Earlier this week, Z had a bad cough, and one night he woke up several times with it, calling for Mommy to come help him go back to sleep. At one point, in the middle of the night, as I sat on his bed, helping him to calm down, singing to him and rubbing his back, willing him to go back to sleep and basically wishing that I could sleep instead of cherishing the sweet moment, a far-off memory came back to me.
I have always wanted children, for as long as I can remember. I've been ready to have a baby since I was twelve years old. Okay, well, maybe not READY for that long...but you get the picture. After about a year and a half of marriage, I began to seriously, deeply long for God to bless us with a child - I just wanted to be a mother SO badly.
We had been married for almost two years when I began working at a daycare. During naptime, my job was to go around to each child as they were going to sleep and pat their backs to help them fall asleep. Some of them preferred their backs rubbed instead of patted, and one particularly high-strung little preschooler needed his face stroked, down from forehead to cheek, down the nose, down forehead to cheek again.
One day as I sat by his cot, stroking his face, willing the sandman to come, and smiling gently at him when his not-quite-sleepy-yet eyes would open, I was choked with tears, and I asked God, "How long, Lord? How long until it's my turn? When will I sit by my own child, and stroke their face as they fall asleep?"
And God smiled, because He knew. He had a perfect plan for me, and I couldn't see it, but He could.
Another long-forgotten memory came to my mind today. As Hubby and I were visiting the church we now attend one Sunday morning, another young couple was also visiting. At this time, we had been married almost three years, and the 'itch' was a full-blown aching desire, always present. Mother's Days were torture. Anyhow, the young couple sat down in front of us, with their preciously adorable baby boy (who will be FIVE this summer). They held him in their laps, and he looked over their shoulders. They gazed oh-so-sweetly at him, exchanged smiling looks with each other, and traded him back and forth during the service. I remember my now-friend looked so sweet, and I really wanted to talk to her after the service, but I was so envious of her gorgeous baby that I could not. Instead I had to retreat to the bathroom.
I'm not sure why I'm sharing this today. It just came to my mind, and I haven't shared a lot about our journey to parenting that seemed so long and difficult at the time. But maybe my waiting and wanting, and the finally having, being blessed in God's perfect timing nearly five years after we were married, will encourage someone who is waiting and wanting today.
And if you're not waiting or wanting, but you know someone who is, or a young childless couple who might be, what can you do to encourage them? First of all, pray for them. Ask God to bless them in His perfect time, and to give them peace and faith in the waiting. And second, there are certain things that are better left unsaid, just in case, such as "When are YOU guys going to have kids, huh?" or "You guys are so lucky that you don't have kids to tie you down - I wish we were kidless again!" These things may be said only out of jest, or in love, but they still hurt.
And remember, as I am trying to, what God-given blessings our little ones truly are. There are so many who wish they were up nights with a screaming baby or pray that God will bless them with a contrary toddler to discipline.
Thank you, Lord, so much, for my babies. Thank you for answering my heart's cry in Your perfect time, and for the way you grew our faith in the waiting.