Be careful! Never forget what you have seen the LORD do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.
Yesterday I got a note from a young mother who reads my words in the early morning hours as she is nursing her baby. She had carved out time to write me in one of those rare moments when her two-year-old was napping and her six-month-old was playing contentedly.
And I felt as if I’d been given a treasured gift. As if this woman somehow knew I needed something only she could give… and she weighed the repercussions, thought about what it would cost her… and gave away her time wrapped in loving words, courage giving words.
I found myself thinking about her early this morning, praying that God would give back to her one hundred times what she gave to me. Because she’s one of my girls now, though we have never met, and I see her as I write.
If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure,
Pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over.
Whatever measure you use in giving— large or small— it will be used to measure what is given back to you.
She just let me know that my life is making a difference. That my words have helped. That her life is better now because of me. That my stories, all of them about “what I have seen the LORD do…” have helped her to notice the same.
I see her in my mind… toys strewn around the room, dishes piled in the sink, a dishwasher needing emptying. I see the diapers bought in bulk and I wonder how many hours of her week are spent in front of the changing table, wiping bottoms, soothing fussy babies, trying to get the toddler to hold still.
And I wonder if she could have possibly known this time was coming. When she was studying for an exam at a university far away, dreaming great dreams, trying on her wedding dress amidst giggling friends. She couldn’t see these days.
And then I see her later.
Still beautiful, but with that kind of worn-in beauty now.
You know what I mean: crinkles along her eyes, but her cheeks are smooth, her smile welcoming. She’s a woman comfortable in her never-perfect skin.
The kind who looks elegant because she wants to— first thing in the morning while she’s sharing a cup of coffee with her husband, and then later as she’s doing something— something significant, something important that requires the skills of a capable woman who has lived well and wisely.
And I wish she could see what I see.
I wish she could know that someday she’ll have hours and hours to write notes and give courage. That younger women will need her stories then, that she will be the one with “more life-giving encouraging words” from “lessons learned” as she so beautifully wrote.
I wish I could hold her when the storms come, when the doubts and worries and grief keep her awake at night. I wish I could point her to the words God has used to feed me full in the early morning hours when it’s just Him and I.
I wish I could bring her with me this week as I prepare to entrust my baby boy— the one grown tall and strong now— into the capable hands of a woman who will commit the rest of her life to him.
I wish she could see me as I pick up my once-babies at the airport, as we hug long and close, as we cry and laugh and empty our words all over each other.
I wish she could see how all those hours were worth it.
That out of the loneliness comes an intimacy that cannot be bought or achieved or had in any other way than what she’s doing now. That the babies whose bottoms I wiped are now my best friends, my stalwart loyalists.
I wish she could see that my baby boys, those toddlers who didn’t nap when I wanted them to, who worried me every day for too many years— how they grew up and they married the best of women. I wish she could see how those girls are now my girls. Women who love me too, just because of all those lonely hours when all I did was work and nurse and rock and take care of the boys who would become their men.
I wish she could see the future while she’s in her present because the future turns the present into the best days of her life.
Not the easiest— never that— but the most valuable, the most effective, the most investment-worthy.
I am like a wealthy man who looks back and sees the brilliance of the risk he took early on when the company whose stocks he went without extras to buy, went world-wide and made him richer than he ever could have imagined.
Because I am richer than I ever could have imagined. And this is one of those weeks when I am counting the gold. And someday she will too. But she won’t have enough time to count it all because her kids will be calling her to come, to talk, to see, to be a part of the beautiful times of their lives. Because she’s mom. Because she did what she needed to do, and then did more. And then did it again.
I wish she could see…
From my heart,
P.S. If you are one of those who “needs to see that the future turns the present into the best of days”, will you let me know? I would be honored to pray for you even as I relish my present-future.