Miracles don't always happen in a moment. Often they grow up under your feet, blossom and find their beauty so subtly that you wonder when they happened and how you didn't notice.
Yesterday, a fellow blogger asked her friends to tell her about meaningful ornaments on their Christmas trees.
It wasn’t difficult for me to choose even though the Christmas tree at our house chronicles memories of life since I grew up. My very favorites are the baby shoes that hang there every year.
This year the tree stands decorated with no admirers to lean into its light, into the memories hung there. It is sad, but it is true.
When I hung Annie’s baby shoes on the tree this year, I remembered her grandfather gave them to her. His sickness almost twenty-six years later hasn’t given us the opportunity to sit the in the glow of the season.
Yesterday, I thought about Christmas all those years ago, my first pregnancy had been a surprise. My due date was before Christmas, but she was taking her time. I grinned at the irony of the surprise---Annie hates surprises. But she was one, a blessed one, one that we could not afford.
It was just after Christmas when my baby girl wailed her way into this world, her head bruised and her lip quivering.
God’s plans are always better than ours. And though we were poor, we had all we needed. I was blessed with a precious little friend who kept me company while her Daddy finished medical school and residency.
Now the miracle---the little girl whose toes curled into those white patent shoes has grown up and become a beautiful mother---despite me.
I once wrote that I mothered “fat over lean.” It is an art term that describes painting with oil-based paints a thin layer at time. This technique builds until the painting reveals its beauty with all of its depth of color and texture.
I didn’t read parenting books. I learned as she grew. I counted to three--and I didn’t count slowly. Three meant timeout. Always.
Annie sat on the edge of her chair with her feet just above the floor and taunted me. I stepped into the kitchen and laughed.
When she was two, she hung her head over her training potty mimicking my morning sickness when her brother was being wonderfully made in this mother’s womb. She stood beside me in the pink bathroom in her nightgown, a baby doll under her arm, leaning over and "heaving," sharing my burden, feeling my pain.
She was cute and precocious, a little talker and singer, who prayed the Lord’s Prayer and placed her hand over her heart and pledged allegiance to the flag at the age of three.
The little girl with the blond curly locks is now raising her own girls. Somehow, by God’s grace, we made it through the teen years, which meant she had to endure my recovery from a deep and debilitating depression. My heart aches to think of the toll my brokenness must have taken on her heart, days when she was growing from a girl into a woman, putting the pieces into place in her own life, while I was doing my own piecing back together.
Grace. Looking back, there was so much grace.
The great promise of Romans 8:27 is true. God works all things together for good. Even though life didn’t go perfectly, even with the pain of a broken mother, all is redeemed. We loved God during the brokenness, and by His grace, all has worked to our good---and I believe to His glory.
Now my little girl is a miracle mom of a once broken mother. She mothers with grace and consistency. She celebrates the innocence and the wonder of her little ones. She chronicles the joys of days and moments, quotable, whimsical musings from the mouths of her babes. She lives to the full in the blessings she has been given.
I look from my place in the rocking chair and I am amazed at the way she mothers and I am so very proud…and thankful. She is my joy.
There are mothers I pray for who don’t have their babies. Some of their babies are in heaven. Those hearts have a hole that only Hope can fill.
Others wait for their babies who live far from the arms that ache to hold them. Paperwork keeps them in orphanages a world away. I pray for these mothers who can’t write their baby's quotable moments or chronicle their cuteness on Instagram.
Still I believe the same promise for those mothers as I have seen come in its fullness in my life, in Annie's, the promises of God are “Yes! and Amen!”
I believe this Christmas season…
“…that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NASB)As long as I have a Christmas tree, Annie's shoes will hang tucked in the lights and among the ornaments collected over of a lifetime. Jared and Luke's will hang there too.
How amazing for Mary that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus! Amazing that God chose the birth canal to enter this broken world to become like us so that he could save us.
Immanuel, God with us…the greatest miracle of all.
(Ya’ll know I was trying to be creative about the rocking chair!! I rock with my grandbabies when we are dancing! How we do love dancing!)
Do you have a special ornament or a beautiful miracle? Do you need to believe that God redeems the broken? God bless you my friends and Merry Christmas.
Linking with Laura at The Wellspring.