And my personal favorite, "You can count on at least one of them breaking your heart."
Don't say that! I shouted in my head as I looked back into eyes that seemed to possess a knowing that I could not completely discount. Their story need NOT be mine. They didn't know all of this as a fact. And even if it were to be (and I wasn't convinced of this,) I did not want to 'go there' until that day came.
I am here to tell you with all gentleness and love. It is true.
It does get harder. How little did I appreciate the fullness held within my own feeble frame to soothe a tired child, being able to run my hand up and down a back receptive to my ministrations, the proverbial kiss and band-aid that was able to speed the healing of all things. I thought I did, at least; but oh how much more there was in those small things. I wish to wring out every drop of sweetness in even one of those precious moments and sip of it again. The days pass, weaving intricate complexities and variations into our children's once unadulterated character while they learn to navigate the entanglements and convolutions of this world we walk in.
You will not be able to predict or envision all you will come up against in the days to come. While we all begin our roles in parenting as babes ourselves, eyes wide with surprise or bleary from lack of sleep, we enter this realm with a definitive upper hand. We at least come prepared with the experiences of our childhoods to draw from in a not-so-distant past. And with the passing of years, our confidence and hopefully wisdom grows with steadily acquired familiarity. That is a good thing, because you will need it in order to navigate the wilds that no other person knows - only that there will be these uncharted wilds.
This season of story books and nursery rhymes, strollers and wagons, jump ropes and jacks, simple adding and subtracting of gummy bears and grapes, dishing out plates and teaching them to clean up after themselves, listening to the simple wisdom and foolishness of a child, knowing that you hold the keys to so, so much and are their doorway to it all. This can not last forever. You know the fleetingness of it even as you hold them in your arms, but you can not know how it will feel for it to actually be 'the past'; even as you know it will be. This is a bittersweet truth. I know you know this one probably more than all the others, but still - treasure it while it is the day. If you do so, another deeper season can arise to replace it.
That last one, yes, it is true as well. I attest to you that if you love them well, each and every one of them will break your heart. If you share in their burdens and sorrows, their struggles and failures, their learning to reconcile their childhood hopes and dreams with the realities of a life and death struggle on the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual plane we call adulthood - your heart will be broken and you will know your powerlessness in a way that you never knew it before. However, you will also know your Savior in a way that only comes through this long-suffering passage of time and trust.
You can still be the one who whispers words of assurance and consolation, sharing tears of pain and applying succor for healing. As portended devils and calamities strike, you can meet them with the confidence that comes from knowing the One to whom they could never sneak up on unawares, and who assures with confidence that His strength is mightier than any monster. Your season can be one of valiant courage whereby every drop of your knee in stumbling helpless aid results in prayer, and rising comes by a strength greater than that you fell with. You will know the broken-heartedness of those who love with eternal hope.
For some time now, He has woken me in the night's hours to deepen my experience of this season. I rise to spend time with my Lord, Master, King, Provider, Guide, Enabler, Comforter, Teacher, Example, Lover, Savior, Redeemer. I join Him in a quiet hour or so, doing battle for, pouring my heart out for, and loving my children: in this harder, unpredictable season of heartbreaking love. Yesterday we sang these words of an old song, and I'd like to share them with you. All the warnings the mothers gave are true; but I am here to tell you - He's here and true as well.
- Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!The joys I feel, the bliss I share,Of those whose anxious spirits burnWith strong desires for thy return!With such I hasten to the placeWhere God my Savior shows His face,And gladly take my station there,And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
- Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!Thy wings shall my petition bearTo Him whose truth and faithfulnessEngage the waiting soul to bless.And since He bids me seek His face,Believe His Word and trust His grace,I’ll cast on Him my every care,And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!