Seems I’ve gotten a little behind on sharing the monthly photos of the new addition around here. I keep on keeping on (with the photos) because I love knowing our precious family further away enjoys seeing the month-by-month progress of our sweet small people. Love you folks… thank you for your patience… I tell you, I understood and believed before, what Psalm 127:3 says about children:

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from Him.” {NLT}

But after walking through the hardest month of my life last month, I just had no idea how much of a gift they could be.

I took these pictures of this little girl in February, when life seemed a little simpler. The task fell to me again, though I’d always defer to the Hubs’ superior camera skills, because he was out of town for a few days. Perhaps since things went will with the two months photos, the Belle trusted me this time, and things continued to go well…

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The thing I learned about children being a gift, in the time that followed this picture-taking session, had a lot to do with appreciating for new reasons that irresistible joy that comes so naturally to children.

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On those long, sad days in the hospital, while I was just waiting and hoping I’d get to see my Dad again this side of heaven, this little girl was a very visible and constant reminder that life does keep going, life will keep going, even if there is loss.

Belle3Mth 007She brought joy to other people in the hospital, perhaps in similar positions to ours, waiting and wondering.

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She already started living up to the things I said before about her name. Meaning “Beautiful Altar,” I was hoping she would be a place where heaven and earth collide.Belle3Mth 004

And in that week of heavy grief, where I was weighed down with emotions I didn’t know my soul was capable of enduring, leaving the room where my Dad was dying, returning to the lobby, where she was learning and smiling and growing and beginning… it was hard, it was beautiful.

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It was like seeing all of time in a single moment, like watching a drop of water fall to the ground in slow motion. This life and my Dad’s collided for such a brief period of time. He bounced her on his knee, made her giggle and smile. She returned the favor with peals of laughter and grins, her gift to him was joy. I thought about whether he’d be able to dance at her wedding.

And the gift that children are has everything to do with hope, hope for the future. When times are hard and people are discouraged, they often say “I don’t want to bring children into this world.” Children begin to be seen as burdens to bear, small people who will soon need college educations and car keys.

But an aging society is not a healthy one. Kids are the future innovators, the brave ones who’ll plow forward when we’re gone. They’re a gift to us, and we love them and teach them and grow them and then give them as gifts to the world, in hopes that by being here, they’ll make it a better place.

Heaven touched Earth as this precious little girl looked up at me with smiles, with trust, with the kind of faith that I want to have. Sure she cried some in that lobby, fighting falling asleep in a new environment, waiting for me to come back from a conversation with doctors when it was time for her to eat.

We all cry sometimes.

But that irresistible joy, her peaceful nature, her happy hope, were a gift to my soul to remind me there’s still so much good ahead. Somehow, just maybe, the best is yet to come.

I didn’t know when she arrived last November, full of need, to be fed and held and changed and clothed and loved, that I might turn out to be the needy one sooner than I expected. And she became a gift from God at a time when I needed Him to touch my life in the most tangible, physical, I can hold onto this until I can hold onto hope again way.

For all these months I might not have thought too much about it, might not have observed. But how fitting, all along, I have been receiving this unwrapped gift from heaven, and adding my own bow.

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To God be the glory.