i'm sure i've written this post before. Somewhere in the archives of this blog, similar words will have been tapped into my computer and saved as they poured warm and fresh from my fingers...
And so, i hesitated to write this post yet again...
But i did... and it sat a couple of weeks marinating... like most posts do these days.
Elmer, at six and a half months, still rises frequently in the night - maybe a little remnant of his early nursing problems that he still needs to eat often... and it takes him quite a long time to finish. He was up at midnight, and i know i'll be up again before the other children rise from their beds. His weight is familiar in my arms - his sombre eyes meeting mine... softening into a smile as we connect in the semi-darkness.
"You won't regret this..." my voice rumbles audibly in the quietness of the very early morning as i hold him tenderly - and, as has become my habit, i kiss his forehead gently three times as he begins to nurse.
i won't regret treating this tiny son kindly - i won't regret waking to his call and tending to his needs. i won't regret smiling with bleary eyes half opened and shushing and patting that sweet raised bum as he drifts off again. i won't regret the days and nights i was a patient mama and i let myself soak in his babyhood.
There are plenty of things i regret about motherhood. i was so young and entitled as a young bride and mother... and it's a habit that is hard ended. i want to sleep, i want my house tidy, i want to eat my own food off my own plate...
But over these sweet decades, rising in the night... i've been forced to hand over sleep, my house and my food... so to learn to give it, freely, unbegrudgingly - even happily - for Elmer's sake - seems like some kind of miracle. Each one of these eight kids taught me to surrender - just a little bit more.
Elmer. Is it strange that when i say his name, my mind is drawn to my almighty God, El Shaddai... The One who saw fit to weave his little form together, The One who saw fit to sustain his little life when i was sure i was having another miscarriage... El Shaddai, the all sufficient God, is The One who continues to give and to take and whose plan for my tiny son was formed before Elmer's little life even began.
i was sitting in a pew in a church holding Elmer in my arms. Music swelled around me as i grappled with God over another child -the small woman - who earlier in the day, refused to let me hold her. Tears spilled over cheeks as i surrendered it all to my Father. My mind reached for scripture to pray over her in these tempestuous years and inwardly i sighed, "But what does God know of motherhood anyway?"
Immediately the scripture sprang to mind, "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing."
He knew exactly how i felt - and how i longed for her to find solace in the safety of my arms.
And He knows... my Shepherd - my all sufficient El Shaddai... the heart of a mother- the sleepless nights, the tending of needs, the comforting, cradling hold...
And - oh, could there be a more delicious relief than the knowledge i carry; that i can surrender each one of my little ones to be sheltered under His wings as i myself find my refuge there as well.
And i shush and i pat... i nurse and i grow and stretch to meet another little set of needs.
i'm seen by God - as He croons to me in the night.
And i won't regret this.