A Little Life
She has had him since she was 4 months old. She still sleeps with him every night. We had to go to a doctor appointment for her a few weeks ago. He came with us. I usually don’t let him out of the car, let alone out of the house, but when she runs her fingers over the fuzzy and the smooth it soothes her little spirit. It brings her comfort.
She turned four yesterday. Our full weekend brought about another celebration of this little life. And that is what she is in one word...life.
In the beginning of May 2008 I decided to do something I had never done before. I was ready to have a baby. I thought I was ready to have a baby long before then but by that point my aching arms could not bear to hold off any longer. The Fly wasn’t sure he was ready. He knew it would change things drastically. He knew nothing would ever be the same. It was intimidating. He knew he wanted babies but he just didn’t know when the right time would be.
I thought I knew, as I often think. I was pushing the issue. It wasn’t convincing him. My argument as to why it was time, “My arms ache.” He didn’t understand, and really, how could he?
I was out of options so I sought the Lord on what was next. I felt an urge, a small nudge to step out of my comfort zone, to sacrifice and wait on Him, to see if He would meet me in my longing.
I chose to fast for the first time. I had never done it before. I decided to do a juice fast for three days and drink smoothies for my meals. The most important thing to remember when doing a fast is that it must be coupled with prayer. Space. A place to sit and seek and listen.
The Fly happened to be particularly busy that weekend. I had plenty of space to pray. I was reading a book. It talked about the abundant life Jesus refers to in John 10:10. “The thief has come to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so they may have life and have it to the full.”
The word life in this passage is the Greek word Zoe.
I love how the message says it,
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
Better than they ever dreamed of.
That weekend while I prayed and fasted I saw a picture...in my head...weird, I know. But I did. It was a little girl. I saw the back of her. She had long blonde hair in pigtails. She walked out my front door and touched the flowers in the front yard. When she touched them they bloomed. They came to life.
It was a few months later, on the morning of our third anniversary, the faint pink line on the test confirmed what I had hoped. I was alone. I fell to my knees in my family room and cried so hard. I thanked God over and over for the little life.
...For the little life...
I told the Fly that night after dinner over Ruby’s milkshakes in that Newport Beach parking lot.
For nine months and an extra week I prayed over a belly that got bigger than I would like to admit. I sang to a sweet baby being formed in her mother’s womb. Even when we were told she was a boy I knew that she was a girl...my little bug.
I knew she was a girl and I also knew her name. I told the Fly that God had picked it out...it was hard to argue with. We made a deal that if she was a girl that would be her name and he could name the next baby.
God named that one too...but you can hear that story on his birthday.
Through a hard labor and mustering of all the strength I could find she came into this world pink and loud. Some things have not changed.
She clasped her daddy’s finger as if she was committing to being “his girl,” forever. Some things have not changed.
She looked around with her great big eyes and savored her surroundings ready to live her first hours fully. Some things have not changed.
That was four years ago yesterday.
Now she sings...all the time.
Now she speaks...loudly and with ease.
Now she runs...fast and free.
Now she shouts...with wide eyes full of glee.
She is a “zoe” girl. She is full and living life fully everyday. She still has bad days as we all do but it’s nothing Bun-Bun and daddy-snuggles can’t comfort and soothe. She loves so easily. She hugs and kisses without a second thought. When she gets excited about something she talks with her hands. Big, bold and beautiful gestures seem to help drive her point. Her volume often aids with a dramatic effect.
She is strong with strong opinions and sensitive at the same time. She doesn’t like my “stern voice.” She says it hurts her feelings.
She tells me that she loves God. She loves Jesus. She tells me she wants to be baptized and I wonder if she really understands what all of this means. She loves to talk about heaven and she tells me how sad it makes her when she thinks about Jesus dying on the cross.
We read lots of books and she is starting to read along...blending the sounds but mostly memorizing what she sees and hears. We go through phases of reading her Jesus Storybook Bible at night. This is her favorite Bible Storybook and mine as well. Every story points to the Rescuer and His unfailing and never-ending, unchanging love. Right now her favorite, though, is the Ballroom Bonanza. We read about the dancing animals and find the hidden musical instruments. I love watching her face light up when she finds the instrument in the picture.
This weekend we celebrated her fourth birthday extravagantly. We were at Disneyland for a few days. On Friday afternoon the four of us were swimming. Both babies with floating with floaties, fearlessly jumping and being thrown; laughing hard. I stopped and watched them both. My eyes welled and I looked at the Fly. I couldn’t hold it in. I told him through a tightening throat how I don’t want to forget the moment. They were growing up so fast. I felt in that moment that I had to hold on tight. These days would be just as fleeting as everyone has warned me.
I watched her closely after that, stealing away quiet moments over the next few days, where I would whisper truth in her ear.
I love you so much.
I am so happy I get to be your mommy.
You are beautiful.
We ended our weekend with cousins and ice cream. And, one more round of Happy Birthday. She was spoiled to the core. I didn’t care. I looked at her pretty little face and wondered, “What do You have in store for her, Lord?” As I prayed with her last night I asked God to do the same thing I ask every time I pray with her,
“Lord, please help The Bug learn more and more about how much you love her so she can go and tell others about Your love.”
Then I prayed with her,
“Please help her mommy and daddy also this year as we guide her and teach her to do whatever it is you created her to do.”
We’ve been talking about the job God has for her. When she is bossy I remind her that people won’t listen well to someone who speaks rudely to them. One day, I told her that God has an important job for her and it might include teaching people things and she needed to learn to use her words in a way people would listen. A few days later she asked me about it again. “What is that job that God has for me?”
“I don’t know exactly but I think He is going to use you and the talents He has given you to tell people about His love.”
“Oh, okay. I will practice my words.”
Yes, sweet girl. Let’s practice together because it won’t just be words. Let’s practice living. Let’s practice giving thanks. Let's practice dancing. Let’s practice singing. You were created to life life fully...better than you could ever dream of. It will not always be easy. You will hurt and you will cry many tears but you will live it through with passion. I see it in you. You love to love and you love to live and that is not a coincidence.
No, sweet girl, I don’t know exactly what your job will be but I do know what mine is today. I get to teach you, model for you, guide you in the art of living the life God created you to live. It’s a life that revolves around Him and not me and not you. It’s a life that is good...not because of your circumstances...but because He is good.
It’s a life that proves He is in the business of bringing things, people, us to life.
Happy Birthday, Bug.