you because of who you are, not what you do.

Someday, I hope you’ll understand but until such time, just know that without fail, every day I thank God for giving me you and blessing me with the privilege of being your mama.
The smile that melts my heart.