Last weekend I got a fortuitous treat. A friend from church emailed me rather last minute, asking if my girls and I could babysit her children for her. She has a two-year old (almost three), and five month old twins. Although I was tired, I said 'yes,' of course. Not out of an inability to say 'no', but more than anything because I saw in this an answer to prayer. One of my girls is a natural nurturer, but for the other, this is an area in which I have asked the Lord to provide opportunities for work in her heart. And so I made coffee and off we went.
Once we'd arrived, the Mommy took me through all the things we might expect in a typical evening with her little ones, her sincere and tender love for them shown through so endearingly. I nodded and appreciated the sweetness that I recognized and understood. Her words and manner brought out in me remembrances. You know how the certain smells and sights and sounds evoke the sensibilities of things past? Her mother's care in speech and delight warmed the recollections of years gone by for me when my own were small enough to hold in my arms.
Inside? Well inside, I was jumping up and down. I couldn't wait to hold those babies, whisper and sing to them, talk and encourage smiles and gurgles from them. My girls and I waved as the parents left for their evening of celebration with a family member. Then I shut the door and embraced my role of fairy godmother, rejoicing in merry-making of my own. I talked my daughters through the care of these little ones, seeking to inspire and encourage the love of children in them. I changed diapers, fed bottles, rocked babies (oh, what pleasure there is in a rocking chair!), soothed them, read stories, sang songs, and relished the joy of this task. It was a triple gift - for my friend a night away, for my daughters an opportunity to experience babysitting, and for me... well, I think I received more out of the evening than anyone else, and as we drove home I sighed happily in deep contentment, expressing quiet thanks in my heart.
Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily. ~Sally Koch~