Jeremiah 29:11 (New King James)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Leighton’s crib seemed menacing. Downright rude, really.
The girls and I were deep cleaning so that Leighton (who climbs out of her crib now) could move from sharing a room with Rivers to sharing the bunk-beds with Leah.
Except the crib stopped me cold.
I walked in for a blanket or something and suddenly realized that if Leighton slept in the bottom bunk that night, then I had already put my baby to bed in a crib for the last time.
My last baby. For the last time.
So I just sort of stood there staring at the crib. Surprised at my own reaction, really. I realized in a whoosh what lies ahead…
So many last times.
With every child you experience the lasts and most of the time don’t realize it’s happening. I could recite a list of lasts but let’s not do that to ourselves. Smile…
I chose to postpone this last time until the next night. And although Leighton is not down with turning the big-girl-bed page just yet, it got me thinking.
Postponing the sadness of a last might mean postponing the joy of a first.
This morning after dropping Rivers and Leah off at school, Leighton and I sat outside for a little while. She ran up and down the driveway, pretended to talk on an old cell phone and transferred sidewalk chalk from its box to her tricycle basket. The sky was blue and beautiful. The air was still October-crisp. She laughed and smiled a lot and I pointed at the birds.
Inhaled joy and whispered thank you.
I’ve had a baby, a preschooler or both at home with me for nine years straight so far. Many blue-sky mornings with all of my children. Unimpressive days filled with moments of simple joy that carved themselves into my soul. Into the souls of my children.
Turning pages isn’t about the over. It’s about the next.
Those pages help write the next part of the story.
But we have to be willing to live what’s next. Believe the story is still unfolding.
I realize deep inside that although the relentless chaos of small children can feel quite overwhelming at times, it won’t last forever. One day dirty, chubby hands won’t smudge the walls and windows. One day those hands won’t reach for mine as they navigate the porch steps. One day voices won’t interrupt to tell me something new. One day they won’t ask me to play with them or watch them do a trick. One day I won’t be the center.
I won’t always be the sun.
So that crib? The one all three of my children slept and jumped and called out for me in? It screeched at me Saturday night.
Last time! Last time! Last time!
But you know what I heard this morning?
Our God is all about hope and good thoughts and the future.
Creator is always ready with the next. How unkind He would be to give us a season of “best days” and leave us to mourn and pine for them. No, He is ready with the good stuff He has been thinking about and planning for us.
As long as we are breathing there is good stuff yet to come. Good, God-stuff to be done.
He has been thinking about me. Thinking about you.
Like a parent giddy with anticipation for what awaits a beloved child.
I refuse to believe there is a season of “best days” because He is just not like that. Jesus walks with us for all of our days. And if an empty crib stops us cold, He stops with us. Feels the pain with us. Understands our fear of loss and letting go and turning the next page. Hears the questions of our heart. Then He reaches for us…
We turn our water eyes to His.
We place our hand in His.
Trust Him with the changing of our days and seasons. Trust that our living and giving does not, in fact, leave us empty. It builds us into God-monuments. Legacy living leaves deep tracks for those who come behind us.
Our hope is alive and well. Our future is good and already planned for us.
Our story, no matter the season of our lives, is unfinished.