Learning from babies…
I have been so blessed lately. Those little quilts I worked on last Fall are making their way to the little babies I was stitching them for. In these last three months, four new little ones have been born into my family circle! Those little ones have a lot to teach us if we are willing to learn.
The birth process is hard. It can be painful and takes a long time. There are all kinds of questions and not a lot of answers. How long will this take? How and when will it all take place? Will there be any problems that I may or may not be able to overcome?
A new favorite quote of mine is by Thomas Merton, “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.”
There are no life experiences that validate the need to put those words into action more than being with a woman as she labors for her yet unborn, being with a sinner realizing they need to be born-again and at the bedside of the dying. I’ve witnessed all three and what I found to be true is there can be a helpless feeling of no control whatsoever. A place where trust in God is downright crucial. The emergency room of the soul.
Thomas Merton, “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith, and hope.”
It can be easy to live in the ordinary days without a crucial need for God and I’ve done it. I’ve repented of it because, really, isn’t it in the ordinary days that we fill ourselves with what we need to survive extraordinary days that ask more of us than we think we have to give? To be vessels that can hold the grace of God, poised and ready to pass it on to others He has placed in our paths. We can be the proof that God is good and good to us and good at being God. (A bit of wisdom from Lysa Terkeurst’s book “Uninvited.”)
I’ve held babies, felt the warm softness of their brand new bodies in my arms. Listened to some of the first breaths they have taken of earth’s atmosphere. Their complete vulnerability creates in those surrounding them a strong, protective love. Indescribable, yet completely known and felt. They teach me anew to trust love. Reminding me of how my heavenly Father, came to us in just the same vulnerability. What kind of love is that? A love that caused God to leave the glory of heaven to be one of us? To start out as we start out, yet in the humblest of birthing rooms.
I’ve kneeled beside precious ones who surrendered to Christ for their rebirth. Listened to their prayers for Jesus to save their souls and give them eternal life. Those babes in Christ who finally make the most important decision of their lives. The blessing of this, there are no words for. The privilege of witnessing the mercy and grace of God. Sometimes it is the simple prayer of child, in faith accepting early in their life journey, the gift of salvation. Sometimes it is when a very hardened, older soul, gets softened and breaks open and receives what they have been searching for in all the wrong places. Same blessing.
I’ve sat at the bedside of souls ready to meet their Maker. I’ve watched their agonal respirations and prayed that God would shorten the time because it is so difficult to witness, and much more difficult for them to endure. This passage over to Glory. It only seems right that they not be alone. Not have a witness. Then the quiet when they are “gone.” To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, (2 Corinthians 5:8), and isn’t that the very best place of all?
Babies teach us that God loves us and wants the love and life to go on. Watching them reminds me of Psalm 8:2, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger.” The enemy makes me want to give up hope; that death is the end and there is just no reason to choose to be hopeful. But one look into the face of a new baby and hopelessness is silenced. Babies are the proof that God is good.
The opportunities for me to experience those three life events can be few and far between. With a lot of ordinary days in-between. God knows and schedules my days. I need to always be willing to use those days to prepare my heart, noticing in the small, yet holy ways He teaches me about His true love. In this “meantime,” I am going to spend a lot of my time with babies. Learning from them, loving on them and using what they teach me in my own one life here.