Every morning, my two year old little girl wakes up on her own and when we hear her clapping from the other side of the door, we know she is ready to get up and play. We do this thing where she pretends to jump out of her crib, and we lift her high up so she thinks she in fact did jump out of her crib. She runs to find Mommy or Daddy - whoever didn't get her out of bed. She eats breakfast and the rest of the day is spent in some serious play. She is noisy, rambunctious, ambitious, orderly, a little wild, energetic, and very affectionate. Her little mind goes 1000 miles a minute as she processes and learns about the world around her. We end each day rocking and singing to her. She likes to sing along to "Nothing but the blood of Jesus".
Every morning, my 8 week old daughter wakes up on her own. When we hear her grunting from her pack n play at the foot of our bed, we know she is ready to get up and eat. She scrunches up her face when I first pick her up. She looks at me through rapidly blinking, but mostly closed eyes, as she tries to figure out what is happening. I snuggle her soft fuzzy head against my neck. She cries loudly to tell me just how hungry she is. The rest of the day is spent napping, eating, lying down on the floor, looking around, getting diaper changes, and listening to her big sister's speeches. She likes to smile at me when I change her diaper. She almosts laughs when Reagan softly strokes her face. We end the day rocking in a chair together until she is sound asleep and I lay her down. I fall asleep to the sound of her breathing.
I'm very aware of my children. I watch them. I pay attention to them. I like to think that I do not take a single day for granted. I am treasuring moments - storing them up in my heart. Feeling frustrated and glad that life seems like it will always be this way. I like to believe that I know better than most people what a wonderful precious gift my girls are to me. But the honest truth is that I am not grateful enough for my daughters.
There are children all around us who are fighting for their lives. There are babies who are abused by their parents. There are little girls who are diagnosed with cancer and have to undergo horrible chemotherapy treatments and countless doctor visits and hospital stays. There are little boys who battle with brain tumors and have to fight to stay alive after surgeries. There are children who are not well. We live in a sinful world. The evidence of this to me is most clear in sick children. Children who could not possibly have earned the misery they live through each day. Children who do not deserve the battles they have to fight.
And here I sit, with two beautiful and healthy daughters. People who have sick children look at me and though they would never say it out loud, think that I do not have the slightest clue how incredibly fortunate we are to have healthy kids. They would be right. I don't have the slightest clue. But sometimes when I read their stories or here about them on the news, I am reminded of just how insufficient my "thanks" are when it comes to my girls.
Lord, I am thankful. And though I could never be thankful enough, I want you to know that I do love my little girls and I am aware that their health, strength and vibrance is a wonderful thing I should treasure deeply. I could never thank you enough for them. But to the extent my heart will allow, I praise you for them. I thank you for them. I do not deserve them. But you give me lots of wonderful things I do not deserve. Not the least of which is grace. Even in the midst of pain and darkness, you are still good. You are good because you give us that grace - that no matter what we go through or don't go through here...you will be there at the end of it all to carry us home.