This doesn’t really fit in with my recent string of posts about our babies, except that it is a look at how a baby should be celebrated. When I say that, I’m not soliciting any of you to show up at the hospital in four and a half months (oh my gosh, only four and half months left!) with bubbly in hand, but I just feel like this stuff needs to be said.
The prompt? I got a phone call from a friend today that blew me away. Now, when I say friend, I use that term with a Jesus context. I have known her since we joined our church eight years ago. I have taught her kids; she has clothed mine in some of the best-cared-for hand-me-downs I’ve ever seen. We have birthdays just a day apart. We attend the same Sunday School class. However, we don’t hang out. We’ve attended a Bible study or two together, but we aren’t really close. She is more than an acquaintance to me, but she isn’t a bestie. Which is why her call took me by surprise today. She started by saying, “My husband and I have been trying to think of a baby gift to give you.” Stop there. This is baby #8. There aren’t many people that give gifts when you’ve got this many. Family, really close friends, and our beloved nursery workers, maybe, but even then, not ALL family members and friends. The other thing that stopped me was her wording, “we were thinking of a baby gift to give you”. A joint conversation between a woman and her HUSBAND about a baby gift, and one that involved thought, not just the “We’ll buy a box of diapers and do our part” kind of thing. This was her offer, which I might add, she has already started planning. She, her husband, and six other better-than-acquaintances-but-not-quite-besties, along with one of my very besties (though she did not originate the idea) have offered an afternoon playdate with our kids once a month for the remainder of my pregnancy to give Adam and me TIME. In addition to childcare, they are offering any help in cleaning, building, or other home projects that we just haven’t been able to tackle. Now, I realize that there isn’t a penny invested in this venture, but it is the MOST VALUABLE gift we could ever be given! Time. People loving and caring for our kids for a few hours without it costing us one of the kids’ savings. Help, without anything expected in return. For baby #8. Did you hear that? Baby number EIGHT. Wow. (Side note, amongst these friends, they have the same number of children that we will have when this baby is born. These aren’t people in the trenches of large family living that get it and want to help. They just get it and want to help. They are willing to take on SEVEN more kids for an afternoon for US.)
Now, I digressed a bit, but to me, this offer was a bit of celebration over the life of our eighth baby. You’ve all heard the murmurs and whispers about women receiving a second baby shower. Ask Ms. Manners, and she’ll tell you how awful that is. BUT, it’s not about the stuff. It’s about celebrating that new life. S/he will be our eighth child, but s/he will be our first Mary or Issac (should know next Monday which!). I promise you, no two children of mine are alike! I love that these friends (because acquaintances don’t do things like this) want to be Jesus by giving of themselves in celebration of my baby. Wow.
It made me think of this blogger who I love to follow. Her name is Kelle Hampton, and she has a blog called Enjoy the Small Things. This girl loves soaking up all the moments in life and celebrating them. This link is to her second daughter’s birth story, which happened less than two years after her first daughter was born (I might add), which turned out to be a bigger story than she ever imagined when she realized her second born would live her life differently because of Down’s Syndrome. Beautiful story, but what caught me when I first read this was the people that visited. You don’t have to read the story. Just look at the pictures. It was the champagne glasses with the baby’s name on them. Later on her blog, she posted a dedication ceremony picture of her family SURROUNDED by friends and loved ones! They are all thrilled about this precious girl, even before knowing Mom would need the extra support, and even after knowing it was going to be different. They kept celebrating. And for her daughter’s first birthday this month, this mom has committed to raising some big bucks for Down’s Syndrome research, and people are inspired to give in celebration of this beautiful child.
How do you think Jesus will react in the end of May when another Stovall baby joins our family? Do you think He will say “What are they thinking?”, “When are they going to learn?”, or “Maybe they’ll be satisfied now and stop.”? I don’t think so. Man, what a party there will be in His heart when He watches me hold that eighth baby for the FIRST time! He will cry tears of joy watching Adam smile at his eighth child for the FIRST time. He will delight in the fact that there is another precious soul to walk and live for Him, so that others can know about Him and choose to walk and live for Him. And He’s already letting us know how excited He is by sending these precious people, these friends, to serve in His name. Some people call it “charity”, while others call it helping a family in need. I think He just calls it being His hands and feet. And suddenly, on a day I felt overwhelmed and my own hands and feet felt so very tired, I feel like my load has been lightened. Thank you, friends, for being a glimpse of Jesus for me.