Friday, April 13, 2012

Careful

I met with some ministry partners yesterday after lunch.  It was a planning meeting.  But first, as any group of women typically do, we talked about parenting.  Around the table, there was a mom whose kids have grown and gone.  Then there was a mom whose kids are all still in elementary school.  A couple of us have kids representing a broad spectrum of age groups.  And there was a fresh, new mom ... with her snugly, snoozing sweetheart in tow. 

We did eventually begin to plan and dream.  I love the wonder of brainstorming ... God revealing Himself and His plan as sisters share the overflow of their hearts and minds.

At some point during the meeting, I had non-verbally convinced my new-mom friend to let me hold her darling.  Few can reckon with my full-blown pouty face followed by a cheesy grin.
There is nothing on this earth like the soft warm squish of a sleeping newborn. One woman remarked with her signature East Texan charm, "You know there's only two rules when it comes to girl babies.  Number one:  Never lay 'em down.  And Number two: No bow is too big!"

As the meeting adjourned, and the mom-talk continued, I barely noticed I was still instinctively bouncing ever-so-slightly and swaying in my seat as I listened and talked.  The young mom began to gather her things.  She stared at me patiently... waiting ... "OH!  I have your baby!" I yelped as I crashed back into consciousness.  I teased with her, "Don't you have some errands to run or something?  We're not quite through being sweet with each other."  I rocked my arms sideways, stroked the soft black hair, and straightened the crisp pink bow.

When she didn't snatch the baby out of my crazy-lady arms, I figured there was a slight possibility that she might actually have a legitimate errand or two.  I said I was serious.  She asked if I was really serious.  And then she laid down the diaper bag, set the carrier aside, and said, "Thanks!  I won't be long."

She returned to find some of us still talking, and her baby still sleeping.  She sat down to marvel at how quickly that went without having to load and unload and reload the baby and her stuff.  Then she had a momentary lapse in confidence: "Do y'all think I'm a bad mom for just handing you my baby and leaving."  We responded with a chorus of coos and unanimous reassurance: "No, of course not!"

Motherhood is all about the handing and the leaving.

We hold children in our hands,
and later by their hands,
and ultimately we hand them off to be on their own. 

They leave our womb. 
They leave our sphere of control. 
They ultimately leave our home.

I have to stop and say, that sometimes our womb is not a part of the journey...there is an empty ache that adoptive parents know full well.  But birth mothers face the whole of handing and leaving in those first moments ... I wonder if the hole of handing and leaving remains.
Motherhood is all about the trust.

Before conception, there is a handing over.  Whether by way of biology or dossier, the entire desire and process of parenting must be handed over to Creator God. 

And we must leave so much at His feet.  We leave our doubts, our fears.
We leave our preferences and expectancies. We leave our pride. 
We leave our successes and failures there.  And we grab on to faith. 
We leave the absolute outcome with Him.  We trust Him.

Loving moms care for their children.  Loving moms carefully entrust their children to trustworthy folks.  Loving moms care about the decisions their children make.  Loving moms cast their own cares upon the One who knows best.  The character of His parenting could be summed up like this...  When it comes to His children, Number one: "Never let 'em down", and Number two: "No foe is too big."

"To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in You I trust, O my God. 
Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.
Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths;
Guide me in your truth and teach me. 
My hope is in you all day long. 
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
 -Psalm 25,23