Friday, October 31, 2008

Labor of Love

My two-year old daughter is out on a walk with her Grandma and I'm spending my few precious moments of solitude making a pumpkin bag for her first Harvest festival. The pumpkin print is making me sea-sick, thanks to my pregnancy nausea, and I'm not sure why I'm doing this when I can be curled up on the couch reading a book or-- wonderful thought-- sleeping. It's not like we're short on tote bags or old grocery bags around here; she'd be happy to lug anything around the festival as long as it was filled with candy. I wonder, for a moment, why I'm doing this when she isn't even old enough to appreciate the difference between a special Mommy-made treat bag and a Food Lion reject.

The answer is the same as so many other aspects of mothering--- it's a labor of love. We gift our children with so much of ourselves and our time but we don't expect them, in the young toddler years, to be overtly grateful. At least not in so many words. Our delight comes from their delight; our joy from their joy. Ember's smile when she sees her "candy purse" will be worth the half hour of rest I gave up to sew for her. No question about it.

I was pressing the seams in the finished tote bag when I realized that it's the same with God. When He gives our family something good-- a raise at my husband's job, a pregnancy after months of prayer-- I instantly worry that He'll take His blessings away if I don't "keep up the hard work" required to deserve such gifts. But He doesn't work like that. He gives good things to His beloveds for many reasons, one of which I believe is simply to see us smile. As with a mother and daughter, our joy is His joy. We're not toddlers--- we should know how to be grateful-- but even our most sincere gratitude is insufficient compared to His overwhelming goodness. Rather than diminish His kindness by expecting it to come with conditions, we should rejoice in what He has given.
It makes His heart glad when we bask in His lovingkindness.

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gifts!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


A little over a month ago, I wrote this poem...

Empty Nest

come, little soul,
rest in my womb.

leave off now
your long journey of skies,
dwell on my bough.

my branches are sturdy,
my nest
is warm with birch bark,
with pine needles and stolen yarn.

i will nourish you with breadcrumbs
i will warm you through snowfall and wind,
i will cradle you with evergreen.

i will be your shelter
and you

my promise of spring.


Now my womb is indeed become a nest, my prayer child a
tiny flesh and blood miracle, and my heart an overflow of joy.

Sleep well, my little bird. Sleep in peace and grow strong.